This six-to-eight-week project was designed for a class of eight Spanish learners with advanced low proficiency. The learners are enrolled in a course titled “Español Avanzado” at an English-speaking independent high school in an urban setting (Boston, Massachusetts). The course meets five times per week for forty-five minutes each class period and is taught between ninety to one hundred percent in the target language. The overall curriculum of the school has a strong bend toward community service and social justice, and these eight students in particular have a strong affinity for art and a talent for creative expression projects. This project allows them not only to learn more about art and artists from the Spanish-speaking world, but also to design a product that would afford them the opportunity to use their artistic skills to benefit the community. Additionally, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and our school are easily accessible via the same subway line, making a project that connects these two institutions a natural choice.
Learners will investigate how to engage children in the exploration of art in collaboration with Spanish-speaking tour guides at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) located in Boston, Massachusetts in order to create an activity brochure designed for Spanish-speaking children as they tour artwork by Spanish-speaking artists at the MFA. The activity brochures will be submitted to the MFA as a free resource for museum patrons.
Academically, learners will engage in sustained inquiry about museum education and visual arts in Spanish based on data and the learners’ interests. As the project unfolds, learners will use the target language to describe artwork by Spanish-speaking artists and design an activity brochure for Spanish-speaking children about the artists and artwork using vocabulary for art and museums and relevant tenses in the indicative and subjunctive mode. Students will likely use the present, preterit, imperfect, and present perfect indicative tenses as well as complex sentence structures to make comparisons and superlatives when describing artwork and artists. However, the specific target grammar will be the imperative and the present subjunctive for giving instructions and suggestions. Students will have been introduced to both the imperative and present subjunctive already, so this unit will serve as reinforcement for this target grammar.
Culturally, learners will engage in:
· observing exhibition design while interacting with tour guides from the MFA,
· comparing and contrasting existing models for activities for children at museums in various Spanish-speaking cities, and
· critically interpreting artwork by Spanish-speaking artists.
Major activities include: (1) Researching, comparing, and contrasting the artists and artwork from Spanish-speaking countries on display at the MFA; (2) Interviewing Spanish-speaking tour guides at the MFA about the artwork and how they design guided tours; (3) Submitting a printed activity brochure that will guide Spanish-speaking children who visit the MFA through the artwork of Spanish-speaking artists.
The outcome of the project will be an activity brochure in Spanish for Spanish-speaking children which will be shared with the MFA through a PDF document to fulfill the need for printed guided tours in Spanish for children who visit the MFA.
Project Implementation (Sequence of Activities)
Implementation information not specified.
Preparing for the Project
1. Learners will develop curiosity about museum education for children by engaging with an article from a Mexican journal called "Los museos: espacios para la educación de personas jóvenes y adultas" about how museums serve as educational centers for both young people and adults.
2. Learners will obtain background information about the importance of art in education for children in Spain from an introductory article to the website for Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos called “Introducción: Las artes son para la infancia un lenguaje cercano y familiar” about how art education promotes healthy childhood development.
3. Learners will then explore different viewpoints on museums as learning centers for children presented in an online magazine article called “La importancia del arte para los niños pequeños” about the benefits of art in the development of children in Spain.
4. Learners will also compare and contrast cultural perspectives on museums as learning centers for children based on a blog post called “La importancia del arte en la educación de los niños” about the importance of a cultural upbring in the arts (visual arts, music, theater, and dance) in Argentina.
5. Learners will also explore different viewpoints on the definition of art presented in two videos (one called “¿Qué es el arte? Corto documental” from Argentina and “¿Qué es el arte?” from Mexico) about the different types of art and how the word “art” is defined. (Other options for videos include “07-El Arte” from Argentina and “Es eso el arte?” from Chile, which explores questions like: What makes art? Can we all be artists? Can creativity be learned?)
6. Learners will develop curiosity about museum education for children by engaging with a video called “Un museo para niños” from El Salvador about the importance of designing museums that allow visitors to engage with the exhibits. The museum that is featured is not an art museum, but it does highlight the benefits of experiential learning.
7. Learners will develop curiosity about effective instruction for children by engaging with videos for children about different Spanish speaking artists like Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Diego Rivera (Mexico), Emilio Pettoruti (Argentina), Quinquela Martín (Argentina), Antonio Berni (Argentina), and Fernando Botero (Colombia). Students can use the videos not only to learn about the artists themselves, but also to consider what strategies were used in the videos to maintain audience attention.
8. Learners will obtain background information on importance of art in education for children from an infograph from Mexico called “10 Beneficios de las artes manuales en los niños” about the ten benefits of art for children.
