Category Archives: Arts

Artist Sargy Mann: Making Paintings Without Sight

“In the last weeks of his life, the artist Sargy Mann began writing about his extraordinary career as a blind painter. The last 10 years of his life, after his eyesight had failed completely, were paradoxically his most successful – his final exhibition opened in London this week, two months after his death. Here he reflects on the nature of perception and the visual experiences that continue after the loss of sight.” BBC

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Artist Sargy Mann

Artist Sargy Mann

Excerpt: Sargy Mann: How a blind painter sees-BBC

“…In October 1979 a retinal detachment rendered me quite blind in my right eye and then, shortly afterwards, the retina in my left eye detached. Throughout the 1980s I had numerous operations in my seeing left eye, always leaving me with less sight, worse sight, but – and this was what interested me – changed sight, so that after each convalescence, I had to learn again to see the world and to try to paint it.

Blind Artist Sargy Mann.

Blind Artist Sargy Mann.

In 1989, the eye hospital registered me blind, not partially sighted, but blind. I, on the other hand, on two or more occasions, went into the hospital announcing that I had located a tiny hole or tear in the extreme periphery of my retina.

Sargy Mann painting- Bristol Rooftops

Sargy Mann painting- Bristol Rooftops

In May 1990 we moved from London to Suffolk and I almost entirely gave up oil painting from direct observation. I simply couldn’t see and understand enough. Instead I painted, often on large 6ft-wide canvases, from short-term memory and tape recordings that I had made while looking at my subject, and asking questions of whoever might be around at the time.

Painter Sargy Mann recording of the subject on a dictaphone. Photo- BBC

Painter Sargy Mann recording of the subject on a dictaphone. Photo- BBC

Listening to my recording, brush in hand, in front of the painting, these two ways of looking resulted in very different marks on the painting…

Sargy Mann painting. cadogancontemporary.com

Sargy Mann painting. cadogancontemporary.com

Painter Sargy Mann (29 May 1937 – 5 April 2015)

Painter Sargy Mann (29 May 1937 – 5 April 2015)

Of course, I would never have chosen to become a blind painter but I have been thrilled to discover that I can make paintings without sight, and that this activity is far more like a continuation of my painting experience than I could possibly have imagined.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Mann had cataract extractions in both eyes.
  2. He discovered an astonishingly beautiful world.
  3. The memory stayed as a sort of talisman.
  4. Mann became interested in the anatomy of the eye.
  5. The ophthalmologists  were helpful.
  6. They cut away a lot of his iris.
  7. His brain adjusted to the much brighter level of ambient light.
  8. He never looked at the painting through the telescope.
  9. The painting looked extraordinary.
  10. There was two different ways of perceiving the art.
Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. Mr. Mann had  a retinal detachment in October 2006.
  2. At age 35, he  had cataract extractions in both eyes.
  3. According to Mann, the only comparable experience was one involving  a car accident that  he had.
  4. In 2008 Mann  had  his first first one-man show.
  5. In 2004  the eye hospital registered him blind.
  6. Mann has three children who also paint.
  7. Mann had numerous operations throughout the 1700s.
  8. Terry Raybould was a painter friend.
  9. Mann’s final exhibition opened in Russia.
  10. Mann  painted  from short-term memory and tape recordings.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. After one operation they cut away a lot of my iris.
  2. To began with I had to paint wearing dark glasses.
  3. I learned to adjust for different levels of ambient light.

II

  1. I had my first one-man show.
  2. I  had always preferred painting on bright light.
  3. I went to Portugal and southern India.

III

  1. I worked only through the telescope.
  2. I had occasionally used photomontages before.
  3. I had another exhibition, which also gone well.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

1. The following  two statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“Reasonably enough, people always want to know how I arrive at the color in my paintings when I can’t see at all. It is worth mentioning here that most people, I think, dream in full and perfect color. I certainly do, and when one is asleep one is perceptually blind, so the brain can do it – though God knows how.”

“I can imagine colour and colour combinations pretty well and I wonder, is it so very different from a composer or arranger of music working on manuscript paper… I cover the whole canvas from my imaginings, and my knowledge of my pigments and how they look in different combinations.”

Visual Creations Activity

Directions: Have students close their eyes and see if they can recreate various  paintings from memory. Have an art exhibit to show off each painting!

