I found this lesson years ago on Artsonia. I originally taught this lesson in my Kindergarten classes, but thought I would use it with my first graders this year. I wanted the display to be up for YAM and open house too. I have gotten so many complements on it, I think I will teach it again next year.
I started the lesson off by having the kids look at art prints that show self portraits by artists. We also read "I am an Artist." We discussed professional artist tools and I had visuals and vocabulary words to go with them. I included them on my bulletin board too. On day one of the lesson the kids drew their full self portrait. I folded the small piece of paper in half for the middle of their body and we drew a pant and skirt version of a kid together. I had mirrors on the table for them too finish off the self portrait with their likeness. They did such a good job!! We traced with a fine sharpie and used crayons to color. I ran the pictures thru the laminater to make cutting simpler. I actually had a parent help who cut them to save time and not risk cutting off the arm or head! Note they are holding a paint brush and palette! I hot glued the sticks for the easel and the students had a piece of matt board for their canvas.
On day two, I first read the super cute book about a cat artist called "Elemenopeo," by Harriet Ziefert.
We then review three types of pictures: A Still life, Portait and Landscape. I allowed them to draw and paint whatever type of picture they wanted. I found that if I had some examples on the board for them, we had less stress. They used pencil, skinny sharpie and tempra cake paints with small paintbrushes. They brought me their "canvas" and I hot glued it to the "easel!"