Additional Potential Resources
MFA Boston: Spanish Paintings
Los 10 museos más divertidos para niños (Spain)
El Prado: Programas Educativos para Niños
La Reina Sofía: Guías para niños y adultos
Guggenheim Bilbao: Niños y familias
Colección Lázaro: Consejos para familias con niños (PDF)
Difusión Cultural: Proyectos educativos en museos
Cinco museos perfectos para niños en la CDMX
Boston Children’s Museum
Additional Potential Articles
What does a Museum Educator Do? (In English)
Entrevista con Cecilia Infante (Chile): Una visita a un museo es un aprendizaje para la vida
Los museos: espacios de cultura, espacios de aprendizaje
Conclusions: Cómo aprenden los niños
El desarrollo infantil y el aprendizaje temprano
La evaluación en el área de educación visual y plástica
Additional Potential Videos:
Zamba y Tarsila do Amaral (Brasileña)
El arte de educar: Obra social (la Caixa y el Prado)
Agnes Zander, creadora del proyecto educativo de "El arte de educar"
Taller El arte de educar. Museo del Prado y "la Caixa"
La educación en el Museo: modelos pedagógicos (1 hour, 10 minutes)
To support the project, students will use a variety of technologies. Students will communicate with me and each other via email and shared Google Docs. Students will maintain a shared Google folder where they will upload notes, links to resources, and drafts of written work. Students will use cell phones and/or laptops to record the audio of interviews with the museum guides. Students will use Word, Google Docs, PowerPoint, and/or Adobe Illustrator to create the museum brochures, which they will eventually export as a PDF document in order to print and/or email to museum tour guides. Students may use PowerPoint to present their work to their peers. In order to research information about museums and artists, students will use the Internet to read and watch relevant videos. I will use PowerPoint to scaffold daily lessons, incorporating text, images, and videos. I will continue to use my school’s Homework Portal online to post daily assignments, links to resources, and reminders for students. I will provide feedback to students using Google Docs.
Launching the Project
The entry event for my project will be a simulation in my classroom. Because the issue that my students will be working with is a lack of materials that are appropriate for young Spanish-speakers who visit an art museum, the simulation will be designed to get learners to experience what a museum might feel like for children who do not understand brochures or the artwork without the proper scaffolding.
In pairs, students will observe three pieces of relatively obscure art (printed images) for five to ten minutes. They will receive a brochure that is supposed to guide them through the art. The brochure will contain one activity that focuses on each painting for a total of three activities. However, the brochure will be written in a language that students do not understand, apart from a few words interspersed throughout. After five to ten minutes, students will debrief their experiences (in either Spanish or English), responding to questions like: How does the artwork make you feel? What was it like trying to understand the artwork with a resource that was linguistically inaccessible? How did you feel about not knowing what the brochure said? How did you attempt to complete the activities?
After the debrief, students will then receive another brochure about the art that is written in comprehensible language. (In order to fully capture the point of this activity, I think the language for this brochure should be in English, the first language for the students. Because art can be hard to access, I want students to experience the feeling of not being able to understand nearly anything to fully understanding every detail. I would, however, consider putting the brochure in Spanish if my PBLL colleagues think that a brochure in comprehensible Spanish still accomplishes the goal of this activity.) Students will complete the activities within five to ten minutes.
Finally, students will again gather as a class to discuss this simulation. Again, this discussion might be in English or Spanish. They will discuss questions like: How did your perspective change once you were able to understand the brochure? What did you think of the activities that you had to complete? What do you think the target audience is for the activities? Did the art become more accessible to you? In what ways? If you could design activities about these pieces of art, what would you do? What other questions do you have about the art and/or artists?
Managing the Project
Project Implementation (Sequence of Activities)
- Entry event (simulation, explained previously)
- Explanation of essential questions, unit objectives, and main tasks
- Assign on-going homework assignment: "Los museos: espacios para la educación de personas jóvenes y adultas" Starting with the first day, assign one section of this article for reading at home. Provide appropriately scaffolded vocabulary and comprehension questions. Warm-up discussions in class each day could be based on student comprehension and interpretation of the article. (Alternatively, one could choose to teach the article altogether after step 11.) (Other potential homework assignments include: short journal reflections, worksheets to strengthen vocabulary and grammar skills)
- Chalk Talk with 4 categories: What is your personal experience in art museums? What do you remember about art museums as a child?; What is the purpose of art museums?; What is art?; What kinds of activities do you think would engage children in art museums? Why?
- Post-chalk talk discussion/reflection including questions like: In what ways are art museums boring? How might art museums attract visitors from all backgrounds?
- Watch, compare, and contrast videos: What is art?
- Writing: What is art, in your opinion? How does art benefit children? What is the connection between art and museums? Why is it important that children visit museums? (Approximately 200 words)
- Infograph “10 Beneficios de las artes manuales en los niños”: Break infograph into its 10 pieces and ask students in groups to rank the benefits from most important benefit to least important. Then reveal the infograph as a whole to students. Compare and contrast their ideas with the original.