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about Sargy Mann from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Arts | Tags:

Frida Kahlo: The Original Selfie

“She was a genius…an ace manipulator of society and media nearly a century before social media came into existence. Born in 1907, dead at 47, Frida Kahlo achieved celebrity even in her brief lifetime that extended far beyond Mexico’s borders, although nothing like the cult status that would eventually make her the mother of the selfie, her indelible image recognizable everywhere.” G. Trebay, NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Frida Kahlo-July 6 1907-July 13 1954

Frida Kahlo-July 6 1907-July 13 1954

Excerpt: Frida Kahlo Is Having a Moment by Guy Trebay,NYT

“Yet, despite the many biographies, documentaries and biopics, there remains much to learn about this often misunderstood artist… a proto-feminist who invested her art with an autobiography filled with struggle and pain. She was also an ardent Communist who sometimes fudged her date of birth to align with the start of the Mexican Revolution…In a welcome though unexpected convergence, an array of new books and exhibitions about Kahlo have suddenly appeared this spring, adding insight and depth to our understanding of a woman who would seem among the most overexposed artistic figures of all time.

Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo.

Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo.

While it seems clear that artists like Tracey Emin have fallen under the influence of her audacious self-disclosures; that designers — like Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier — have drawn inspiration from her style; and that entertainers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé shrewdly adapted the lessons pioneered by a publicity-friendly solipsist who anticipated the Instagram era by many decades, Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma. In Mirror, Mirror, a portrait-survey that opens this month at Throckmorton Fine Art in Manhattan, Kahlo is revealed to have been an image wizard… Frida did not miss an opportunity to be photographed by anyone and everyone, said Norberto Rivera, the photography director at the gallery.

Kahlo painting portrait. Credit:rebelarte.livejournal

Kahlo painting portrait. Credit:rebelarte.livejournal

She created this image to hide the pain, referring to the lifelong aftereffects of severe injuries Kahlo suffered in a streetcar accident when she was 18. In under two decades, aided by a well-regarded biography and asoapy biopic, Kahlo had undergone transformation from a compelling cult figure to a universally recognized symbol of artistic triumph and feminist struggle. Somehow along the way she also became a centerpiece of a kitsch marketing bonanza.

Frida Kahlo-Self-Portrait 1930.

Frida Kahlo-Self-Portrait 1930.

The Fridamania that elevated Kahlo to near-mythic dimensions also transformed her — brooding gaze, elaborate Tehuana coiffures, signature mono-brow — into an image emblazoned on sneakers, T-shirts, tote bags, coasters, cosmetics, even tequila and beer. Unlike Che Guevara, who when he became a T-shirt and a poster was scarcely identifiable as the leader of the Cuban revolution… Frida Kahlo remains Frida Kahlo… there is little doubt Kahlo continues to exist as a potent figure of myth.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Frida Kahlo.  Next, have students look at the pictures and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Despite the many biopics, kahlo is misunderstood.
  2. She was also an ardent Communist.
  3. She fudged her date of birth to align with the start of the Mexican Revolution.
  4. An array of new books about Kahlo have suddenly appeared.
  5. Artists have fallen under the influence of her audacious self-disclosures.
  6. Kahlo was a publicity-friendly solipsist.
  7. Kahlo anticipated the Instagram era.
  8. Kahlo suffered severe injuries a streetcar accident.
  9. The self-portraits unsparingly depict her physical travails.
  10. “Fridamania shows no signs of relenting.
ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Fine/find catalogs accompany/accompanying each exhibition/exhibit add to an ever-expanding Kahlo literary/library, and yet in certain ways it is the newly published “Frida Kahlo: The Gisèle Freund Photographs,” that offers/off the most intimidate/intimate insights into her life and working process/progress. Its 100 rave/rare images document/documents a friendship that the Magnum photographer conduct/conducted with the couple in the last years/yearly before Kahlo’s death; both Kahlo and Rivera shine forth/fourth from these domestic images.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Yet, despite the many biography there remains much to learn about this artist.
  2. She was an ardent Communist.
  3. Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier  have drawn inspiration from her style.

II

  1. Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma.
  2. Kahlo is revealed to have been an image wizard.
  3. Frida Kahlo’s fame is extensive.

III

  1. Another Kahlo painting was featured on a cover of a Sotheby’s catalog.
  2. This portrait, of the artist with a parrot and a monkey, sold for more than $3 million.
  3. Fridamania show no signs of relenting.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

Directions:  Have students use this graphic organizer from Enchanted Learning  to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

WH-organizer from Enchanted Learning.

WH-organizer from Enchanted Learning.

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

1. The following  statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“…entertainers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé shrewdly adapted the lessons pioneered by a publicity-friendly solipsist who anticipated the Instagram era by many decades, Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma.”

