Character Education : Self-Portraits

Mapping a First Grader
Heather Smelser, Middletown Elementary, Frederick County, Virginia
Grade Level: First

This bulletin board was created as a culmination of our unit on maps. Throughout the unit the students had been exposed to many different types of maps. At the end of our unit we read My Map Book by Sara Fanelli. In the book the author uses traditional maps but also some that really sparked an interest in the students. The author shows a map of her pet's brain and her own heart. My students chose to spring-board from this book and create a bulletin board. Each student was given construction paper, crayons, scissors and glue. With these items, and no guidelines from me, they created 'self-portraits'. Once those were finished they voted to map either their stomachs or their hearts. They attached the heart or stomach to their portrait and then created sections based on what they felt was most important in their hearts or in their stomachs. Some examples of what was important to their hearts were: "My dog who ran away" "My Church" and "My new step-dad Mike". Stomach examples were: "Vitamins" "Ice Cream" "Medicine I don't like" and "French Fries". Everything on the bulletin board was created by the students and their unique ideas shine through in the individuality of their self-portraits and what was most important to them.

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