Educator Resources

Suggested Classroom Curriculum

This is just one way you could sketch out a sequence of instruction for this project. These days could be consecutive or broken up, depending on your class context, and could easily be expanded as part of a larger unit, which could include other texts (literature, film, etc.).

Day One—Small Group Discussion:

  • Personal-Contextual Lens
  • In small groups, students view and discuss one example of a portrait or self-portrait, first using a personal lens, then adding to their understanding by looking at the work through a contextual lens (video, article, interview, etc.).
  • Each group then prepares a short presentation about their discussion of the work for the class; presentations could include discussion questions.

Day Two—Jigsaw:

  • See-Wonder-Think
  • Groups present to the whole class, with students taking notes on each of the works.
  • Each student selects one work that resonates with them the most, and writes a short reflection piece. As an option, printed copies of all of the works could be posted around the room and students could have a moment to do a short gallery walk before or after the group presentations.

Day Three—Brainstorm:

  • Brainstorm for Collage Self-Portrait
  • Students complete the brainstorm graphic organizer to plan out their self-portraits.
  • Each student shares their brainstorm with a partner, giving and receiving feedback.
  • If time permits, students could begin sketching or working on their self-portraits.

Day Four—Work Day:

Day Five—Artist Statements:

  • Artist Statement
  • Students read and discuss example artist statements, ideally from the artists whose work students discussed previously, but also potentially from other artists to whom you have introduced students before.
  • Students plan and begin to write artist statements.
  • If there is extra time, students could work on self-portraits.

Day 6—Presentation:

  • Gallery Walk
  • Students share their self-portraits through a gallery walk and/or partner/small group presentation.
  • Optionally, a few students could choose to present to the whole class.
  • Depending on your goals, students could respond to their classmates’ self-portraits and/or to the entire project of creating self-portraits, from viewing works of art to creating and writing about their own work.



Additional Resources on Artists

Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Artwork in SFMOMA’s collection
Interview with Arise Live
Video interview by Bronx Teen Council

Romare Bearden
Biography and artwork in SFMOMA’s collection
Interactive multimedia: The Art of Romare Bearden
Video: Romare Bearden on His Imagery and Symbols

Robert Colescott
Artwork in SFMOMA’s collection

Sargent Johnson
Biography and artwork in SFMOMA’s collection
Interactive multimedia: Sargent Johnson
Video: Sargent Johnson on Surviving the Great Depression

Glenn Ligon
Artwork in SFMOMA’s collection
Interactive multimedia: Glenn Ligon’s Self-Portraits
Video: Glenn Ligon on Self-Portraits
Video: Glenn Ligon on Confronting Slavery
Video: Glenn Ligon Discusses Day of Absence

Carrie Mae Weems
Artwork in SFMOMA’s collection
Audio with images: Carrie Mae Weems Artist Talk
Videos and activities from Art21

Kehinde Wiley
Article from The New York Times

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Artwork in SFMOMA’s collection