Picasso Lesson Plan: Original Self-Portraits

Submitted by: Michelle Kormos

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this multi-day lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3 through 8, students use BrainPOP resources to learn about Pablo Picasso’s life and the significance and influence of his art in art history. Students will compare and contrast realistic and abstract art, and then create a Picasso-inspired portrait combining front and profile views.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Learn about Pablo Picasso's life and the significance and influence of his art in art history.
  2. Compare and contrast realistic and abstract art.
  3. Create a Picasso-inspired portrait combining front and profile views.

Materials:

  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP
  • 9"x12" white drawing paper
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Oil pastel

Vocabulary:

realistic; abstract; cubism

Preparation:

Display some of Picasso's art posters in the classrooom. Have a presentation ready to show students Picasso's art.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Day 1 Introduce Picasso's life and show his work to students. Compare "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo Da Vinci and "Girl Before a Mirror" by Pablo Picasso. Discuss how they are similar and different.
  2. Hand out 9x12 papers and have students write their names on the back. Demonstrate how to draw the Picasso head one step at a time (oval profile face features, pattern in the background).
  3. Day 2: Demonstrate how to color the drawing using oil pastels. Explain that the project will be graded based on craftsmanship, usage of color blending technique, and color patterns. Have students work on the coloring.
  4. Day 3: Reinforce the grading criteria to students. Students will continue to work on the Picasso head project.
  5. Day 4: Watch the BrainPOP video Cubism. Reinforce the Vocabulary. Take the Review Quiz together.
  6. Day 5: Have students display and share their work.

Extension Activity:

You may want to play French and Spanish music during this project because Pablo Picasso was born in Spain and lived in France most of his life. Have students complete the activity for additional review or assessment.