My third graders take the first day of this project to draw the best self portrait they possibly can. The next time they come to art I take them through a series of pictures on a slide show - each picture I ask them questions and trace different parts on the board. For example - I put up a picture of my niece when she was a baby - I trace her head and then put a line through her eyes horizontally. I ask the students where on her head are her eyes - they of course see they are in the middle. I proceed to do this with her nose, mouth and ears. The next picture is another picture of my niece at around two. I start again as I did when she was a baby. This helps the students understand that the eyes really do belong in the middle of the head and the hair fills up the top of the head. The last picture I do is of President Obama - I choose him because he has very short hair and the picture is straight on. I repeat the steps above to really sink in the proportions of the face.
After this exploration the students start a new self portrait using their new knowledge. I walk around the room and fold heads in half to check for eye placements! Most students will be really close.
When the project is over the students open their paper and compare their drawings - many students are shocked that they put their eyes so high!