I begin with kinders drawing their family on a circle piece of paper (family
circle). We begin by looking at loads of images of families by different
artists and what makes a family, parents, parent, grandparents, siblings,
pets etc. I observe who has trouble holding a crayon, who adds details and
who doesn't which gives me a little insight of who they are.
Other identity lessons are portraits or drawing their favorite world filled
with their favorite things.
With 3rd grade I like to do a lesson on Grandma Moses and have the students
create their own experiences and surroundings for very colorful image filled
pictures. It is a great lesson to have the students illustrate something
they did during their summer vacation. Plus, the differences of our lives
today compared to in the past.
For upper elementary I have had students draw half their self-portrait as a
human and the other half as an animal that portrays their personality. They
first write three adjectives about themselves and then apply them to an
animal. I've had some interesting images and ideas! For example; I had a
student write stubborn, strong, big and he drew himself as half a bull. Let
me tell you that was so accurate! I think 3rd grade would have fun with
If students have trouble with the half concept I always allow them to draw
themselves and then an animal head separately in an interesting composition.
Good luck with your first year, I hope these ideas help.