As I handed my grade 7 students their portrait photographs and a sheet of tracing paper they asked, “Isn’t this cheating Ms Davies?”, “No, it’s portraiture without pain” I replied. Tracing is differentiation; helping less able learners achieve success and feel proud of their artwork. Tracing is developing ideas; compositional plans on tracing paper help students move through ideas faster and with more flexibility. Tracing is learning about proportion and perspective; tracing over photos on apps aid students understanding of line direction in architectural drawings and proportion in portraiture. Tracing is risk-taking; tracing painting plans on to large-scale canvases encourage students to take a risk with scale, creating something they never thought possible. Tracing is not cheating.
My new grade 10 class are all ESL to some degree. I have complete beginners and advanced… there lies my challenge! How do I help my students use the correct subject specific terminology in their artwork analysis? (which is a whole criteria in itself for DP art). I made this document Prior Knowledge – Art Vocabulary and assured them it was not a test just a “this is going to help me help you”.
After going through all the documents I used the students own language (with some adjustments) to make a list which I hope will be ESL friendly. Here it is: Grade 10 Prior Knowledge – Art Vocabulary ANSWERS. What do you think of this list? Would it work for your students? The real test will be when they begin their analysis next week, wish me luck!
We have an excellent ESL programme here at BISS, every teacher works incredibly hard to get complicated content and concepts across to our students. For me, the hardest part is the terminology required for analysing artwork. Google translate cannot translate grid and mixed media into an art context so I try a variety of ways to help students but today’s differentiation idea worked! Hoorah! I made this task sheet (KUSHNER group research page) for students to work on in pairs. I paired the students; an ESL student with either a native speaker or someone whose language ability is higher. Before they set to work I gathered the students around in a big group and together (with a lot of questioning, hand movements and drawing across Robert Kushner’s artwork with red markers) we ended up with the orange chart below. The student’s referred to this as they started their analysis. You can see from the examples below the students definitely have an understanding of the pictorial devices used in Kushner’s work. The next test of my differentiation will be seeing if they continue to use these key words and concepts in their annotated notes and reflections. I hope so! Watch this space… have you had successes in teaching artwork analysis to ESL students? I would love to have some more ideas.