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Auto Bio Attire

Colors! Shapes! Patterns! All these components of art can tell the story of who we are. Using Crayola® Premier™ Tempera Paint, students design a wearable garment to express their life history through design and words.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Discuss the meanings of certain colors and design elements. What does red say when you see it? How does seeing flowers make you feel? Are there certain colors and shapes that speak of a cultural identity or nation? Share how we use what we wear to give messages to others.
    2. In pairs, help the students trace each other’s shape on large pieces of craft paper using Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Have the children cut out one piece and then trace it and cut another using Crayola Pointed Tip Scissors. Or provide students with pre-cut pieces, two matching shapes per child.
    3. Cover work area with newspaper. Dressed in painting shirts, instruct students to paint one side of one piece using colors and designs that have meaning for them using tempera paints and brushes. Encourage painters to cover the entire piece with paint. Allow to air-dry.
    4. Discuss the idea of one’s life as a biography, starting with birth. What are the highlights of your life so far? What is important for your classmates and teacher to know about you? Ask students to compose in complete sentences a draft of their biography.
    5. On the second cut-out, outline a box with Crayola Washable Markers. Ask the children to re-write their biographies inside each box.
    6. Attach the two pieces back to back and secure with staples.
  • Standards

    LA: Write narratives in which they recount a well elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

    LA: Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Describe personal changes over time, such as those related to physical development and personal interests.

    VA: Students will demonstrate that creative thinking and artmaking skills transfer to many aspects of life.

    VA: Students will demonstrate that art communicates meaning through sharing their work and the work of others.

    VA: Art communicates about and helps viewers understand the natural and constructed world.

  • Adaptations

    This activity may be done with children who are not yet writers by having them dictate to adults. Then print up their biographies in a large font and glue onto garment.

    Have children wear their garments in a classroom “Fashion Show.” Invite families and make it a festival of nations with traditional foods, music and activities.

    Provide masks for students to wear to obscure their faces and let the garment speak for itself.

    Put each garment on a hanger and suspend from the ceiling for a classroom display.

    Bring in flags of different countries to introduce the idea of colors having meaning. Dissect a couple different ones. Show photos of people at sports events and other places where people dress to identify themselves with a specific group.

    Talk about the idea of “walking in someone else’s shoes” and switch garments. Discuss how that experience felt for them. Did they feel as comfortable as they did in their own attire?


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