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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Visual Biographies, 5th Grade



- Visual Literacy (observation, close looking, evidential viewing)

- Types of portraits (physical and psychological, abstract  & realistic)

- To determine how a biography or personal narrative can be told using images instead of words. By using large and small components, symbolism, and more.

- To draw a portrait using the techniques we see in the gallery and employed by artists and those we deem appropriate.


Lesson Components:

-       Welcome, Sign- In

-       Rules, Schedule

o   I hear you’ve been studying narratives- tell me some things you’ve been learning about this year! What can we learn about people from their biographies?

o   We’re going to look at sorts of biographies today! They’re visual biographies- anyone want to take a guess as to what I could possibly mean by that? We’re going to look at pictures and see what stories we can figure out from them. Sound good? At the end we’re going to choose a story about ourselves. Then we’re going to paint a portrait and try to tell that story. We might want to tell a story about our thoughts and feelings or about something that happened to us!

o   Rules

-       Gallery visiting

-       WS for portraits

Created By



English Language Arts, The Arts

Grade Level

3-5, 6-8