I am so excited about these portraits! I did a similar mixed media portrait lesson with third graders from Brimfield last year and really liked the concept of the lesson but thought it needed some changes to really be successful. You can see that first attempt here. For this time, I bumped the lesson up to fifth grade at Suffield and also added a social issue component, which is a strong theme in our new standards for fifth grade.
We looked at the same mixed media artists mentioned in my other lesson and focused our discussions on not just how their artworks were made, but also why they were made and what statements we thought the artists were trying to make. Before I took the students' photos for their portraits, they had some brainstorming time to choose a social issue to address in their work and to also think of what they could do to make a portrait seem to address this idea. After I photographed them, I used the "Create a Poster" option on Picasa to print their photos. We then had a series of mini-lessons about dry, collage, and wet mediums. The students were then free to make media choices. The goals were to completely cover their photograph with some kind of media and to also find a way to share their thoughts about their chosen social issue. I am proud of their work and look forward to doing this lesson again!