Our most recent series of En la Clase posts featured lesson plans that introduce teaching about race, culture, difference, acceptance, and respect as ways to encourage community building in the classroom. Today’s post on “All About Me” Cubes offers one more way to build that classroom community while bringing students’ own lives into the classroom curriculum. It’s a great activity to do in preparation for Open House or Parent-Teacher Conferences, especially if you’re looking for a fun display that showcases your students. While our previous series focused mainly on early elementary activities, today’s post can be adapted to a much broader grade range. I found it was always the perfect activity to do at the beginning of the school year as we eased into the structure and curriculum of the new year. With four separate parts, it was easy to spread the project out over an entire month, and it could be stopped and started without much trouble. There are lots of variations of “All About Me” projects, if you already have one that you use, it could easily be adapted to the cube format.
- Colored cardboard cut in half length wise or construction paper (Black makes a great frame, but any color will work)
- White paper (4 pieces for each student cut to fit on each side of the poster board)
- Crayons, colored pencils, markers
- Paint (optional)
- Magazines (optional)
- Miscellaneous art supplies (like yarn, buttons, fabric, tissue, glitter, etc.)
- Template for poems (optional)
Students will create four separate pieces–one for each side of the cube. Create the cube using cardboard or construction paper. Pictures are included below. For the cardboard cube: Take a piece of cardboard and cut it in half lengthwise. You should have two long(er) pieces of cardboard. Fold each piece in half width-wise. Then, connect the two pieces using a stapler or tape. You should now have one long strip of cardboard with four sections. Once students have created each of the four pieces/projects, glue each piece onto one of the four sections. When all four pieces have been completed and glued onto the cardboard, connect the two ends of cardboard to create the rectangular cube. For the construction paper cube: Take two pieces of construction paper. Fold each piece in half width-wise, then follow the directions as written above for the cardboard. Each piece/project is created on a white sheet of construction paper pre-cut to fit onto one of the sections of cardboard or construction paper, leaving a small boarder to ‘frame’ the piece. If you want, you can also choose to just do three of the following parts, and create a triangle instead of a cube, especially if working with younger students or if you are short on time.
Part One: Poem
For the first project students will create a poem written about themselves. There are various ways to adapt this activity for your age group. For younger students it may be best to do an acrostic poem based on their name or a simple and shortened “I Am” poem. Older students can do either an “I Am” Poem or a more in-depth “Where I’m From” Poem. For our lesson plan on “Where I’m From” click here. The “I Am” Poem is three stanzas, but can be shortened to just one or two stanzas. Below is the template.
I am. . .
I wonder. . .
I hear. . .
I see. . .
I want. . .
I am. . .
I pretend. . .
I feel. . .
I touch. . .
I worry. . .
I cry. . .
I am. . .
I understand. . .
I say. . .
I dream. . .
I try. . .
I hope. . .
I am. . .
Part Two: Self-Portrait
There are lots of different ways to do self-portraits from the simple to the more complex. Michelle has a great lesson plan for this in her mini-unit. Students can choose to do a portrait of just their faces or even of them doing their favorite activity. Students can use crayon, pencil, paint, and add texture through various art materials like yarn, fabric, buttons, glitter etc. This seems to work best if students do a draft sketch of their portrait, and then a final copy on white construction paper.
Part Three: Collage
For this piece students create a collage of all of the things that represent them: favorite foods, music, movies, TV shows, family, hobbies, activities, etc. This can be as simple as students drawing representations of these things or you can provide magazines for them to cut pictures out of. Students can also bring in pictures from home. Pictures are drawn or glued onto one of the pre-cut sheets of white construction paper.
Part Four: Personal Essay
This piece is easy to adapt for a variety of grade levels. Any writing project can be used for this part. For younger students I give the writing prompt: “When I grow up I want to be. . . .” Older students could use the prompt: “In five years I hope to. . . .” In the past, I’ve used this writing assignment to introduce or review the steps of the writing process: brainstorm, rough draft, revise, edit, final copy.
Once all four parts are completed, glue each piece to the cardboard or construction paper and connect the two ends to create the cube as described above. There are various ways to display these. They can be hung from the ceiling, set out on a table or individual student desks, or stapled/tacked to the wall. My students seemed to really like the last version as it created a “3-D” like display. I tacked or stapled one of the folds or edges to the wall so that all four sides could be seen.
I wish I had some pictures to show you examples of past student work. These were always some of their favorite projects. Many of my students would come back the next year and tell me they still had their project hanging up at home. If you try the project, take some pictures and share them with us! We’d love to see them! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!