Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8), High School (9–12), Adult Learners
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, ESL
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
1-hour class period
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Language through Art Contents


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Art Vocabulary (PDF, 3MB)

Lesson Overview

This lesson focuses on people at work depicted in a work of art. Students practice using vocabulary related to people and work. Activities emphasize oral and written descriptions of the people portrayed in the work of art, using job-related vocabulary and adjectives to describe feelings. Students are challenged to infer what job individuals are doing, based on such clues as their pose.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• orally respond to questions using the present progressive.
• use adjectives describing feelings.
• use vocabulary related to jobs in complete sentences.

Materials

• Reproduction of Empire State Building, New York by Lewis Wickes Hine
• Reproduction of Three Young Artists in a Studio by Louis-Léopold Boilly
• Information for Teaching about Three Young Artists in a Studio by Louis-Léopold Boilly
• Information for Teaching about Empire State Building, New York by Lewis W. Hine
• Teacher Resource: "Art Vocabulary"
• Student Handout: "Who Am I?"
• Painting, paintbrush, and sketchbook

Lesson Steps

1. Display a reproduction of Empire State Building, New York. Invite students to share what they see in the photograph. Write their responses on the board. Add to the list any relevant new vocabulary, such as rivet, mallet, or overalls. (See the Information for Teaching about Empire State Building, New York by Lewis W. Hine.)

2. Introduce the Art Vocabulary word pose to students. Ask a student to take the pose of the man on the left in the photograph. Point out that the man's pose and clothing and the setting of the photograph provide clues about his job.

3. Write the following sentence frames on the board. Point out that the second sentence uses the present progressive:

•  I am a _____[job]______. I am ______[verb]______ing.

4. Invite the rest of the class to take the pose of the man on the left in the photograph. Ask students the following questions. Note the use of the present progressive and adjectives describing feelings:

  • Who are you? What are you doing? (I am a construction worker. I am working on a building.)
  • How do you feel? (I feel tired. I feel proud.)
  • Why do you feel this way? (I feel this way because I am working hard. I feel this way because I am working on an important building.)

5. Distribute the handout "Who Am I?" Reinforce students' understanding of the present progressive by having them individually fill in the blanks on the handout.

6. Display a reproduction of Three Young Artists in a Studio. Inform students that this is a drawing and provide the definition. Invite students to share what they see in the drawing. Write their responses on the board. Add to the list any relevant new vocabulary, such as canvas, paintbrush, and sketchbook. (See the Information for Teaching about Three Young Artists in a Studio by Louis-Léopold Boilly.)

7. Invite three students to take the poses of the three artists in the drawing. Give the students the painting, paintbrush, and sketchbook that you brought to class, and have the students pose with them. Ask the students who are posing the following questions:

  • Who are you? What are you doing? (I am an artist. I am holding a paintbrush.)
  • How do you feel? (I feel relaxed.)
  • Why do you feel this way? (I feel this way because I am working with people I like.)

8. Ask students which job they would like better—the construction worker or the artist. Why?

9. Tell students they will silently act out a task they do at work or would do in a job they want to have one day. First, model how to act out various tasks (e.g., a cook making a meal, a firefighter putting out a fire). Next, ask student volunteers to silently act out a job and related task. For each task, ask the class to guess what job the student has or wants to have. As the class guesses each job, write the job and its related task on the board.

10. Write the following sentence frames on the board and model how to complete the sentences to simulate a job interview. Then tell students to work in pairs and take turns interviewing each other for the job they have or would like to have. Ask students to fill in the blanks based on the job chosen:

Student #1: I am applying for the _______________ job.

Student #2: What is your name?

Student #1: My name is _______________.

Student #2: Do you know how to _____[verb 1 related to the job]_____?

Student #1: Yes, I know how to _____[verb 1 related to the job]_____?

Student #2: Great! Do you know how to _____[verb 2 related to the job]_____?

Student #1: Yes, I know how to _____[verb 2 related to the job]_____?

Student #2: That's wonderful! When can you start?

Student #1: I can start next _____[day of the week]_____.

Empire State Building/Hine
Empire State Building, New York, Lewis Wickes Hine, 1931

Extensions

  • Have students write a simple help-wanted advertisement for a construction worker or artist.

    Example:
        Construction worker needed. P/T, morning shift 6 a.m.–1 p.m.
        Must be able to lift heavy objects and not be afraid of heights.
        $12.00/hr
        Call Susan at (101) 555-0100

  • Have student pairs create a dialogue based on the help-wanted advertisement. One student will be the employer; the other, an applicant for the job.

    Example:
        Student #1: I saw your help-wanted ad for a construction worker. Is the job
        still open?
        Student #2: Yes, it is.
        Student #1: What are the hours?
        Student #2: The hours are 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.