Divide class into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a portrait. Ask groups to look at their assigned portraits carefully and determine some of the qualities of the person depicted. Have them choose 3 adjectives (descriptive words) that best fit this person. (For instance, adjectives for a portrait of Alexander the Great might include fearless, aggressive, & arrogant.) Direct the groups to create a new portrait with their bodies that exemplifies the three adjectives they chose. For each new portrait, one person will be the model and the other students will be the artists. The artists will decide how the model must look and pose (body placement and facial expression). Groups may use costume items to help communicate the adjectives they have chosen. Once they have determined the model’s appearance, each group will share their creation and explain their choices to the rest of the class.
Another variation is to let the other groups "read" the image before explaining the choices to the rest of the class. Ask questions such as:
Describe: What do you see?
Analyze: What could that mean?
Relate: What adjectives do you think the group might have chosen for this portrait?
After moving through these questions, invite the group to share their adjectives for the portrait.
Describe: How would you describe the person in this new portrait?
Analyze: What do the costume or gestural details tell you?
Relate: In what other situations are judgments made based on images?
“When choosing adjectives, look closely at details in the portrait.”
“Artists, use care when placing the model. Treat them with respect.”
Have the new portrait come to life. Interview the new portrait after it has come to life. When the groups share their portraits, have the rest of the class guess what adjectives they were working with.