I like doing this word portrait project with 8th graders because it allows them to draw something they are interested in (themselves) and it marks a special time in their lives. Some kids are self conscious about drawing their pictures so big – we do it on bulletin board paper that’s approximately 3′ x 2′ – but the school loves it when I put these on display and parents love them too.
I start by taking their pictures and then using the ActivBoard to blow them up so that they can trace just the basic lines of their bodies, head, and face. While they are waiting, I have them work on a list of at least 20 words to describe themselves and things they like. These are the words they will use to create their portraits. Once they all have their pictures traced, I give them sharpies and they go over all of the lines, using the words. From far away, it just looks like a basic line portrait. But close up, it shows their personality. : )