Upper School Students Create Own Versions of Spanish Art

Khadijah Luqman’s Level 4 Spanish students learned about famous Hispanic artists through hands-on creations.

When Upper School Spanish teacher Khadijah Luqman asked her Level 4 students what all they knew about famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, they didn’t have much to say.

Now, after doing a hands-on project in the Upper School Library’s makerspace, the students have a solid knowledge of Kahlo as well as a dozen other significant Hispanic artists.

To give her students a big picture understanding of Spanish artwork before they focused exclusively on the life and art style of Kahlo, Mrs. Luqman put her students into groups and assigned each of them an artist. The group not only had to study the artist’s signature style and significant pieces, they also had to create a physical product that they would use to teach the class (while speaking Spanish, of course).

“I feel that you learn best when you teach others, so I wanted the students to share what they learned with the rest of class to spread knowledge around the whole group,” she said.

To outline the parameters of the project, Mrs. Luqman worked with Middle and Upper School Librarian Annie Cizenski, who guided the class in using the library’s makerspace. Students were told to use their imaginations when it come to their products: one group that had Spanish artist Pablo Picasso chose to create a game in which participants had to race to put together one of Picasso’s famous cubist paintings in the correct format. Another group that had Colombian artist Fernando Botero instructed their classmates to use clay to make their own sculptures in Botero’s large, exaggerated style of representing the human body.

The groups also created a poster and did a formal presentation in front of the rest of class—Mrs. Cizenski assisted the students in learning how to correctly cite artwork. Lastly, the groups came together to create a class mural that reflected on major problems facing society, using their own artwork.

“I think this format of instruction made the subjects and the larger themes much more real—they are now more quickly able to identify an artist’s work, which is something that will serve them well in the future,” Mrs. Luqman said. “Art isn’t so removed from them now—they feel much closer to it, and I think the confidence it’s given them is a great gift.”

 

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