To the Teacher
Very important: The following activity should work against any belief learners may hold that their bodies are not “ideal”. The activity, and all conversation it gives rise to, should affirm every single body. The whole project encourages learners to accept their own and other people’s appearances as they are. This positive response should also apply to the work the learner does on the paper body shape. Encourage the learners to have fun, enjoy the process and, above all, to feel happy and comfortable about their bodies.
All of us are beautiful, all of us are perfect!
Students should choose a partner for this activity, which is done in pairs.
You will need:
Large sheets of brown pattern paper, white paper, or newspaper
Thin glue paste, such as wallpaper paste or thin flour-and-water paste
Wood glue or glue sticks
Chalks, crayons or pastels
Brushes – large and small sizes
Paint (powder paints would be very suitable, as you will need fairly generous quantities)
Scraps of waste coloured or patterned paper or fabric for collage, or mixed media, such as gift-wrap or sweet papers
Enough floor space for learners to lie down on top of their sheet of paper
You will now make life-sized images based on a tracing of your body shapes. For this activity, you will need large sheets of paper, as long and as wide as you are yourselves.
Brown paper can be bought in large sheets or rolls. From the roll, cut each piece as long as each learner is tall; or join sheets with masking tape.
Alternatively, if rolls or big sheets of paper are hard to find, use joined newspaper pages. Create the newspaper sheets as follows:
Using glue or masking tape, join several large pages of newspaper together along their edges until you have a piece longer and wider than yourself. You will need to double these up for strength: glue more newspaper to your large sheet as a backing. You can make the glue for this purpose – simply mix a thin paste of flour and water. Keep the paste thin and runny, apply it very smoothly, and give the glued paper plenty of time to dry. Leave these out to dry, lying flat.
While the paper is being prepared, choose a partner and pair up.
Drawing and painting the body maps
With chalk or a crayon, you are going to trace around your partner’s body as he or she is lying down on the paper. As you draw, try to keep in line with your partner’s actual body outline. Your partner can strike a pose while lying down – for example, an action pose such as running, dancing, jumping or even flying. Be expressive in your pose!
Then swap over: the person who has been doing the outline tracing, now lies down on their sheet of paper to have their own body-outline traced.
You may find that these outlines are surprising and strange in some places. This does not matter at all. It is because your bodies are three-dimensional and therefore do not lie flat on the paper.
You will now work on your own body image – the outline your partner has traced of you.
You will use colour, pattern, shape and line to express as much pride and joy in your own form as possible. Celebrate your body! Let your body have a party! Use paint, crayon, chalk and collage elements to clothe and decorate your own body tracing. You can use different materials in interesting ways: attach feathers, shiny sweet papers, or anything that suggests fabric, textures, ruffles, or other kinds of adornment.
Use the background space on your body-map to draw, paste or paint images that reflect your world.
When you are all done, put the figures up on a wall in your classroom or in some other suitable place in the school, and let them dance, run or fly together!