Teaching Spanish to kids through art (Part 2)

Teaching Spanish to kids through art (Part 2)

We love using Spanish to teach other subject matter because it takes the emphasis off of “learning a language” and cultivates an interest that requires language use to explore that subject matter, therefore giving the students a real life (and hopefully intrinsically motivated) reason to use Spanish.  Spanish is no longer the subject were learning, but the vehicle through which our students can cruise through the wide and inspirational world of art.  That’s why our Spanish resources for children are based on Spanish songs for kids and Spanish videos for kids  that include functional language and vocabulary in ways that don’t feel like you’re learning grammar or vocabulary.  Our Spanish video comics for kids are simple and natural, and mimic something they might read or watch in their language.  Most of our resources have optional visual reinforcement available and the worksheets and picture dictionaries are designed to be a bit silly (just a bit!) and hopefully memorable without the painstaking memorization process.  Apart from what’s available on our website, here are some other projects we’re excited to use in the classroom.


1. Teach Surrealism and dreams with Salvador Dalí


Dalí’s paintings are a curiosity that bring creativity and out of the box thinking into the classroom.  

Introduce Dalí with this Spanish video for kids that talks about his life and his artwork.  

For lower levels you can use his art to talk about colors, sizes, and prepositions of place. (Don't forget that we have a catchy tune to help practice the prepositions!)  For higher levels you can explore the world of dreams and talk about surrealism in your Spanish class.  In any level you can begin with an introduction about the painter, view some of his most famous works of art and then create your own surrealist pieces that can either be displayed around the classroom or presented to the class.   

Six facts you should know about Salvador Dalí (he invented the Chupa Chups logo!)


2. Compare pieces of art using Spanish adjectives

This activity could be done with any type of artwork and used to practice any of the adjectives that you are learning in class.  This example compares two portraits of women, one painted by Daniel Gordillo (a Mexican artist) and the other painted by Joaquín Sunyer (a Spanish artist).  Do it in class orally or use it as a writing exercise.




3. Take a look at works of art from the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery learning has tons of free specially developed resources that can be downloaded as PDFs, audio or can be accessed from the web.  The resources are designed to support school based learning and can be used as inspiration to plan a lesson, additional resources or as an idea for a virtual field trip.  It’s important to note that the website and resources are in English and would need to be tweaked for your Spanish classes.    


4. Teach about Picasso and create a self portrait

Self exploration through self portraits:

Warm-up: practice the conjugation of the verb ser and different adjectives by playing an “I am, He/She is” memorization game.  Have the students sit in a big circle.  Tell them to think of an adjective to describe themselves.  One student in the circle should start by saying his or her name and the adjective they have chosen to describe themselves.  Yo soy Katie y estoy contenta.  The next student then repeats what the first student said (changing the conjugation accordingly) and adds his or her own interaction.  Ella es Katie y está contenta.  Yo soy Jon y estoy cansado.  The game keeps going around the circle with each student repeating what has been said, conjugating the verb ser correctly and adding their own information.  Adjectives should not be repeated and the game finishes when the circle is completed.

Introduce the topic by looking at some famous self portraits (here you can choose portraits painted by Spanish artists or by artists from your area to make a connection to community).  Talk about the portraits (colors, parts of the face, objects that can be seen in the portrait) and about the personality and possible mood of the artist.

Students create their own self-portrait.  Explain materials needed, process of creating the portrait, review parts of the face, colors (you can go into the symbolism of different colors for more advanced classes).  Once the portraits are finished you can have your students add speech bubbles to express what the artist is feeling or you can have students write a description to accompany the artwork.

(activity adapted from Create to Communicate)


Picasso Portrait Inspired Art Lesson using Folded Papare and Watercolor

Check out this teacher's Picasso inspired art lesson here


5. Explore the world of Frida Kahlo

«No pinto mis sueños, pinto mi propia realidad» Frida Kahlo

In today’s day and age it’s important to not only honor the women and girls of today, but to make sure that as educators we make an effort to recognize the women of the past.  There’s no doubt that your classes love looking at some of Dali’s paintings or have heard of Picasso, but have they heard of Frida?  We hope so because she was an amazing artist and incredibly interesting woman!

The first resource is an interactive tour of Frida’s house designed for children.  The tour takes us on a journey through her artwork and is interactive.  You can enter as a teacher or as a student.  Although it was created for kids, we don’t think it’s too young to use with older classes.  It’s colorful and interactive, plus it gives us a look at some of her pieces of art without being overly technical, making it a fun experience.   

The second resource also looks at Frida’s life and works of art, but in a more text-based way.  It includes the history of her life in written form and a great selection of her artwork.

These websites and ideas were taken from this study.


Thanks for reading along with us.  If you have any activities that you'd like to share please leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.   Have a wonderful weekend and keep rocking!