TeacherLists Blog

Look At Me Inside and Out

< Learning Library Home

Learning area: Social-Emotional, Art, Language Arts
Time commitment: Two or three sessions at 30 minutes each
Best for: Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5


Students will build self- and social-awareness skills as they represent themselves visually and write about who they are inside. Looking in a mirror, students will observe their outward appearance and create self-portraits. They will then write a poem or letter to themselves describing who they are inside and what it feels like to be me. Building social and emotional competence is important as children learn about themselves and others.



  • Crayola Window Crayons
  • Crayola Colors of the World™ Colored Pencils
  • Crayola Colors of the World™ Markers
  • Paper
  • Mirrors
  • Moist paper towels



CREATE. Students will:

  • Discuss what makes us who we are, considering questions such as: What makes each of us special? What do we like to do? How do we play? Where do we live? What foods do we enjoy? What life cycle events do we celebrate? What makes our families special?
  • Think about how they are personally similar to and different from other members of the class, their family, and their community.
  • View themselves in a mirror and look at their own faces to identify shapes for their eyes, mouth, nose, ears, shoulders, and overall portrait. Using Crayola Window Crayons, draw what they see directly on a mirror or a window.
  • Create a transfer mono-print self-portrait by pressing a piece of white paper over the drawing. Use a pencil as a small rolling pin and rub the back of the paper to transfer the crayon onto the paper. Lift the white paper from the mirror then use Colors of the World markers and colored pencils to color and fill in details of the self-portrait.
  • Clean mirrors with moistened paper towels so they are available to view themselves for finishing their self-portraits.

RESPOND. Students will:

  • Look at their self-portraits and their mirror images and respond to new questions: What is inside me? What do I like to do and what am I good at? What emotions do I feel, and when? Do I prefer to be alone or with others? How do I form relationships with others? What are examples of my being a responsible decision maker who makes wise choices?
  • Write a poem or letter to themselves about who they are on the inside, describing how they feel, how they manage their feelings and relationships, and how they impact their surroundings.
  • Add any details to the drawing that are outward clues to their identity.

PRESENT. Ask students to:

  • Share their self-portraits and writing, discussing how their awareness helps them see the best in each day, learn, support others, and feel confident. They will discuss their fears and frustrations they have, as well as what brings them joy and hope. Naming emotions and realizing that others also have these feelings helps students build social and emotional skills.
  • Listen to others’ presentations to learn more about them as friends, co-learners, and unique individuals.

CONNECT. Students will:

  • Use recycled items and art materials to create a frame in which to display their portraits and writing. Connect the portraits and personal narratives to understanding how people are similar and different, celebrating each other’s strengths.


Learn More:

    • If this activity is done remotely, give families tips for how to display the artwork at home and how to discuss emotions in ways that are respectful and acknowledge individual differences.
    • There are many frameworks for social-emotional learning. CASEL Social Emotional Competencies are at https://casel.org/sel-framework/.
    • Doug Fisher, John Hattie, and Nancy Frey: The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K-12: Teaching for Engagement and Impact in Any Setting, June 2020
    • Crayola offers lessons, projects, webinars, and other support at https://www.crayola.com/education/
    • Learn more about the benefits of art integration at PrincipalCrayola_SeptOct17_smallsp.pdf

    Originally posted 2021

    Monthly tips, ideas, giveaways, and help.

    Bonus: Get free teacher-theme Zoom backgrounds when you subscribe!

    Wanna say something?


    Comment for Look At Me Inside and Out

    Susie Coit Williams

    My 7 year old granddaughter will be homeschooled for the fall term of the 2021-2022 school year due to the pandemic. (second grade) Once she has the childrens vaccine she will transition to in school. We will follow a curricullum for her grade. Her dad and I will be doing the teaching (there is no remote learning offering and it is far too dangerous to put her in school). Theses activities will be very helpful.