- Read, compare, and contrast three articles: “Introducción: Las artes son para la infancia un lenguaje cercano y familiar”, “La importancia del arte para los niños pequeños, “La importancia del arte en la educación de los niños”. Complete a chart that allows students to see the similarities and differences between the articles. On what do the authors agree and/or disagree? Do you agree/disagree with the authors?
- Writing: Revise essay from step 7 based on teacher feedback and newly acquired information from steps 8 and 9.
- Review game to review content and highlight specific vocabulary and grammatical structures that have appeared in articles/videos, focusing primarily on the imperative, present subjunctive, and descriptive structures (comparisons and superlatives).
- Students will work in pairs (3 groups of 2) to investigate museums in Spanish-speaking countries. They will look for what kinds of literature and activities are available for children during visits to the museums. In pairs, students should investigate at least 2 museums and write a summary of their findings. Then, students will share their findings with a group, working to complete a chart that lays out information from all 6 museums.
- Ideally, students at this point will be able to survey Spanish-speaking children at a nearby bilingual school. Students will work collaboratively to create a list of questions focused on discovering how elementary students like to learn, what they think about art, and whether they like to go to art museums and why. Ideally, students would be able to visit the school and survey the students in person. An alternative idea would be to correspond with the students via email and/or video chat. If this is not possible, I will consider asking students to survey younger siblings and/or friends in elementary school in general.
- After a quick brainstorm of artists from Spanish-speaking countries, students will individually watch one of six videos about Spanish speaking artists. In each video, the character Zamba (Argentina) visits the fine arts museum and learns about one painter in particular. Students will respond to questions like: What vocabulary (specifically related to art and museums) did you hear/learn? What information does the video provide about the artist’s life? What information does the video provide about the artist’s style? Why do you think the creators of the video chose this particular information to include? How did Zamba engage with the art? What strategies does the video inspire you to think about as you plan your museum brochure? What examples of descriptive language, the imperative, and/or present subjunctive did you hear? (Videos: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Emilio Pettoruti, Quinquela Martín, Antonio Berni, and Fernando Botero. Pablo Picasso, Tarsila do Amaral)
- Students will share answers to questions about the videos from step 15. Specifically students will focus this discussion on language (vocabulary, grammar) and how the videos engage audiences (children).
- Students will write a short essay that summarizes the information they learned from the video. Students will revise the essay until it is ready to be submitted (approximately 300-400 words).
- Whether or not step 14 is possible in any format, students at this point will work in pairs to create a list of activities that they think would be engaging for young children in Spanish at an art museum based on the discussions, readings, and videos that they will have encountered. Students will focus on using the target vocabulary and grammar generated from the resources and reviewed in the game (step 11).
- In pairs, students will research the MFA, responding to questions like: What artworks by Spanish-speaking artists are on display at the MFA? What tours and/or visitor information is provided for adults and children? What information is provided just for children? What visitor information is provided in Spanish? Is any visitor information specifically about artwork by Spanish-speaking artists?
- In pairs, students will create a list of questions to ask Spanish-speaking museum tour guides at the MFA. Questions should consider exhibit design, artwork on display by Spanish speaking artists, museum education, visitor engagement (existing literature and available tours), and publicity. Students should also describe briefly an activity or two that they are considering for their brochures. They should ask the museum guide for feedback (is the activity feasible?). Students may be able to email their questions to the tour guide ahead of time so that the tour guide is prepared for their questions.
- Visit to MFA. Students will interview (record, take notes) tour guides. Students will explore artwork by Spanish-speaking artists. Students will choose 6 pieces of art that they might like to research further for their brochures. Students will create a draft of a floor plan of the location of those 6 pieces.
- Journals: Students will reflect on visit to the MFA. What surprised you about the interview with the tour guides? Was the interview helpful? In what way? What did you think about the artwork you saw? What do you think your challenges will be moving forward? What will be easy for you?
- Students will work in pairs to find preliminary information about the six art pieces they chose in order to narrow down their choices from six pieces of art to four for their brochures. To do this, students will consider how much information is available about the artist and his/her work, how interesting for children is the piece and the artist’s life, and what themes connect the four pieces they have chosen.
- At this point, students will create a project proposal about their brochures including information like: What art pieces and artists will your brochure focus on? What kinds of activities are you thinking about? How will your brochure be organized? What theme(s) will connect the artwork that you are focusing on? (Activity brochures must include images, brief description of each piece and the artist, an element of interaction with the artwork (especially considering the five senses), space for children to create art, and suggestions for further reading/activities.)
