SchoolArts Magazine

Summer 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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E A R L Y C H I L D H O O D Y es, I teach art. And yes, I teach in English. The problem? My students don't understand me! I teach art, in English, to French children. The DNL (discipline non linguis- tique) program used in the French public school system is an effective way to teach a foreign language to French students. The program uses language immersion to teach subjects from the core curriculum. For exam- ple, one can teach geography, science, or produce a theater play instructing solely in the foreign language. In my case, the foreign language is English, and the subject of delivery is art. This year, my group of students consists of CP, which is equivalent to first grade. The challenge with this young group is that I am their first introduction to learning a foreign lan- guage in school. Every year, I try to perfect my method of easing the initial shock my students experience when introduced to a new language. Repetition of sim- ple words and phrases, plus engaging the class in conversation (in spite of poor understanding), works very well in this situation. But what works best of all? Humor! Vocabulary-Infused Art When I was an art teacher in the American system, I focused on the elements of art and principles of design. In my new role, I had to deem- phasize art vocabulary and provide opportunity for learning words appro- priate for students at this level. One project I developed that meets the criteria is Funny Faces. My first-grade students learn to name facial features as they draw and paint simple and humorous portraits. This lesson is a great way to introduce watercolor techniques and can be expanded to incorporate emotions by adding words such as funny, sad, and angry. Lesson One I always start my lessons with intro- ducing new vocabulary. I ask, "What is this—in English?" and point to all the parts of the portrait: the head, neck, shoulders, eyes, nose, etc. Students repeat the words. As I demonstrate drawing a pencil sketch, I engage stu - dents with questions such as, "Big eyes or small eyes?" "Long nose or short nose?" "Happy mouth or sad mouth?" There is usually at least one student with enough English to answer, and the rest catch on very quickly, laughing FUNNY FACES Izabella Kostrzewski M irst-grade students learn to name facial features as the raw and paint simple and humorous portraits. The large spaces in this portrait were painted using the wet-on-wet technique. TEACHING ENGLISH THROUGH ART 30 SUMMER 2019 SchoolArts

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