“In under two decades, aided by a well-regarded biography and asoapy biopic, Kahlo had undergone transformation from a compelling cult figure to a universally recognized symbol of artistic triumph and feminist struggle. Somehow along the way she also became a centerpiece of a kitsch marketing bonanza.”

“I remember buying as a gift Frida Kahlo Converse sneakers at 10 Corso Como,” said Robert Burke, a luxury consultant, referring to the high-end Milanese retailer. Though that was fun and good, there’s only a certain amount of times an image can be used before it starts to fatigue and degrade.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Arts | Tags:

Georgia O’Keeffe: “The Grey Lady of New Mexico”

 November 15, of this year marked Georgia O’keeffe’s 125th birthday.  She was born Nov.15, 1887  in Wisconsin, and died in 1986 in New Mexico. The desert environment where she lived inspired many of her colorful paintings. Note:  The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum will present “Georgia O’Keeffe and The Faraway: Nature and Image,”  This exhibit will run from May 11, 2012 – May 5, 2013. For further Information…

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post With Answer Key.

Georgia O'Keeffe on the roof of her Ghost Ranch home in New Mexico, 1967.  John Loengard—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images

Georgia O’Keeffe on the roof of her Ghost Ranch home in New Mexico, 1967. John Loengard—Time & Life Pictures:Getty Images

Excerpt: Georgia O’ Keeffe: Invincible By Ben Cosgrove, Editor of LIFE Magazine

“Very few major American artists have ever been as productive, for so long, in so many mediums, as Georgia O’Keeffe was during her extraordinary career… Here, on what would have been her 125th birthday (she was born Nov. 15, 1887, in Wisconsin and died in 1986, at 98, in New Mexico),

“Red Poppy”, Oil on canvas, 1927, Georgia O’Keefe. American Masters.

LIFE.com looks at a single photograph — John Loengard’s astonishing 1967 portrait of the artist as an old woman — that somehow manages to suggest, in one frame, Georgia O’Keeffe’s willful isolation… Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture — made on the roof of O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home in northern New Mexico — is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Squash Blossoms 1. WikiPaintings.

Framed against the sky and desert, seated before a chimney that feels, in its simplicity, almost totemic…as much a part of the severe Western landscape as the rocks, sand and sagebrush that surrounded her. She might have been sitting there for an hour, or for a thousand years…

Georgia O’Keeffe, Sunrise. WikiPaintings.

The Whitney’s colorful show puts aside the Georgia O’Keeffe we know best — the Gray Lady of New Mexico — to retrieve an O’Keeffe we ought to know better…

Georgia O’Keeffe, Purple Petunias. WikiPaintings.

Her taut vertical thunderbolts and giant crests of rainbow colors are like campaign banners being unfurled by an artist who has set herself — and the art of painting — entirely free.” Read more…

Georgia O’Keeffe with painting. Photo-American Masters

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective:  Students will read the article with a focus on reading comprehension and new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

 Prediction

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the post, and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.  Have students use the pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.

II. While Reading Tasks

  •  Vocabulary

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word.

  1. Very few major American artists have ever been as productive, for so long, in so many mediums, as Georgia O’Keeffe…
  2. O’Keeffe’s life seemingly encompassed not mere decades, but ages…
  3. So much of her work… is so distinctive
  4. …a single photograph- John Loengard’s astonishing 1967 portrait…
  5. Georgia O’Keeffe’s willful isolation
  6. Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture… is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure.
  7. Framed against the sky and desert…that feels, in its simplicity, almost totemic
  8. LIFE devoted more than a dozen pages to the artist…
  9. Whether emphatically realistic or starkly abstract… these works distill…  something of her strong, adventurous spirit.
  10. Freedom — from cliché… from the expected and the tame — has always been the aim…of the greatest artists.
  • Reading Comprehension

True / False

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if  a statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1. O’Keeffe had drawings as early as 1916.
  2. In the 1920s many of her later works were inspired by the natural beauty of Mexico.
  3. Georgia O’Keeffe was born during the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (1887).
  4. O’Keeffe relied on others to guide her visions of art.
  5. This year marks her 125th birthday.
  6. She was born in Washington.
  7. John Lennon photographed her in 1967.
  8. The photo was taken on the veranda of her home in New Mexico.
  9. In a March 1968 cover story, this photo was on the cover of Life.
  10. The Whitney’s colorful show puts aside the Georgia O’Keeffe we know best — the Gray Lady of New Mexico.

•  Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech 

Directions:  In groups, students aretoidentify the adjectives in the following paragraphs. Then they are to use these terms along with words from other parts of speech to create their own paragraphs about art.  After, have each group share their stories with the class.

