A Toolbox for all Language Educators
A Toolbox for all Language Educators

Calligram Self-portraits

 In this activity, students are introduced to image poems called calligrams. They are then asked to create a self-portrait calligram with a short description of themselves. This activity is perfect for beginners who have just learned how to talk about themselves.



Descriptions may include:

Name; Age; Origin; Languages they speak; Subjects they study; Hair and eye color; Personality traits; etc.

Juxtaposing writing onto an image prompts students to make new connections and visual associations with the vocabulary. At the same time, students tend to take extra care in what they’re writing, paying closer attention to spelling and grammar. It also allows students to be creative in a way rarely showcased in the language classroom. 

In my class, I introduce the activity with a 10-minute presentation, PDF and Slides. I then assign the calligram as homework so that students can take their time and produce a work they’re proud of. Here are a few of the beautiful submissions I’ve received.


In order to showcase the student’s work, consider taping the calligrams on the walls of the class and allowing students to circulate and view their classmates’ art. You may prompt them to look for specific details. For example, “Find 3 students with the same age as you.” “Find someone from a different city than you.” “Find someone who studies something you study.” Etc.


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