Most of us living in Europe haven’t seen much snow on the ground yet, and it is very unlikely that our readers in warmer climates will see any at all. So let’s invite the magic of winter into our classrooms by introducing some winter-inspired artwork into the classroom.
Why do it?
To activate our students’ imagination and create a natural context for introducing new language and starting simple discussion.
How to do it?
For more advanced students use the artwork to create a context for 15-minute classroom discussions or situational role plays, for lower level groups introduce simple picture description, or present new vocabulary. There are several resource book and course book activities which provide skill-focused and picture-based language practice. You can also create you own activities. For ideas, read our blog posts about using illustrations:
- Using the illustrations in graded readers – visualization
- Using the illustrations in graded readers – practical ideas and activities
- UNESCO Arts Education Week 2014: Bring the Arts to Your School!
What resources are available?
We recommend you explore three main resources.
You can visit the websites of famous museums (even better if you can take your classes to the museum).
1 One of the most comprehensive websites to start your winter journey is the Google Art Project developed by the Google Cultural Institute. Do a simple keyword seach for ‘winter’ and you will find lots of excellent works of art to choose from.
2 Visit the Web Gallery of Art, a virtual museum and searchable database of Western Europen fine arts collections.
3 If you are looking for activities and games written by museum educators, go directly to individual museum websites for excellent resources written by professional educators. Look for the Education or Learning menu options on the Home pages of these websites, and remember the search the artworks by keyword, title of subject. Here is our top five list:
- TATE (Check out TATE KIDS)
- The National Gallery in London
- The Guggenheim Museums
- The Getty Museum
Use our winter-inspired illustrated readers.
- Food for the Winter by Rick Sampedro
- A Christmas Present for Barney Bunny by Maria Cleary
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- White Fang by Jack London
- The Kingdom of the Snow Leopard by Elspeth Rawstron
- Mystery at the Mill by Elspeth Rawstron
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London
DO CREATIVE COURSE BOOK ACTIVITIES
Browse your course books and resource books for picture-based activities. If they don’t feature any suitable artwork, go online for visual support and inspiration for the activity.
- On page 26 of SURE Pre-intemediate, you will find an activity based on Pieter Bruegel’s famous painting, Hunters in the Snow.
- If you would like to find out more about this painting, go to an excellent educational resource page, Smarthistory where you will find a collection of art history videos. Watch this 5-minute video about the painting and then do the activity with your students.