"Best Self" Portraits

What makes you... YOU? When you think about what you want others to see, say, hear about you, what do you envision? Are you strong? Kind? Helpful? Brave? Confident?

In our SEL lessons, taught during our class meeting time, we focus on becoming our best selves, and how we can use that image of ourselves to help us regulate our emotions in those hard moments when we may not be portraying these selves.


Setting the Stage:

We begin with learning what your best self means. Students reflect on the following questions and chat about their answers with their partners:

  • Who do you picture when you think of your “hero” or someone you admire or look up to? Is it a celebrity? A parent? Family member? Friend? Teacher? Coach?
  • What are the qualities that make you admire this person?

We then read aloud Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson. After the read-aloud, we discuss Emmanuel's character, his struggles, and how he wanted others to see him. We also discuss how Emmanuel's values affected the person he showed to the world.


The Nitty Gritty:

Students now take the time to reflect on their own character by considering the following:

  • When do I feel like I am my personal best?
  • What will others see when I am my personal best?
  • How would I like other people to describe me?

After reflection, we discuss how sometimes best selves can look different in different places; for example, at home, with friends, with siblings, at school, at sports, etc. Then, they write down 3-5 traits that they feel describe their best selves.


Best Self Portraits:

Once students select their traits, they will upload a selfie to the creative tool of their choice (most chose either drawing in keynote or sketchbook). They will then digitally illustrate their "best self-portrait". I usually will print these and laminate for a wall display, and then send home with students as a memento.


How do you encourage students to be their best selves every day? Comment below!

#LCR3 #LCR3Vanguard


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