Let's visit museum! Google Arts & Culture in the class

Image challenge - week eight




Virtual tour? Why not?


Recently, I have seen a great picture showing a typical students' visit in the museum. Unfortunately, it reminded me of my last school trip to Paris. One day was devoted to art and culture so went to the museums. After visiting the first floor of The Orsay Museum my students decided to do this.....




Oh, I was absolutely furious. But then I thought I shouldn't be, as most kinds of Art seem to be neglected at school (Maths will always have a priority) and sometimes it's not presented in an attractive way. Moreover, still a lot of students have no regular access to museums, they hardly ever go to big cities or even if they do, they simply can't afford it. So what can we, language teachers, do about it? Take them on a virtual tour!!! Saves time and money and still can be beneficial.

There is a great website that my new friend from Greece Dimitris Tzouris recently presented, which I'm sure you will find interesting.

Website address: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/  (Google Arts & Culture)

How can we use it in general?

- you can simply take your students on a virtual tour, especially the young ones if they have never been to one
- you can asked them to find particular works of art - they learn art movements
- you can compare and describe various paintings, especially if they are by the same artist and hang next to each other
- thanks to zoom option you can notice and describe the colours, techniques and styles
- finally you can also create your own collection and become a curator
- you can practise art vocabulary: canvas, oil, still life, abstract art, sculpture, water colours etc.


So let's go to the website:

In the backgroud there is always some piece of art, not necessarily painting. When you press it, it enlarges and contains all important information about the painting, the author, technique used and the story behind the photo, which can be used perfectly in the class. You can also zoom the photo and see the details.




ARTISTS

There are lots of sections to choose from. You can look for the paintings searching by an artist. Let's say, we are fans of Van Gogh, then we simply press his icon and learn about him and all his works of art. You can ask your students which painting of their favourite artist they would like to have in their bedoom and why.




TECHNIQUES

Or maybe you want to introduce your students to various painting techniques and search accordingly: oil paintings, water colours, paper metal, wood, pen, sculpture to name but a few. Which technique appeals to your students the most? Have a discussion!



ART MOVEMENTS

Sometimes we can introduce art through investigating some art movements such as street art, modern art, pop art, surrealism art etc. We can ask our students to look through various movements and choose the one the like the best giving reasons.




There are also other categories like historical figures and events or places. All suitable for the class use. You just have to try:)

VIRTUAL TOURS

There are over 2600 virtual tours available. You can visit most museums from the inside. I divide my students into groups and each group gets a different museum to discover. I always choose some of my favourite ones and give certain tasks such as:

What is the admission fee? (introducing vocabulary at the same time)
What are the opening hours?
How many floors are there?
Is there a souvenir shop?
Is there a cafe?
When can you visit the museum for free? (we all know that there are some days or hours when you can visit a certain museum for free, it's good to make students aware of that) etc.

Then, of course, detailed questioned follow. for example, find a certain painting and tell me who painted it. then you can ask them to go to the artist section and read facts about the author and finally ask what art movement it belongs to. There are plenty of combinations to use art in the class.

This is just an introduction to the topic of art. Soon a ready to use lesson plan. Hope you will find it as enjoyable as I did.


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