This lesson focuses on shape, color, and space, and deals with proportion and facial features without the stress of attempting to create a realistic face. Because the shapes are torn, not cut or drawn, the lesson automatically lends itself to what I call "ish-ness" (named after Ish, the wonderful little book by Peter Reynolds). The "rules" for the activity are simple: start with two predominant colors, include all face parts, don't overlap the shapes, and use no scissors or pencils. After listing these on the board, I ask students what they think "predominant" means. If no one gets close, I define it for them as main, as in "two main colors" ... and stress that it doesn't mean that they can't use other colors as well. Just before they start, I ask them to think about whether they want their piece to be symmetrical or asymmetrical, reviewing the meaning of the terms.
Students use a 12x12 sheet of black construction paper for their background, and each table has an assortment of colored construction paper to choose from. As they work, I encourage creatively-used shapes for different facial features, and remind them of the ongoing collage rule of putting glue on the back of the colored pieces, not on the background. I also remind them to tear any straight edges that may have made their way to the piece. Generally with collage work, I don't even get the glue out until after students have torn several shapes and started arranging them on the background. I encourage them to get all their shapes defined first before gluing anything down.
After a walk-around, where students can take their time looking at everyone's art work, I go through the pieces one by one and we identify as a whole group what the two predominant colors are, and whether the piece is symmetrical or asymmetrical. I also point out how lines have been created between the applied shapes, in the negative space.