Posters are an effective way to teach students how to reflect on themselves and others while using research and developing self-esteem through the visual arts. As they work to create things like family trees, friendship posters, self-portraits and bio poems, they're learning important preliminary skills for note-taking and reporting information. "All About Me" posters are also a good beginning-of-the-school-year activity to get to know your kids, while they get to know each other.
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Family Tree for History and Social Studies
Students can learn a lot about their families through interviewing family members and gathering information to piece together a family history by creating a family tree poster. Provide interview sheets with questions they can ask family members, such as where they were born, where their parents and grandparents were born, questions about aunts and uncles, and birth information on siblings. Once the geographical and family information is put together in chronological order, the kids can make a collage time line on the poster board with family pictures, photos of geographic regions in which they lived, home photos and subtitled information beneath each picture that tells a short piece of a longer historical storyline.
Most children love to talk about their friends, their best friends and old friends that might have moved away. Creating a friendship poster is a nice way for students to explore and reflect on their close relationships. After naming all of their closest friends, they can answer questions such as where their friendship began, what they like to do together or what their friendship is like today. The places they visit together, fun things they do, where they live and photo sharing can depict an interesting story and time line about their friendships as they've evolved over the years. Students have opportunities to evaluate themselves and their relationships through the reflection and research involved in this project.
Self-portrait posters are another way for students to build self-esteem and think about their own physical characteristics. After you have traced around their bodies on large chart paper, have the students paint their outlines in any colour that reflects who they are on the "inside" -- for example, girls might select pink to reflect feminine attributes and preferences, boys blue or red for feisty attributes. Or they can simply select any colour they are attracted to. Once the colours are filled in, with either markers or water colours, they can use dark black or brown markers to write down adjectives that describe them. Someone who sees herself as generous might place the word "generous" over the heart; someone who is happy most of the time might place "happy" near the head. The words and terms used should apply specifically to the person whose self-portrait it is.
Bio poems are poetry templates with blanks for students to fill in with language about themselves. Each poem begins the same way, but each sentence completed is unique to the person. The bio poem template begins the first line with the first name of the student, and then four adjectives that describe her on the next line. The third line will begin with the words "Son or Daughter of" with the students' parents' names inserted. The fourth line is "Lover of" and names three things that the student loves. The fifth line should begin with "Who feels" with three feelings named. The sixth line says "Who gives," then the seventh is about "Who fears" and then the eighth says "Who would like to see." Finally, "Who lives" and the student's last name concludes the poem. Each item requires at least three things to be named. Once the bio poem is complete, it is copied onto poster board with the student's picture, and displayed. Students take turns viewing each bio poem to learn about one another, comparing their likes and differences. Bio poem posters are a nice beginning-of-the-year school activity.
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