Una imagen vale mil palabras: Using Hispanic Art with Novice Learners of Spanish

Matthew Kelly, Spanish, Independence High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


In the World Languages curriculum used by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, we make heavy use of visual cues, from introducing target vocabulary to formal assessment. Fine arts are addressed in the state standards for World Languages but we have very little in the way of shared curricular materials in the introductory levels. I propose to build a series of activities using works of selected artists’ representative of different regions and periods that will not only meet the need for visual cues for teaching basic vocabulary but that will also serve as anchor points to elevate students’ overall schema for understanding the historical and geographic breadth of Hispanic cultures. Authentic, culturally significant art representative of Spanish-speaking cultures will provide students with inspiration for a variety of productive and interpretive language activities. Along the way, we will explore best practices for using visual cues generally and fine arts specifically in the World Languages classroom.