Thursday, December 22, 2016

Picasso Portraits - Integrating Art & World Languages

Right before the break, my second graders finished making and writing about Picasso inspired portraits. I got this idea from my awesome colleague, Alfonso de Torres Núñez, I know he's presented it at KWLA and at ACTFL on how to integrate Art and World Languages.

First, we started out by singing Todo Mi Cuerpo and playing Diego Dice to practice body parts. Then we looked at some Picasso portraits and talked about the colors, how the women feel in the paintings - tired, sad, happy etc -  and we labeled their body parts. I introduced the word cubismo - which they recognized from their Art class because the Art teacher had just finished teaching about Picasso in her class in English. (I wish I could say the timing was on purpose but I just got lucky!)

We practiced by doing a Roll a Picasso, although I scratched out the English and wrote in the Spanish body parts and numbers.

I also meant to read them this book - Picasso's Trousers -  (translating it to Spanish as I read)  but because of interruptions for field trips and assemblies this time of year I only managed to that in one class. Still it's a great book that has great illustrations and is easy to understand even in Spanish.

And if you need a dynamite sub plan, you could leave this book along with the Roll A Picasso for a great cultural lesson that doesn't require a sub to know any Spanish!

Then we made our own portraits. The first part was a listening exercise. I passed out pieces of white paper, crayons, and scraps of construction paper in different colors. Then I gave them directions in Spanish of how to draw their portrait.

Ok, clase - ahora vamos a dibujar la cabeza. Dibujan la cabeza. La cabeza es un círculo. Para dibujar la cabeza necesitan dibujar un círculo. 

Para los ojos necesitan un papelito. ¿Qué color quieren? Pueden usar rojo o verde o azul, no me importa el color. Ya dibujan los ojos en el estilo de Picasso. Cuando terminan con los ojos pegánlos en sus papeles. 

You get the idea. Most students understood because of the repetition but if they didn't then they could see it as I did it. This took us two classes to finish because I only have 25 minutes at a time. Then they finished coloring their portraits and cut them out. They wrote a paragraph using sentence frames on the board to describe their picture.

Of course, some students work a lot faster than others so those that got finished early could do a fast finisher. The last day when we only had a handful of stragglers I set them to work on making flip books, which I assembled and sent back with them to put in their class libraries. 

Their smiles and pleas of  "Can we take these home today?" combined with how well they did on their mini assessment make this unit a winner. ¡Gracias a Alfonso por la idea!

How do you integrate art in your World Language class? Share in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #earlylang!


  1. Love your idea ! I too think art is a great connection, providing many authentic conversations. For example, I use with K when teaching colors and native Mexican animals (Frida Kahlo). I also use art to teach Me gusta/no me gusta. In whole class we look at an discuss famous Spanish speaking artists' works. Day 2 I give them a survey to ask classmates if they like or don't like various works. This year I will introduce James Mayhew's book Katie and the Spanish Princess for first graders with Las Meninas by Velazquez.

    1. I love Las Meninas! I used that same book last year with kindergarten -

      I need to use more Frida Kahlo - thanks for the idea!

  2. I love this!!! I will use this for my Spanish Culture class!!