Monday, May 21, 2012

Arte como Terápia para Estudiantes con Necesidades Educativas Especiales

Tomorrow is the big day for seniors at my school - Senior Project Presentation Day!  The seniors have worked all year researching, writing up their findings, creating a product of learning, and tomorrow they do the presentations of their findings in front of a panel of four judges.  We will all be at school into the evening hours watching the presentations and judging who passes and who does not.  (Hopefully we won't have anyone in that second category this year.)

A few of the students have been researching topics related to foreign language, language acquisition, and even second language acquisition.  But I have none of that to share with you today, sadly.  However, one student published a video about using the arts as a means to reach special needs students as the product portion of his project.  I watched it and it was both professional and thought-provoking.  It makes me wonder how I could incorporate more creative instruction in my lessons.

Spanish ties in nicely with the arts, as I'm sure anyone reading here already knows.  Teaching the culture through the art is a no-brainer.  But there are ways that even something as mundane as vocabulary can be studied via art
  • Draw a little picture depicting each of these vocabulary terms
  • Take this clay and sculpt one of the vocabulary terms and see if your partner can guess what it is
  • Make a slide show with pictures you find that bring these terms to mind
  • Write a song or a chant in Spanish using these words
  • Do charades with the vocabulary and let us guess what you are acting out  
  • Choose a term on the list and make a sidewalk drawing depicting the word in a creative way and later we will take a gallery walk and learn our words as we stroll by and enjoy the art
And I imagine I could go on for quite awhile like that.  The good news is that these activities are the sorts that engage right-brain thinkers and kids who get bored with typical instruction.  These are the kinds of things that make students say, "We did something fun in Spanish today."  My younger colleagues would criticize and say that the above activities are not communicative . . . but, I'm not a slave to the doctrine of communicative instruction.  It doesn't necessarily meet the needs of the average high school student - but that is a topic for another day.

Go watch the video if you can; this student is trying to get a thousand hits before his presentation tomorrow.  I know that would make his day.

Hasta pronto,



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