8th graders always seem to like doing this project because it allows them to express their personalities, no matter what their interests are, and work with their friends. I start out by looking at some “famous” guitars and their players with the class and discussing what makes the guitars stand out. Is it the guitar or the guitarist? Then we look at some funny and weird guitars – lego guitar, bigfoot guitar, etc. I put the kids in groups of two or three and they have to design, on paper first, a guitar that expresses some part of their personality. Then they have to actually create this guitar using cardboard and any other found materials (kind of Picasso-esque.) Each year the guitars get better and better! This year, one of my favorites was the brick wall guitar. The cheeseburger and hotdog guitar just make me laugh. : )
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. : )