I really like this group drawing assignment from Lynda Barry. Each student drew a self-portrait as a member of a jazz band. Then the students copied several of the portraits on to a stage to create a whole band. This is a fantastic idea!
Lately, I have been having my own students do some self-portraits. We did One recently during our “career week” in which we drew portraits of ourselves doing the job or profession we thought we wanted to do as a young child, around 9 years old. It was pretty fun.
We also did the “drawing jam” exercise as Lynda B. discussed in her book Syllabus, (p108-9) in which you fold a piece of paper up so it makes 16 squares. Then you pass the paper around with each student writing the name of a job/occupation or a type of person. So you could have “doctor” or “dancer” or “nerd” or whatever. You only get 10 seconds to write this as a title in one of the squares. You keep passing the paper around until each square is filled. Next, you pass the paper around from person to person, allowing one minute to make a drawing of that person. Each person in the class makes the sixteen square paper and you are working on making one minute drawings on different pages each time until all of the pages have sixteen drawings on them.
In my class, we took another day and colored the drawings in with crayons. They colored and I read a chapter to them out of the book we are reading as an assigned reading. The book is Darius the Great is Not Okay. It has been a long time since a teacher has read a book to them and also a long time since they colored with crayons. But one thing I have noticed with college freshmen is that they enjoy doing things they enjoyed doing in elementary school but have long since forgotten about.
Some other Lynda Barry assignments I like: