Eye Self-Portrait Lesson Plan

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6th grade sketchbook page

I love the rhythm of a school schedule. Looking at a calendar and seeing my year broken into chunks of work and rest give me a sense of clarity.

That being said, nothing is more real than the anxiety and panic of a Sunday night after a long break. (Or any Sunday night?).

Did I set my alarm correctly? Did I print my new rosters? Will I even remember how to teach? What if my classroom flooded through the ceiling and there is a giant brown puddle in the middle of the floor? (true story).

Ah, teaching.

I like to start each new semester with a “hook lesson”. A lesson that captures students’ interest immediately and can be approached from any skill level.

I’ve come to really enjoy introducing 6th graders to art class with this basic Eye Drawing tutorial.

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I teach this on the second day of class and it helps students build trust with me as their teacher. I break things down into very basic steps (ex: “first, draw a circle”) and draw along with them making sure to use #waittime like a boss.

I hold personal feedback for later, when trust has been built, and just check that each step is completed with a reassuring positive comment. A cheerful “excellent!” goes a long way with wary students.

I want students to feel good about a finished product right away and break the habit of saying I can’t draw that. Yes you can! You just did.

This basic drawing lesson can lead into so many wonderful connections. Add Colored Pencil Eye Blending to layer their skills.

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I’ve used this as a three day ice breaker/getting to know you unit with colored pencils and index cards

My personal favorite is a self-portrait unit using their eye as a symbol of self-expression. The Watercolor Drip background breaks up the precision of the drawing skills and makes for an awesome day of guided experimentation, perfect for a Friday!

So many students come up to me during the first week of class and tell me they have been practicing eyes. I also love it when core teachers tell me they found little eye drawings all over their students work. 🎨✊🏼

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