Inside the Kinder Classroom: Portraits

Inside-the-kinder-classroom--Portraits

If you’ve been following my blog for any reasonable length of time, you know how much I love Kinders. I love their stubby fingers, their adorable faces and I especially love how much they embrace art. They are in fact, perfect little artistic beings. Which is why I get such a kick out of their portraits. But, no matter how many different ways you teach portrait making to Kinders, there is always a very predictable outcome of results.

Instead of showing you a tutorial, because I have a ton of portrait resources (here and here and this page, too), I’m giving you a glimpse into a typical day inside the Kinder classroom.

See how many of these portrait styles you recognize:

The It-Was-Going-So-Well Portrait….

You recognize this portrait: the child is following along, doing the best work he can, finishes up but doesn’t know what to do next. So why not color his lips blue?

Inside the Kinder art room: Portraits

The “Little Miss Creative” award goes to….

We all have these little gems in our class. The uber-creative soul who takes notes from those sitting close-by and is determined to make her portrait the most unique. And she did!

Inside the Kinder art room: Portraits "Little Miss Creative"

 

The Twin Portraits

The opposite of Little Miss Creative, these children (mostly girls….actually, ONLY girls) vow to make their portraits the exactly the same.

Inside the Kinder art room: Identical artists

 

The Give-Me-More Paint Award goes to….

This is the kid who can’t get enough paint, hates staying within the lines and is the future Jackson Pollack in the group.

Inside the Kinder art room: Paint master!

 

Color-Me-Crazy Portrait

Here’s the thing I just figured out with these types of kids: they don’t quite understand what you mean when you say “color in the circle”. To them, coloring in the circle (look at the eyes) means going round and round and round the circle.  Love the two-tone hair, too!

Inside the Kinder art room: Portraits

 

The Academic

These kids are the ones who sit, listen and watch. They follow along very well and create this amazing piece that makes you wonder what grade this kid is in. And they are quite intent on making everything factual. They might specific color choices or need more detailed directions on how to draw their hair.

Inside the Kinder art room: The Academic

 

Mr. Expression

These are the portraits that make every teacher happy they chose teaching as a profession. Pure Joy. Period.

Inside the Kinder art room: Mr. Expression

 

And then there are teeth….

I think this is his x-ray version of teeth.

Inside the Kinder art room: X-Ray Teeth

 

The Gift

These are the kids who add very specific details. They are the last ones to finish and they show artistic talent beyond most adults in the school. I mean, look at this piece? She is FIVE!

Inside the Kinder art room: The Talented One

 

The Happy Accident

It’s a bit hard to say if this child intentionally tried to make his artwork look like it could hang in the MOMA or not. These are the happy accidents that seem to bless children at random moments in their art-making. This to me is an incredible piece of art for any age let alone a 5-year old.

Inside the Kinder art room: The Happy Accident

 

And finally, just to let you all know that my students are like everyone else’s, I give you my sweetest one yet:

I’m-Trying-Really-Hard-But-I-Have-No-Idea-What-To-Do

Inside the Kinder art room: Typical results

Which one do you recognize?

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22 comments

  1. Yessss! To all of these! I love how no matter how you teach (free exploration or step-by-step instruction), all of the kids create their own style! I love it!

  2. Carol Frueh says:

    Love this post. Love that you embrace the pure “kidness” of the final art. They all just make me smile.

  3. Charmaine says:

    Those are just plain precious! I don’t teach Kindergarten, but I do start with first grade and I have similar results. I’ve just never come up with such a cute commentary to go with the results!

  4. Aw, I recognize all of these! So sweet and innocent and full of effort!

  5. Teresa Maguire says:

    I recognise them all!! Isn’t it amazing how the same lesson can produce such a variety of responses? My favourite last year was the boy who continued painting his yellow background onto his face!! Fortunately paint is forgiving. My other favourite is the wonky eyes – one way up the top and another half way down the face!

  6. Kim Floyd says:

    I love this, thank you for filling my face with smiles today!

  7. R5bales says:

    So today I was doing a painted paper cut with scissors and glue project. I looked down and saw hair on a little boy’s table. I told him scissors were for paper only. Not hair. Pretty soon I see him covering something on his trousers. He just couldn’t help cutting a little chunk out of his trousers. Kinders are quite an advventure.

  8. Meri says:

    These are great!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. Laura Lea says:

    You inspire me in so many ways. When I come home from work exhausted because I can’t solve the family problems of the students in my class, I see something like this to add a spark back into day and into my teaching that helps my students more than you’ll ever know!

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Thank you to you, too! Hearing how my site has given you a spark of inspiration is why I created this blog. It’s what drives me and it’s what makes me happy. Thanks for letting me know. It means a lot!

  10. Love it, I recognize all of them! I would only add one about eyes. I’ve seen beautiful portraits that are just missing the eye pupil color. After pointing that out to the student, they come back with the entire eye filled in, whites and all! Makes you realize you have to be very specific with young ones.

  11. Lorie Bowlin Friedmann says:

    I love these! My classes are also doing self portraits. After this Winter break I decided to have my 1st through 8th graders create self portraits in a triptych of 3 variations: contour drawing, paint and collage. Currently we’ve completed the contour drawing (that I copied twice due to time limits) and most have finished the painting part. They’ve turned out all fantastic!
    After seeing these kinders, I’ll definitely have them do this lesson before the year ends.Thanks

  12. Robin (Rossman) Webb says:

    Oh my goodness! What A great way to start my day. I had to chuckle out loud. I believe I’ve had every one of these students! It is that diversity that makes me enjoy what I do so much. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas!

  13. Kelly Johnson says:

    This made me laugh out loud with pure joy – I LOVE these portraits! Makes me wonder what my kinder would do if given the opportunity to do his portrait! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  14. Mindi says:

    I giggled aloud at this post. So glad to know I’m not the only one with “holes” in their directions–or in the listener’s skills, maybe! :) Thanks for embracing the various artistic-ness of all your children. They must love you for it.

  15. Mary says:

    Thank you so much, Patty! This made me smile, made me laugh at the pure joy in their art, and inspired me! Thank you for trusting your students and their masterpieces with us!

  16. Holly says:

    Lol,lol,lol! My kids & I were reading your comments & just cracking up! I love these & I love the joy & beauty you bring out of your students! I am so inspired I think I I’ll do these with my T-Ks tomorrow!

  17. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for giving each portrait a category and theme! I definitely saw some of my students’ works in those themes! Thank you for making the results fun and yet making the process special at the same time.

  18. pjones0426@aol.com says:

    This is my world! I have taught the AM and PM young 5′s kindergarten (some call it Jr., developmental or transitional half day kindergarten) for the past 6 years. This is almost exactly the composition of my kids art. I used to stress about it – and have them come sit by me so we could “try again” with it still being their work, but asking them questions about which color they should use and pre-empting any of the “craziness” I don’t anymore. Now I just smile and enjoy it! 5 year olds are so amazing! I love my job! (I really hope their parents save their work and put it out at their graduation open houses.)

    Next year, I have only half day young 5′s and will be teaching art (and music) to all 8 sections of kindergarten and 3 sections of first grade! What total fun that will be! :)

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Although I love all my grades, Kinders make me so, so happy. They are absolutely precious and their art? Pure joy!

  19. Ashley says:

    I love this idea! And all the different pictures are so true of any class. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful ideas. I feel I have opened my art resources!

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