- Once students have written the project proposal, they will begin scaffolded research, specifically responding to questions like: What information is most important and most engaging for children to know about this artist and his/her artwork? How will you make this information accessible to your target audience? For each art piece, students should consider the medium, style/movement, theme, and date of piece. For each artist, they should consider the name, nationality, and interesting biographical facts. They might also consider sensory reactions to the artwork: When you look at the piece, what do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste?
- Students will complete a draft of the text for their brochures (and revise as needed), with a special focus on vocabulary for art and museums, structures for descriptive language (comparisons and superlatives), the imperative, and the present subjunctive.
- Students will find and/or create the images they will use in their brochures.
- Students will create a floor plan of the locations of the four pieces in the museum.
- Students will organize the text and images in order to create the brochure in Word, PowerPoint, or Illustrator.
- Students will present the brochures to the class in an oral presentation, specifically detailing information about the artists, the artwork, and reasons for choosing the activities that they designed.
- Students will peer edit each other’s brochures, providing specific feedback (both questions and comments).
- Students will revise brochures based on feedback.
- Second visit to the MFA. Students will complete each other’s brochures and offer more feedback.
- Students will revise brochures.
- If possible, students will visit the MFA with the bilingual students from step 13. Students from the bilingual school will complete the brochures in small groups with Meridian students as their guides.
- Students will revise brochures based on feedback from bilingual students.
- Students will submit brochures to the MFA for feedback
- Students will revise brochures based on feedback from MFA tour guides/museum educators.
- Students will write a final reflection on the entire project. Students will consider answers to questions similar to those first asked in the Gallery Walk activity (What is the purpose of art museums?; What is art?; Based on your research, interviews, and discussions, what kinds of activities are most engaging for children in art museums? Why? How do children learn? Why is art and art education important/beneficial for children?). They might also reflect on the process: What was challenging? What was fun? What might you change if you could do it again?
- Students will revise their reflection essays based on feedback from teacher.
Rubrics and Assessment
Learners will receive feedback about the development of their TARGET LANGUAGE SKILLS through:
a. Various homework and warm-up assignments throughout the unit that specifically target language skills (imperative, present subjunctive, and comparative structures): sentence prompts, fill-ins, journal questions
b. Responses to questions from videos of “Zamba en el museo”
c. Students will submit drafts of written work (“What is art?” essay, “Zamba en el museo” essay, and project proposal)
d. Students will submit a draft of the survey for Spanish-speaking children (which will include instructions and requests)
e. Students will submit a draft of the questions for MFA tour guides (which will include instructions and requests)
f. Students will submit drafts of instructions for potential activities for their brochures
g. Students will submit drafts of the descriptions of art and artists, which will include comparative structures
In addition, learners will receive feedback about the development of their INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE through:
a. Students will complete a table that compares and contrasts information from articles from different countries that discuss the benefit of art for children
b. Students will respond to questions that ask them to compare and contrast resources for children provided at museums in Spanish-speaking countries
c. Students will write a short essay about “what is art” based on information from different perspectives provided in videos
d. Students will write a short essay that summarizes what they have learned about an artist from a Spanish-speaking country
- Students will write drafts of the text they will provide in the brochures that compares and contrasts art and artists from Spanish-speaking countries exhibited at the MFA
Learners will also receive feedback about their progress toward project learning outcomes through:
a. Students will write a list of interview questions for museum tour guides/educators about how they design exhibits and engage children
b. Students will write a reflection essay about what they learned from the museum educators/tour guides
c. Students will respond to written questions an article that discusses how museums serve as centers for education for children
d. Students will reflect on a video in a short essay about techniques the creators of the video used to engage children in the world of art
e. Students will respond to questions that ask them to compare and contrast resources for children provided at museums
The culminating product for this project will be an activity brochure designed to engage Spanish-speaking children with art by artists from Spanish-speaking countries at the Museum of Fine Arts. Learners will present it to tour guides and/or museum educators at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, though the intended audience for the brochures are Spanish-speaking children and their families when they visit the MFA. The product will be evaluated by tour guides/museum educators at the MFA, student peers, and me using checklists, rubrics, peer review, and simulations.
The brochures will be completed in steps and go through various stages of revision. For example, after researching information about the artwork and artists that they have chosen, they will write summaries of their findings, which will be evaluated by me, using a checklist. Once they have a rough draft of their brochures, they will submit them to their peers for feedback. Their peers will use a checklist. After they have revised based on peer feedback, their peers will actually complete the brochures during our second visit to the MFA. Peers will provide feedback based on the simulation. After this, I will check them over and help the students submit the brochures to the MFA for feedback. Finally, after students revise their brochures for the last time based on feedback from the tour guides/educators, I will evaluate the brochures using a rubric.