“Loengard’s striking, unforgettable picture — made on the roof of O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch home in northern New Mexico — is far more than just a study, or a sketch, of a formidable figure. Framed against the sky and desert, seated before a chimney that feels, in its simplicity, almosttotemic… O’Keeffe seems carved into the photograph, as much a part of the severe Western landscape as the rocks, sand and sagebrush that surrounded her. She might have been sitting there for an hour, or for a thousand years…”

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

 

• Reading Comprehension Check

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

Directions:  Have students use this colorful graphic organizer from Enchanted Learning  to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

 

  • Discussion /Writing Tasks

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can choose to write an essay on one of the topics.

  1. Why is there such a contrast between the photo of O’keeffe, and her colorful paintings?
  2. With your group members, discuss what you think is going on in the photograph of O’keeffe.
  3. For example, what do you think O’keeffe was thinking about? How long had she been sitting there?
  4. Why do you think she was given the title “Gray Lady”
  5. With your members draw a picture of a flower similar to that of O’keeffe’s paintings. Have a contest to see which group’s picture  came the closest to O’keeffe’s.

IV. Listening Activity   

Video: Georgia O’keeffe A Life In Art

Artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986).Photo: Encyclopedia of World Biography.

“The American painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) developed a distinctive art form that includes startling details of plant forms, bleached bones, and landscapes of the New Mexico desert—all created with natural clarity.” Read more…

http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ni-Pe/O-Keeffe-Georgia.html#b

Pre-listening 

Listening for New Vocabulary or New Terms

Directions: Here is a list of words from the video. Have students find the meanings before they listen to the video. As they listen to the video, have students check off the new words that they hear.

indelibly, transformed, torrent, adobe, modernism, dimension, abstract.

  • While Listening Tasks

True  /False statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video.  As students listen to the video if  a statement is true they mark it if the statement is  false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer.

Note to teachers: This is a 15 minute video.  The questions cover only the first 10 minutes.

According to the narrator:

  1.  This is O’keefe country.  The  Land the painter  Gorgia  O’keefe made indelibly  her  own.
  2. Southern  New Mexico  transformed  the artists’s work   and changed  her life.
  3. That first summer in  New Mexico resulted in a torrent of  new paintings, that continued unabated for decades.
  4. In 1924  O’keeffe discovered the spectacular beauty of an areas known as Ghost Ranch, North of Santa Fe.
  5. For more than 50 years she spent every summer and fall in this adobe house she owned.
  6. New Mexico didn’t provide  O’keefee the privacy and solitude that were essential to her.
  7. In  O’keedff’s  native Wisconsin where she first made art, nature was her subject.
  8. When she first started painting in New York,  O’keeffe could imitate the work of other artists, but she wanted to paint in her own way.
  9. In 1915 O’keefe  began a series of abstract  experimental  paintings.
  10.  She  never had doubts about her new -style of painting.
  11. In July 1918  O’keefe went to paint in New York.
  12. Between 1918 and 1923 O’keefee created some of the most original  and significant abstractions of  American modernism.
  13. Her large-scale flowers added a new dimension  to the tradition of flower painting.
  14.  Whatever O’keefe painted  It was her fusion of the abstract and  real that gave solidity and strength to her painting.

 

Post-Listening Tasks

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal opinion of Georgia O’keeffe changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion of her.

2.  With your group members, make up a list of questions that you would like to ask  O’keeffe.

Related

Georgia O’keeffe Museum Celebrate 15th Anniversary  “The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is delighted to present “Georgia O’Keeffe and The Faraway: Nature and Image,”  This exhibit will run from May 11, 2012 – May 5, 2013. For further Information…


Thank you for using this lesson plan.

Please come back again.

 

Category: Arts | Tags: ,

Becoming Van Gogh

“One of the most beloved artists by the public is Vincent Van Gogh. At any given time in the world, there is a Van Gogh showing. The current one entitled “Becoming van Gogh” is at the Denver Art Museum, until January 20, 2013, and will not travel to any other sites.” T. Loos, NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Self-Portrait With Straw Hat, Wikicommons

Self-Portrait With Straw Hat, Wikicommons

Excerpt: Van Gogh’s Evolution, From Neophyte to Master
By Ted Loos, New York Times

