Students in the morning Level 3 listening and speaking classes took turns as artists and gallery patrons the other day, and Nursen has chosen to share her lesson and pictures with us.
There is a unit on art and museums in American English File, and the students began the unit with listening practice. In the audio, a man describes pictures hanging in a museum. The students did work to understand the script, with a language focus on prepositions of place and terminology related to colors, shapes, and artistic composition. After reviewing these concepts, the students got down to the real work of art making through communication.
Each student brought in a picture of his or her own choosing, or used a sample picture provided by Nursen. Students took turns describing the image to their partners, who did their best to illustrate what was being communicated to them (this took about 35 minutes). After the drawings were completed, students hung the originals and their renderings side-by-side, and the class did a gallery walk, assigning stars to the most accurate renderings (this took about 10 minutes). Click through the slides below to see the amazing results. (You'll find pointilism, a mer-lion, televised football, and Mayan pyramids. TELC is truly diverse.)
Nursen feels strongly that this kind of activity is accessible and motivating for students at lower levels, and I agree with her. She says:
"I love this lesson because it gives students a real purpose to communicate. They only focus on the task at hand without worrying about making mistakes. English becomes a means to get their message across rather than being an end in itself. And needless to say, it is lots of fun!"
Well-said! We would love to hear from other teachers about visual arts in the classroom, so send your ideas my way.