Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mixing Art with Learning Spanish

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Last year I was able to do artist's studies with some of my more advanced students. I would show them a work of art from Latin America or Spain and then ask them questions in Spanish. We would speak in the target language about the painting's colors and objects. We would talk about what was happening in the picture and even what my students would ask the artist about the painting if they had a chance. If you would like to see how I did these picture studies, go to this post which also contains a free printable of all the questions in Spanish you can use for any work of art. 

This year as I get ready for classes I was pondering how I could do a similar activity with students who may not have as much Spanish under their belts or who are younger and can't take some of the "darker" or bizarre pieces. Then I came across this book, Come Look with Me: Latin American Art. Each two-page spread has one piece of art on the left-hand side and then on the right there are a few questions (in English) about the work of art kids can answer and a description of the artist and his or her life (also in English). 

The book has the following artists in it with one piece of their work displayed:

José Posada (Mexico)
Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguay)
Ramón Frade (Puerto Rico)
Fernando Botero (Colombia)
Diego Isaias Hernandez Méndez (Guatemala)
Xul Solar (Argentina)
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (Mexico)
Amelia Pelaez (Cuba)
Rufino Tamayo (Mexico)

...and a few more.

So how am I going to use this book? I am going to take my beginning or younger students and ask them the same set of questions for the paintings. Once they do well with these questions we can move onto more detailed ones. Here are the questions:

  • Nombra los colores.
  • Cuenta_______________ (any set of objects in the picture like animals, balloons, etc.)
  • ¿Dónde está la escena?
  • Nombra unas acciones en el cuadro.
  • ¿Cuál parte (no) te gusta de la obra?
  • Dáme dos palabras para describirla.
If you would like to use more examples of Hispanic art you can go searching on my Pinterest board of art for Spanish teachers by clicking here.

Also, there is a whole series of these books! You don't necessarily have to use Hispanic art to use Spanish to talk about the pictures (although it is an nice addition of culture to your lessons).

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