GREENFIELD — Every kid knows a “selfie” is taking a self-portrait with a device like a phone, computer or tablet.
But Brandywine Elementary School art teacher Monica Holden wanted to give the term a new meaning. She also wanted her students to use their artistic talents to create their selfie with their own hands.
The result turned out to be the #selfie project, where the students used iPads to take a silhouette of themselves, but then draw who they are on the inside of their image.
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Holden showed the children famous self-portraits from the past by artists like Vincent van Gogh and M.C. Escher, but rather than just have the children make a self portrait, she wanted them to dig deeper and reveal who they really are and what is important to them by combining traditional artwork and technology.
One student drew a cat on a pizza in her #selfie; another made a nuclear submarine. Holden said once all the #selfies are finished, full of color, words and images that describe the children, they will be on display during the school and district art shows in March and April.
Holden said it’s important to incorporate technology into the classroom, but to also let students use their own creative abilities to make something. All Brandywine students used their devices to do research for the project, looking up images of the things they like. They then had to use their imaginations and draw them inside their silhouette.
“They’re filling the space with the things that make them who they are,” Holden said. “All the kids are so, so different.”
Holden said the project has given her a chance to get to know what is important to all of her students.
Third-grader Chloe Watts drew her two best friends inside her silhouette, as well as a leaf to represent her fall birthday.
“I drew my dad, me and my mom,” she said. “I drew a sunset, and I am addicted to pizza, so I had to draw a pizza.”
Landon Seib went a different route. He put in images of his favorite color — red; his favorite sport — football; and his family. He enjoyed getting to use his iPad and draw during the project.
“I liked that you got to take a picture of yourself, and you would be able to use it to show who you are,” he said.
The majority of students said they enjoyed the project because they were able to do so many things with it rather than just take or make a self portrait.
Holden said each grade level approached the #selfie project in a different manner, but in the end they all created beautiful, one-of-a-kind artwork.
“We are on the outside looking in,” Holden said.