ESL friendly art vocabulary

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!

Grade 10’s beginning to interpret a theme…

After only 2 weeks the art class is already busy, busy, busy! It’s great to be amongst it again. I have a very different cohort of grade 10’s this year so I’ve tweaked the Interpreting a Theme unit to hopefully suit this particular group better. I’ve added two new theme choices. Also, rather than basing their imagery collection solely on magazine and internet images I have sent them on a photography task. I gave them this planning sheet to start with (photography brainstorm). Some students took the idea very literally – for example for the theme “under pressure” they took lots of photos of their friends in various looking-stressed poses. Other photos were surprisingly sophisticated in their ideas – one student had explored the theme isolation through some moody, black and white empty spaces and single chairs around the school. This was very much a “let’s see how it goes” plan so I have some ideas for next year which will include showing a variety of Photography artists first and their approaches to a theme and also a lesson on camera angle and composition – perhaps a video tutorial or a sort of ‘take one picture – how can you take it again in 5 different ways’ could also work… what do you think? Have you had any successful lessons in photography composition and camera angles?

So long internet, hello art books!

I am slowly building up the previously non-exsistant Visual Art library book by book. We have a great collection already and I’ve really enjoyed watching the Grade 10’s thumb through the books looking for artists to research for their interpreting a theme unit. Not a single student has chosen the same artist. I am looking forward to some very different material investigations and final outcomes. It is so good to see the books all over the tables rather than laptops open and students disappearing into their own searching worlds… so much more discussion took place and it’s easier for me to see what choices they’re leaning towards so I can jump in and help, or guide them to a better decision if needed. If you have any suggestions of some great art books I’d love to know!