In my current curriculum we use the series "On our way to English". This series integrates social studies, science, and English language arts. The students are introduced to different content while focusing on language acquisition skills. We are introduced to the American Revolution. Our vocabulary consists of the words; colonists, colonies, general, battalions, battles, soldiers, minutemen, king, freedom, independence, constitution, truce, treaties, oppression, and ruling nation. These at the moment are just vocabulary words. I know that at the Yale Art Gallery and the British Art Center, we can find representations in various forms for each of the words. This will enable me to teach them that it is just more than a word but a concept, a real life concept. There are many books and articles geared towards the instruction of English Language Learners but the one I find most helpful is the SIOP (Shelter Instructional Operational Protocol) book. As discussed in the SIOP (Sheltered Instructional Operational Protocol) model for ELL instruction, students make content comprehensible through techniques such as visual aids, graphic organizers and multicultural content. I can complement the pictures in the book with real art work that someone painted and someone owned. Viewing artwork will give my students the opportunity to really examine a piece up close. They will be able to appreciate details, lighting, technique and perspective. By viewing artwork the students will be able to analyze the purpose behind different pieces during the period between 1750 and 1850.
This unit will include a list of activities that will enhance student's understanding of the Revolutionary War through the artwork of the time. Students will analyze a work of art and understand what was occurring during the time period in relation to family life, society, social positions and political beliefs. They will analyze artwork and understand that these figures were family members, fathers, sons, mothers, wives and even daughters of those fighting for their ideals. Students will make inferences and judgments about different works of art and come to their own conclusions as to the artists purpose or message. They will be able to see a piece of artwork from a variety of perspectives. They will examine works of art from those who were living and painting in the "New World", those from Britian and artists from Jamaica. Based on the conclusions the students draw, they will be able to create a story around the art piece and how it fits into the history of the time. Once students are able to understand the human experiences involved through artwork, I think they will be able to draw a connection to these historical figures on a humanistic level. I think that it will help them learn how to better make text to self connections and text to world connections.
Another objective I have for my unit is to have students increase vocabulary that is rich in content, based on sensory experiences. The students need the opportunity to view art, experience it, critically analyze it, then be able to verbalize all this. By viewing art, students can formulate opinions based on what they see and acquire new vocabulary in order to share out. The will be able to externalize an opinion based on schema and new images introduced. Students will also be able to practice comparing and contrasting. This is important because they will be comparing and contrasting two countries that are different but related for different reasons. When students are able to compare and contrast, they become more detailed orientated and better critical thinkers. The students will need to immerse themselves in the topic and the period in order to identify these characteristics.
By the end of this unit, most of my students should be able to describe a piece of artwork, first based on just what they see in the image and then make one or two inferences about what the authors intention may have been. They will be required to pay attention to details and how the details play into the bigger scheme of things.
As the students become more experienced in analyzing art work, I will ask them to write their observations and inferences down and discuss them among themselves before we discuss them as a group. Students will be able to work in small groups and then share out in a whole group setting.
In order to teach my unit, I plan on activating schema and introducing the topics with as much pre–reading and vocabulary as I can. I will also incorporate supplemental readings and these readings will consist of articles and history text books used in monolingual mainstream history classes offered at my school. Students will be encouraged to note take in order to supplement the basic information found in the unit regarding the American Revolution found in "On Our way to English". Technology is prevalent and many of our students are literate in it and it cannot be ignored in our teaching . For this reason and to enhance the curriculum I will show a movie about the Revolutionary War. The movie will be "The Patriot". This movie is an excellent example of family life and struggles during the American Revolution. It demonstrates that with victory comes loss. Students will be required to do a character analysis. As they observe the different characters in the movie, they will be encouraged to record what they observe in regards to the characters' surrounding and relationships. Technology is great because it adds movement and sound to topics some students may find boring or uninteresting. As the artwork is incorporated, the students will be encouraged to observe attention to details that movies or reproductions tend to omit. I plan on using graphic organizers because students will be receiving so much information that they need an organized format to help them keep track. Some of these graphic organizes will include a KWL chart, (what you Know, what you Want to know, what you've Learned), a character analysis chart where they will list physical, social, and emotional traits, and a time line with a space for brief descriptors of events listed.
I also want to incorporate "gallery walks". These gallery walks will be with reproductions found in my current curriculum. Students will be able to walk around the classroom and look at pictures related to content . Students will be encouraged to list observations focusing on their sense of sight and touch. The guide questions will be: "What do you see? What colors are prominent? Are there any women, children or African Americans? What do you think certain objects felt like? What did the weather feel like on your skin? The questions will vary depending on the reproductions shown. The students will later be able to write their observations and look at their findings as a group. This will prepare them for the actual tours that will be planned at the Yale Art Gallery and or the British Art Center.