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Art Unit: What Worked, What Didn’t

What Worked:  

  • Students were engaged in viewing and selecting an artist’s work. Choosing whatever artist interested them increased engagement and ownership of their work.

  • Students made the connection between classwork activities and writing their placards, going back in their notebooks to reference Do Nows and classwork to help them.

  • Students participated and spoke to their classmates in Spanish during the Gallery Tour.

  • Students were engaged with recording the Instagram hashtags. Having to respond with only words or phrases made students feel more comfortable and confident. The repetition of certain vocabulary words also increased retention (demonstrated through quiz results and speaking task results administered in the weeks after).

  • Students were engaged and enjoyed creating their own piece responding to the artist. I believe this benefited students because they do not often have time to create art or original work at the high school level. It also made the project more memorable and increased retention of the key characteristics of their chosen artist.

What Didn’t:

  • Developing the gallery questions before hand helped students prepare but also meant many students just memorized their responses without fully listening or participating in a conversational way in Spanish. 

  • The gallery tour was a bit chaotic with such a large number of students. Students were assigned groups to present/interview within but it was noisy and some students spoke in English instead of Spanish when the teacher or the student facilitators were not nearby. 

  • Using the Instagram hashtags without the technology that it belongs with felt like it was partially undermining the purpose of using the literacies that students use naturally everyday. 

  • While using the hashtags was positive in terms of student engagement, confidence level, and content reinforcement, it did not challenge students enough or hold them accountable to fully respond to the gallery tour experience in the target language as much as the project should have. It worked well for vocabulary usage but not for overall grammar and communicating in complete thoughts.