'fancy pants' photo (c) 2010, Amanda Sicard - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Creating art can be a great language-learning activity for English Language Learners!

We’re lucky to have an extraordinarily talented and caring art teacher — Mr. Johnny Doolittle — at our school. Every year he gives up his free period for many days to lead our English Language Learners in many different activities, including origami when we are studying Japan in Geography class; drawing when we are learning art vocabulary; and replicating a Depression-era mural we’re going to see at Coit Tower in San Francisco on our annual field trip.

Often, we combine these lessons with days when his mainstream art students help teach our newcomers — a neat opportunity for practicing speaking skills. Our class also talks, writes and reads about all the activities we do with Mr. Doolittle and his students. And since many of our ELL students don’t have much time in their schedule for electives like art, our time with his classes provides a little taste of that activity.

Here’s a video of our most recent week-long art project — replicating a mural that we’re going to see tomorrow on our field to San Francisco. Believe me, students will be looking very, very intently at the artwork when we get there and talking about it with their classmates — in English!

You can see videos of all our previous art projects at our class blog.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources Discussing The Importance Of Art In Education.