The Story of Art

I came across this idea from a blog. (I think…) I cannot for the life of me remember where I saw this so if you are the creator or know who had the idea PLEASE email me or put in comments below so I can give them credit. Also I am doing this for the first time this year so I will probably alter this after I try it.

  1. Choose 4-5 famous paintings- (can be from one country, one person or just random) I am choosing Spanish artist because I want to talk about where they are from. (Picasso’s Don Quixote, Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Velázquez’s Las Meninas, 
  2. Choose 1 painting to project to the class and lead a discussion about the painting in the target language. (What do you see? Where is this? How does the person feel? Why do they feel this way? etc.)
  3. (Optional) Create a story with your class about the painting using all the information the students can gain from looking at the picture WITHOUT telling them the actually story or history behind it.
  4. Divide class into groups- each group gets a different painting. Now they have to list what they see. There are options to scaffold this for a novice class
    1. Give them the out-of-bounds vocabulary they may need on a separate sheet.
    2. Give them a cloze passage with very basic sentences describing what is in the picture with the blanks being words they know.
  5. Groups create story about their painting.- you can put a minimum on this, make it an assessment or give them only a certain amount of time. That’s your call.
  6. Create a PowerPoint with student’s stories and the art- Each group shows their art and then reads their story. (The other students have to use their “You confused me” gesture for when they don’t understand a word.)
    1. You could project the story for the group to read, or make it a listening activity, and students just see the art and listen to the story.
    2. You could have a listening activity for the students like they have to write so many sentences about the story or they have to write three questions about the story, or they have to draw a part of the story. Or they just listen and enjoy.
  7. After each group presents show a short reading in target language about the creator and the real story behind the painting- This is were you get to read and personalize the information about the creator (Where are they from? Are they dead? Interesting facts etc.) and the real story about the painting (Who are they? Is it a political statement? Interesting facts about the painting.)
  8. Optional: A Gallery Walk where students get to read at their own pace the stories and the facts about the creator.
  9. Optional: Create sentence strips from each story and students have to match it to the correct painting. (This could even be a relay race.)

Have another idea to extend this activity or to make it better. LIST IT BELOW!! I can’t wait to try this. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!!

COMMENT BELOW- If you can think of a painting that would work well with this activity.

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