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Lesson Plan

Look and Learn: Self-Portraiture with Pets Inspired by Frida Kahlo

Grade Levels

Elementary, 3rd Grade


Students will complete a work sheet to assess understanding of the WebQuest portion of the lesson. Students and teacher will follow a rubric for the art production portion of the lesson.


10-15 minutes to read Frida Kahlo the Artist Who Painted Herself By Margaret Frith, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, or another age appropriate Kahlo biography.

WebQuest and worksheet- Approximately 45 minutes.

Self-Portrait creation- two 45-minute art classes.

Essential Question

How do artists communicate through visual art?

Instructional/Environment Modifications

Computers for each student or pair of students. Small groups with instructional aid for students with learning challenges and extended time for students with processing challenges.


Session 1
Introduce the artist Frida Kahlo to students by reading a biography such as Frida Kahlo the Artist Who Painted Herself By Margaret Frith, illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

Session 2
Hand out the WebQuest worksheet and pencils to students. Review computer lab procedures, rules and expectations. Read the directions and questions together. Divide the students into groups of two to navigate the WebQuest and worksheet cooperatively (optional). Have students use the worksheet to navigate the Frida Kahlo WebQuest. Students can share a Frida fact to line up at the end of class.

Session 3
Pass back worksheets and go over the answers as a class. Review and discuss the essential question how do artists communicate through visual art? Use answers to propel the class forward into art production of a self-portrait. Post steps and review them. Encourage students to refer to the steps and rubric when needed:

Step 1) Use a mirror to draw your self-portrait with brown or tan oil pastel.
Step 2) Draw your pet, dream pet or symbolic animal.
Step 3) Create a background that tells where you are from or what you like.
Step 4) Write your name neatly on the back.
Step 5) Color your artwork with oil pastels. Take your time and do your best professional work.

Session 4
Go over the rubric for the elements of a successful assignment. Model filling in any blank spots by layering oil pastels or mixing two colors. After students complete their self-portraits, circle rubric, mount on black paper and neatly sign with a metallic gel pen. Decorate the frame with metallic gel pens or oil pastel (optional).

Reflections and Feedback

Students really enjoyed the WebQuest and the art activities at the MoMA Gallery. A reflective artist statement could be written by each student. This lesson would be engaging and successful for older students.

Student artwork form this project was displayed throughout the school.

Student Work

Students will navigate the WebQuest to complete the work sheet. Students will create a self-portrait with a background using oil pastels that contains a pet, dream pet or symbolic animal.
Student Self-Portrait Exemplary
Student Self-Portrait Proficient
Student Self-Portrait Emergent

Related Resource

Frida Kahlo the Artist Who Painted Herself By Margaret Frith, illustrated by Tomie dePaola,
Frida By Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Ana Juan,
Frida Kahlo By Carmen Lenero, Illustrated by Camila Mesquita,
Frida Kahlo (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists Series) By Mike Venezia,


Students will use a WebQuest to learn about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's life and her self-portraits. Artists will develop and create a self-portrait, which includes an animal with a meaningful background.


eyecon art
Destination Modern Art MoMA


  • Pencils, 9X12 white drawing paper
  • mirrors for each student
  • oil pastels sets and a brown or tan for each student
  • photo resources of animals or personal pets
  • 12X1" black paper for mounting artwork
  • metallic gel pens (optional)

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