Number one for English language teachers

Editorial: Art on onestopenglish

Keith Kelly gets us in the picture as he talks about a new series on using art in the classroom and looks at a vibrant collection of creative activities to get your students into art.

Dear colleagues,

In a week which saw Giacometti's Bronze statue 'Walking Man I' sold for £65 million at Sotheby's, a record price for a work of art sold at auction, we thought we'd take a look at art on onestopenglish.

New art series
In February you'll find a new series called ‘Using Art in the classroom’, which is being published into the Integrated skills section of onestopenglish, and is also very relevant to CLIL. We are launching the series with two articles: an introductory article to the series, and the first part, ‘Using art at face value’. The first part of the series offers a wealth of ideas for developing language through art lessons, including one I think I might try myself and that is to turn your classroom into an art exhibition dedicated to a single artist in order to get students investigating and describing stylistic features of the works they see.

Young Learners art
It's worth taking a look around the Young Learners arts and crafts section on onestopclil, which is full of hands-on activities to get learners learning language through doing practical activities such as working with cut-out shapes and objects. I know from experience that practical activities like this are perfect for teaching young learners. My daughter, Dara, is two-and-a-half and spends a lot of meaningful learning time producing, for example, a mat and animal cut-outs, which we then colour in to go with the story 'The Cat Sat on the Mat'. She's always the cat, of course!

In the arts and crafts section, I particularly like the wild animals lesson which looks at body parts. Cutting objects out, colouring them, labelling them, organizing them and building them are all-important aspects of young learners making learning their own. The activities are all practical in this way and the four seasons cut-out is another very nice simple means for modelling concepts and building language.

Secondary art
Search around the secondary materials and you'll find still more art treasures. There is a listening exercise on Claude Monet to accompany the Art and Drawing Integrated Skills CLIL Lesson worksheets. Teachers are always asking me where they can find subject-specific listening materials. Well, here is one dedicated to art. There are also other materials based on specific artists, including a general topic-based lesson on the subject of Impressionism and Monet and a lesson on Picasso, where pupils learn about influential artist Pablo Picasso while consolidating key art vocabulary.

Webquest art
If you are looking for something meaty to get your students into art, how about a 19-page webquest on Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring? Students carry out text-based language work about the painting, but they also investigate the book and the film on the same topic and they look at the science and culture of pearls and carry out a class project on alternative versions of artistic works.

New art
There is a collection of new items on the site in February too. The world's largest sacred temple site, Angkor, Cambodia – a work of historical and architectural art – is the focus of a reading text resource you'll find uploaded this month.

Following our 'art' theme further, there is practical and scientific artwork in the design of the rocket mice, their size, shape, weight and others. Rocket mice is part of a series of simple science experiments to do in the classroom, each with language support provided.

You could say that the American Revolution represents a work of political art itself, and you'll be pleased to hear that there is a new question loop based on this theme with 26 interrelated questions and answers for you to get your students interacting with each other through English.

I know there are many colleagues working on art themes, teaching art itself through English or just incorporating artists and works of art into their language lessons. If you are, why not write and let us know? If you write what you've done as a lesson plan and send it to us, you could win a prize and have your lesson published on onestopenglish through the Lesson Share competition.

Best wishes,

Keith

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