Self Portrait Kid Maps

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Mapping Kids, Mapping Techniques, Personal Geographies | 2 comments

John Arbuckle is a teacher I have talked about before. I am having a great time reading and seeing what the kids in his 3-5 grade classes in Seattle are doing with my book. Here is the latest—they used the “Street Map” in the book and made self portrait maps of their heads. A few of them even have compass roses!

Making a Self Portrait Street Map

1. If you want to do a project like this with kids, give them a profile of a head to start with. They can trace that, and add their own facial features to the the profile.

2. After they create the “streets” with tape, paint the areas between them with colors and patterns.

3. Have them name their streets. There are a few good approaches for this, one would be naming friends and family, another would be subjects that appeal to them, or a list of things they have on their minds. Pet Alley, Surfers Paradise Lane, Art Boulevard, Divorce Stinks Street.

4. They can name the spaces between the streets too. Parks, malls, neighborhoods, buildings and geographic details can be added.

5. Ask  them to name and date the map. I mean a real title for their art piece, plus their own name.

6. Last, add a compass rose!

John Arbuckle, I hope many teachers are coming up behind you to fill your shoes as you head to retirement this year. The world needs more educators that care about the kids like you do. Thank you for sharing these joyous projects with me!



  1. I love this Jill! Sure do wish others teachers would do things like this with their kids…You rock girlfriend!

  2. I think the direction that John has taken is wonderful. I just can imagine how much language was generated when talking about people, places, loves and loathes, and life situations that would become features on the maps.

    Love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>