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Behind every great man is a woman! Looking at the role the First Lady plays.

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Language Arts And English +1 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

Opening:  Class Discussion:  What is a portrait?  What are the Elements of Portrayal?

Show Michelle Obama Portrait- Have students work in pairs to come up with a list of things the artist wants us to know about the sitter.

Discuss answers

Read Washington Post article - Add any ideas to list

Divide class into 6 groups - Each group is given a group of first ladies.  Students should come up with a list of attributes/characteristics/symbols for the group as a whole.

Small groups should then meet together and complete a Venn Diagram to show similarities and differences of the groups to distinguish how portraits may/may not have changed through time.  Does this portray how the role of the first lady has evolved over time?

Further questioning:  What roles will future first ladies (men, husband, partner) play in the U.S.

Extension activity:  Portrait - Create a portrait of someone of importance or even a self-portrait.  What style will it be in?  How will you use the elements of portrayal?


This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.

#NPGteach

First Lady Michelle Obama

National Portrait Gallery

Group 1

The White House

FLOTUS 2

Tammy Fitts

FLOTUS Group 3

Tammy Fitts

FLOTUS Group 4

Tammy Fitts

FLOTUS Group 5

Tammy Fitts

FLOTUS 6

Tammy Fitts

Martha Washington

National Portrait Gallery

Mary Todd Lincoln

National Portrait Gallery

Helen Herron Taft

National Portrait Gallery

Betty Ford

National Portrait Gallery

Hillary Clinton

National Portrait Gallery

Laura Bush

National Portrait Gallery