Portraits and Portrayals--Whole-Class Discussion

View Class Discussion Portraits

  1. Class should begin by discussing the word "portrayal."  Students will be asked to think about other words they know that sound like and look like the word.  One of these words will probably be "portrait."  Teacher will then focus students' attention on the word "portrait," ask students to define it, and then apply their knowledge of that word to "portrayal."  Students will write the definition of "portrayal" in their notes.
  1. Students will then begin looking at a series of portraits.  Starting with Portrait #1, teacher will ask the students to study the picture and then brainstorm a list of adjectives that describe the way the person in the picture (Marilyn Monroe) is portrayed.  Teacher will write these ideas on the board as students copy them into their notes.
  1. Next, as a class, the students will narrow down their list of brainstormed ideas, eliminating the ones that aren't that supportable and clarifying their understanding of how Monroe is portrayed.
  1. In conjunction with step 3, teacher should prompt students to talk about specific details in the portrait that contribute to the overall portrayal of Monroe.  Teacher will write the details and ideas down on the board, pushing students to refine their ideas and be detailed themselves in their descriptions and analysis.

Examples from a class discussion:


--earrings are small and sparkling like diamond studs

--blouse is simple and conservative

--these items suggest that Monroe has elegant and professional taste

  1. Students will then view Portrait #2.  Teacher will explain that this portrait is of the same person who was in the last portrait, but how she's portrayed is completely different.  Students will repeat the process detailed in steps 2-4 for this second portrait.
  1. Discussion will continue through all 5 of the portraits  (Portraits 3-5 are Van Gogh).  As discussion progresses, teacher should help students move from just jotting short notes to writing complete ideas and sentences to communicate their ideas.  Also, the teacher should help students synthesize their ideas about how a person is portrayed into more and more concise statements.