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Level 3: ART 309 & Student Teaching

Week 4: Surrealist Self Portraits

Central Focus Students will use drawing techniques to create an altered self-portrait inspired by surrealist artists.
Artists intentionally alter in order to create and emphasize mood. Our goal is for students to
connect their experience of making an altered self-portrait influenced by Surrealism with their lived
experience of being unique among their peers.
Grade Level 5&6
Class Size 10 students
Time 1 hour and 50 minutes
Class Demographics 4 boys 6 girls

National Visual Arts Standards Addressed

a. Interpret art by analyzing characteristics of form and structure, contextual information, subject matter, visual elements, and
use of media to identify ideas and mood conveyed.
a. Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice.
a. Identify how art is used to inform or change an individual's or society's beliefs, values, or behaviors.

Common Core State Standards Addressed

Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes
to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on
grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Forms 2D 3D 4D
Frames Cultural Subjective Structural Postmodern
Artwork Artist Audience World

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Students will describe and discuss the visual elements in surrealist artwork in order to identify how artists use mood in
their work.
2. Students will experiment with drawing methods by creating three blind contour sketches of their classmates.
3. Students will use oil pastel drawing techniques that are demonstrated to create a surrealist style self-portrait by altering
and exaggerating facial features.
4. Students will write a response connecting their experience of making the altered portrait to their lived experience of being
unique among their peers.

● Oil Pastels ● Powerpoint ● Teacher examples
● Play-doh ● Projector
● Colored construction paper ● Posters

● Oil Pastels ● Play-doh ● Colored construction paper
● Crayons


Key Artists Nicole Watt

Ivan Albright
Francisco Goya
Veronica Jaeger
Leonora Carrington

EE = Early Elementary grades K-3 • LE = Late Elementary grades 4-6 • MS = Middle School grades 6-9
EHS = Early High School grades 10-11 • LHS = Late High School grade 12
Level 3: ART 309 & Student Teaching

Key Artworks Veronica Jaeger, Angelic, 2018

Veronica Jaeger, Head Caryatid , 2015

Nicole Watt, _____,______

Nicole Watt, ______, ______

*her website does not have titles or dates listed

Ivan Albright, Portrait of Mary Block, 1955/57

EE = Early Elementary grades K-3 • LE = Late Elementary grades 4-6 • MS = Middle School grades 6-9
EHS = Early High School grades 10-11 • LHS = Late High School grade 12
Level 3: ART 309 & Student Teaching

Ivan Albright, Self-Portrait, 1935

Key Critical Questions 1. Why do we make portraits?

2. How are these images distorted? What things in the images are distorted?
3. How does distortion change the viewers perspective of an image?
4. How can the distortion reflect personality in the portrait?
5. Why do we distort things?
6. How does setting influence a portrait?


Vocabulary Surrealism: a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to
release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational
juxtaposition of images.
Grotesque: comically or repulsively ugly or distorted.
Oil Pastels: is a painting and drawing medium with characteristics similar to pastels and
wax crayons
Distorted: pulled or twisted out of shape; contorted.
Language Functions analyze, compare/contrast, critique, describe, interpret, question, etc.
Language Demands Syntax Discourse
Language Tasks and 1. Students will have a class discussion where they will have to use the vocabulary and
Activities describe artwork and styles
2. While sketching in their sketchbooks students can also write about their ideas and
sketchbooks using vocabulary and related language
Language Supports 1. The powerpoints will feature the vocabulary and related images to help students
remember vocabulary and important elements
2. There will be posters featuring vocabulary and related imagery


● Launch ● Instruction Methods
● The teacher will introduce themselves and ask for the students’ names ● Class discussion (10 minutes)
● The teacher will then ask the students what they know already about the term

EE = Early Elementary grades K-3 • LE = Late Elementary grades 4-6 • MS = Middle School grades 6-9
EHS = Early High School grades 10-11 • LHS = Late High School grade 12
Level 3: ART 309 & Student Teaching

“surrealism” Focusing on questions like

o What do you think it means?
o Have you heard this used before?
o If so, what does it include? Who does it include?