“There are some artists on whom the sun never sets.
Van Gogh is certainly one of them, given his status as an artist beloved by the public and revered by curators, a genius with a compelling, sad life story to boot…
The latest major entry is “Becoming van Gogh” at the Denver Art Museum. The exhibition, featuring 70 works by the master and 20 by other artists who inspired him…The show traces van Gogh’s development through the 1880s from a struggling, inhibited neophyte, represented by works like the drawings “Girl Carrying a Loaf of Bread” (1882), to a painter in full flourish who could make the shimmering “Landscape from Saint-Rémy” (1889)…
But while van Gogh’s reputation virtually guarantees that people will flock to the show, It’s the hardest kind of exhibition to put together, Mr. Standring (the curator who organized the Denver show) said. The trick for curators is twofold. First, they must come up with a fresh angle on an artist who lived to be only 37 and consequently did not produce as many works, as, say, Picasso. Second, they have to secure loans of incredibly valuable artworks from museums that might be reluctant to share…Mr. Standring’s first step was to make a call to Amsterdam. When you plan a van Gogh exhibit, you need to get blessing of the Van Gogh Museum… because of its ability to lend works and share its expertise.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective: Students will read the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views of the artist Van Gogh through discussions, writing, and projects.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

Analyzing Words and Terms

Directions: Teacher writes several words and phrases on the board.  Place students in groups  and review the list of words with them. Then have students place each word in one of the categories listed below. After, they are to write a paragraph explaining what they think the article is about using as many of these words /terms as possible. Have each group share their stories with the class. Visit McGraw-Hill for a slightly different version of the graph. 

New Pre-Reading Organizer

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word. Have students use this wonderful chart from Enchanted Learning to assist them with new vocabulary.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

  1. Van Gogh’s Evolution, From Neophyte to Master.
  2. Van Gogh… given his status as an artist, revered by curators…
  3. Joseph J. Rishel is a curator of European paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  4. The show traces van Gogh’s development through the 1880s from a struggling, inhibited neophyte.
  5. Mr. Standring said he wanted to give nuance to the popular perception of the artist as sui generis.
  6. Van Gogh’s struggles with illness and the artistic flourishing of his last two years.
  7. We all think he’s a genius, but he placed a lot of value on craftsmanship.
  8. The painting was authenticated in 2010, and it was lent to Denver.
  9. That gave us our imprimatur, Mr. Standring said.

Reading Comprehension

True / False

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if  a statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1. Because of his problems, Van Gogh was not really loved by the public. 
  2. There aren’t many van Gogh shows on the horizon.
  3. The van Gogh museum is located in Switzerland .
  4. The name of the latest major entry is “Becoming van Gogh.
  5. The exhibit is being shown at the at the  Colorado Art Museum.
  6. Timothy Standring, is the curator who organized the Denver show.
  7. Mr. Standring’s first step was to make a call to the Philadelphia museum.
  8. For Van gogh’s work, people are generally unfamiliar with anything pre-Sunflowers or pre-Wheatfields…
  9. According to Mr. Van Tilborgh, Van Gogh developed his work by being persistent.
  10. Mr. Standring added that he hoped both shows would deepen an understanding of the artist.

Grammar

Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article (some may be abbreviated versions). One sentence in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error and make the correction.

I.

  1. The latest major entry is “Becoming van Gogh”  on the Denver Art Museum.
  2. The exhibition, features 70 works by the master and 20 by other artists who inspired him.
  3. The exhibition is scheduled to remain on view until Jan. 20 and does not travel to any other sites.

II.

  1. The trick for curators is twofold.
  2. First, they must come up with a fresh angle on a artist who lived to be only 37.
  3. Second, they have to secure loans of incredibly valuable artworks from museums.

III.

  1. Mr. Standring’s first step was to make a call to Amsterdam.
  2. When you plan an van Gogh exhibit, you need to get blessing of the Van Gogh Museum.
  3. A senior researcher there, Mr. Standring laid out an idea for one exhibition.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Discussion/Writing Tasks

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics.

1. The article states, “ There are some artists on whom the sun never sets. Van Gogh is certainly one of them, given his status as an artist beloved by the public…” How would you rephrase this statement into your own words?

2. What does the statement “There’s always a van Gogh show on the horizon, just as there’s always Beethoven being played somewhere,”  mean?

3. Mr. Standring  states, “But while van Gogh’s reputation virtually guarantees that people will flock to the show, “It’s the hardest kind of exhibition to put together”. Why would this type of exhibition be a problem, if Van Gogh is so famous?

4. Go to the site The Van Gogh Gallery  http://www.vangoghgallery.com and choose what you and your group members feel is the best painting by Van Gogh.  Research this painting and write a short paragraph describing the time Van Gogh painted this particular work. For example, his age, where he was living, what inspired him etc.

ANSWER KEY

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