- Grade level: Middle School, High School
- Subject Area: Art, Foreign Languages
This unit provides an opportunity for art specialists and foreign language instructors to collaborate and engage in team teaching. For example, a class of foreign language students could use the lessons on aesthetic and critical inquiry as an authentic context in which to develop their second language skills. Another option is for art students to write in their first language and exchange responses with other art or foreign language students. At this point, a foreign language teacher or fluent community member could translate the foreign responses. In this unit, students will learn how to discuss artworks from the disciplines of Aesthetics and Art criticism in a foreign language and agree to work with another group of students in a distant school who are studying the same foreign language or each class' own first language. The classes will visit a site on the Internet that exhibits art and mutually select one or more images to discuss. Students in each class will write about their perceptions of the images and share them with the students in the collaborating classroom.
- Develop their aesthetic discourse in a foreign language that they are studying.
- Analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through aesthetic and critical inquiry.
- Develop relationships with students in a school community that is distant from their own community.
- Compare multiple purposes for creating works of art.
- Develop an awareness of individual responses to artworks.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: A medium-speed or higher connection.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Learning the Language of Art. Students learn to explore artworks using the language of aesthetic and critical inquiry.
- Lesson Two: Language Transformations. Students translate their aesthetic and critical knowledge into a foreign language they are studying.
- Lesson Three: Common Contexts for Inquiry. Students establish a relationship with another group of students who are studying the same foreign language or have the reverse complement of first and second languages from the first classroom and agree to exchange aesthetic and critical responses to the same images from an Internet site.
- Lesson Four: Questioning Images. Students write their aesthetic and critical responses to the common images from Lesson Three in a foreign language and exchange them with the students in the collaborating classroom.
- Lesson Five: Comparing Observations. Students discuss the responses from the exchange classroom and compare similarities and differences in aesthetic and critical interpretations.
Relation to Standards
We have drawn on the National Standards for Arts Education outlined by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations. These standards provide excellent guidelines for teachers on how to focus visual arts in their classrooms.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may hook up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.