For Black History Month, I wanted to do a portrait drawing lesson showing value scale. Last week, the students were given one of 6 famous African Americans and read a short biography about their person. To begin the lesson, we made value scales and practiced shading with pencil. Next, students practiced drawing their person's portrait on a scrap piece of paper. My main goal was for students to draw their person on their tie-dye paper (which we made in a previous class) and use sharpies and pencils to add the value. However, I could see that this particular skill was far too advanced for 5th and 6th graders. I quickly realized that drawing value portraits was too abstract of a concept for my students because they were instructed to look for the shapes that the highlights and shadows made on their faces. Most students got so discouraged that they stopped drawing altogether. I had a week to devise another plan before I totally scrapped this project. So, I came up with the idea of drawing on transparencies and painting the shapes the shadows and highlights made by tracing them right on the transparencies. I feel this was the perfect accommodation for my students in learning about value scales and realistic portrait drawings. In the future, I will start with this technique and develop another lesson to follow this one where students can create a grid drawing and paint the value scales on their own. We will be displaying these striking portrait paintings at our annual Black History Program!
Booker T. Washington by Adreana
Bessie Coleman by Amani
Frederick Douglas by Jayven