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Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Frida Kahlo: Queen of the Selfie

Learning about Frida Kahlo (and her connection to today's "Selfies") gives students insight into art, Mexican culture, and self-expression.
Wheatley D.
Classroom teacher
Warren Mott High School
Warren, United States
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My Subjects World Languages

Students will be able to recognize one way that Frida Kahlo impacted the world.  

Students will begin to learn about Frida Kahlo as a legendary Mexican artist.

Students will be able to see how art reflects one's life and impacts the lives of others.

World Languages
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 ?Que es un "Selfie"?

Activity: Conversing

Ask students to define "selfie".  For lower level students, you may want to have them answer in English.  Upper level students can answer in Spanish.

Have them include examples & non-examples--perhaps on their own phones, or just through verbal description

Ask for their thoughts about this phenomenon.  What kind of selfies do they like or dislike? Are certain kinds better than others? etc.  Where do they think selfies originated?  When?

Encourage free thoughts and open flow of ideas.  

Student Instructions

On the board:  "SELFIE--define this term.  Use words, sketches, or images from your phone to illustrate what this means."  

"?Que es un "Selfie"?" Explica en espanol.  Usa imagenes, dibujos, o fotos de tu telefono.

2 Queen of the Selfie: Frida Kahlo

Ask students if they know anything about Frida Kahlo.  Let them share any thoughts that come to mind.  Explain that they will know much more about her by the end of class.  Add that one way to learn about someone is to look at her artwork...

If all students have devices, tell them to conduct an image search* of "FRIDA KAHLO PAINTINGS". 

*WARNING:  Some of Frida's paintings include some nudity, blood/violence, etc.  Consider the maturity level of your students prior to this step.  My students were really taken with the various representations of pain shown in Frida's work, but if necessary, provide them with a safe search option, such as http://www.safeimages.safesearchkids.com/

If you want further control over this process, curate a set of Kahlo's artwork and post it as a collage or as a PowerPoint.

As students look at the images, ask them what they see-- ( the unibrow, monkeys, pain/blood, etc.).  What kind of image did she create often? (Selfies)

If time permits, I encourage you to ask students what they think about her artwork-- WHY might she have painted what she did?  What kind of life do they think she had?  etc.  Explain that now you will find out specifics about her life...

Introduce the CNN article, "Queen of the Selfie..."  Read together as a class (or do as a jigsaw, or break into pieces, etc.  Whichever reading format works best for your group's needs).  

Discuss her life's events as you go or at the end.  

Have students look back at her artwork again-- what do they see now? 


3 Application & Optional Further Study

What do Frida Kahlo's "selfies" reveal about her?  Her life? The purpose of her art?

'She once famously said: "I paint myself because I am often so alone, and because I am the subject I know best."' (CNN article on Queen of Selfie)  What does this mean to YOU (students)?  

Think about your own selfies or photos (or artwork!).  How do you express your feelings? How do you reveal your life (or how could you?)?

Your assessment is two parts.  One is for fun and the other is creative.  

1)  Use the selfie app to create a Frida-esque picture of yourself.  Add the extra elements.  Have fun with it.  Save the image. (Teacher decides how to share or submit this)

2) Now, using your phone or a classroom device with a camera-- Create a selfie that reveals your mood, hints at your life experience(s), shows what matters to you, etc.  Use Frida as an example-- do you want to include props? do you want to wear certain clothing or costumes? what will you put in the background that has meaning to you?  

*If cameras aren't available, students may create these images by sketching, coloring, painting, etc.

SHARE:  After students have had sufficient time to complete these, decide how you'd like to share them as a class.  Will they be posted as a class collage?  Will you make them into a slide show?  Will students share their images and explain their thoughts?  Will phones be out on desks and the class walks around, gallery-style?  etc.

Conclusion:  Class discusses what they saw and what they enjoyed.  Positive feedback to students on their work and ideas.  

Wrap up with a reflection on art and Frida-- how does art reflect life?  what can we gain by viewing art and learning about the artists?  How might this impact the images we choose to put into the public (selfies, pics online, etc.)?

Final thoughts?

**For further application, there are numerous documentaries on Frida Kahlo, as well as a great film called "Frida" which is in English and won many awards.  These would require parental permission slips, but are worth the extra time, especially if students are highly intrested.