● Instruction ● Instruction Methods

● The teacher will demonstrate how to draw a blind contour of a person. ● Hand on activity
● The students will do 3 blind contour drawings(1-3 minutes) of their classmates in
their visual process journal, using different strategies.
● The teacher will discuss Surrealism artists as well as concepts often found in ● Surrealism PowerPoint (10 minutes)
Surrealism (altering the real world, optical illusions, etc.)
● The students will then be given play-doh to form into a realistic representation of
an apple
● The students will then be instructed to alter the apple in some way by ● Hands-on activity with play-doh (10
stretching and manipulating the play-doh minutes)
● Followed by class discussion (5
● The teacher will inform students through demonstration and example on minutes)
how to successfully use oil pastels in drawing
o Focusing on blending, pressure applied, and mark-making
o Explain some basic proportional skills in portraits
● Teacher demonstration/Posters
● The teacher will introduce examples of surreal portraiture and portraits using demonstrating visual products of
grotesque themes to alter reality in the piece in preparation for their next project certain techniques (5-10 minutes)

● Students will be instructed to sketch thumbnails in their sketchbooks (three ● Sketch time (10 minutes)
minimum) of different ideas of ways to alter their own self portrait

● Students will then be given a choice of colored construction paper for their final
piece and will draw their chosen thumbnail using oil pastels on their chosen ● Work Time (20-30 minutes)
construction paper piece.

● Closure ● Instruction Methods

● Students will then go around the class in a ‘gallery walk’ to observe what their ● Gallery walk around classroom with
fellow classmates added to their own self-portraits pieces set on top of their tables (5
● The teacher will then ask questions about the experience and pieces including: minutes)
o What did someone use to make their own face surreal? ● Class discussion (5-10 minutes)
o What was your favorite example you observed?
o What did people do with the oil pastels to add to the surrealness
of their portraits? (ex: mark-making, blending, color choice, etc.)
o Students will write responses to these questions to in their visual
processes journal
● The teacher will then instruct students to keep a dream journal/log until
next week where we will be using our dreams to create more art pieces


Adaptations and Accommodations

● For students with ADHD, we will offer time in between activities to get up, move around, and shake out muscles.
● If students work better standing up, they can work on their portraits while doing so.
Enrichment and Extensions
● As an extension, students could write an artist statement describing their self portrait. They will discuss the details, process,
and how the finished product resembles surrealism.
Activity for Early Finishers
● In a sketchbook, students will write and/or illustrate on of their dreams while giving as many details as possible.


EE = Early Elementary grades K-3 • LE = Late Elementary grades 4-6 • MS = Middle School grades 6-9
EHS = Early High School grades 10-11 • LHS = Late High School grade 12
Level 3: ART 309 & Student Teaching

1. In discussion, students will identify at least two examples of how artists use mood in their work. (Formative)
2. Using pencil and paper, students will create three or more blind contour sketches of their classmates. (Formative)
3. Using oil pastels, students will create a self-portrait in a surrealist style that includes at least two exaggerated features.
4. In three or more sentences, students will write about their self-portrait and explain how the exaggerated features reflect
their own uniqueness. (Summative).

● English
● History

You must have references to books, web pages, films, etc. you used in the development and execution of your lesson, to allow
you to teach the lesson again, or to allow someone else to teach the lesson.
Use APA style in formatting the reference list.

* Developed and written by Annie Otto, Alicia Windisch, Zoey Kollias, Jessie Schmidt, Art Education, Illinois State University,

EE = Early Elementary grades K-3 • LE = Late Elementary grades 4-6 • MS = Middle School grades 6-9
EHS = Early High School grades 10-11 • LHS = Late High School grade 12