My district curriculum map for 8th grade has a focus on self. The students like self portraits but sometimes it is fun to bring in a twist to the typical head shot version.
For this project the students take photos of "parts" of each other. They think about creating an interesting visual composition with the camera to include parts of the self that have specific meaning. For example...a baseball pitcher may chose to photograph his arm, a dancer may chose to photograph her feet, a piece of jewelry with sentimental value can be photographed on a neck, wrist, ankle or hand, etc. I encourage students to include objects of significance as well. I have a student who loves music, theater and dance and recently starred in the school musical. His picture was of his hand, holding his I-touch which displayed the advertisment for the play he was in. I really want them to think about the "why" in their choices.
Once I have printed the 4"x 6" pictures I have the students create a 1/2"x1/2" grid on the picture itself. Then I have them create a 2"x 2" grid on a 24"x 16" piece of drawing paper. (Don't forget to cut off 2" if the paper is 24"x 18" to begin with).
The students then draw box for box exactly what they see scaled up proportionally. When the sketches are finished they color with pencils, oil pastels and collage paper to complete. The results are stunning especially for students who lack confidence in their drawing skills. This is a project that makes everyone feel successful.