KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART: VINCENT VAN GOGH


Your students are going to love the activities in this eBook!

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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on MONET


Monet is the quintessential Impressionist artist. His paintings sell for millions of dollars today. He is one of the most beloved artists in history and enjoyed a long and productive life, spanning almost 90 years. You will not find many people who do not like his paintings. Maybe because most of them were painted in plein air or open air, the outdoors, and not confined to dark studios, a new characteristic adopted by  some artists as of the 1870s. This new way of painting was facilitated  by the easiness of transportation provided by the steam vapor trains, the more easily to carry easels and the new paints bought in the recently-fabricated screw-top collapsible tubes.

These points I listed below summarize the life and work of one of the greatest artists the Western Culture has ever produced. You can read and possibly quote from them to sound more knowleageble and sophisticated at the next dinner party you attended, if, despite loving Monet’s ouvre like most people, you don’t know much about him.

1, He was born as Claude Oscar Monet on 14 November 1840 in Paris, but spent most of his childhood on the northern coast of France, Le Havre, where his family had moved to in his early infancy.

2. He was utterly bored in the traditional school and spent most of the time drawing caricatures of his teachers and other well-known people in the town. His caricatures became very popular and he started selling them at local store, being able to earn a living very early in life.

3. He happened to meet a plein air landscape painter, Boudin, who practically became his coach and mentor, developing in Monet the taste for painting seascapes and landscapes, observing the fleeting reflections of the sunlight in the sea water, trees and leaves. After his apprenticeship with Boudin, it was hard for Monet to be happy painting or copying famous works of art as a trainee confined in the crowded rooms of museums and art galleries. His painting was all about vibrant colors, vivid scenes, ordinary people often seen at a distance, the effects of light at different times of day and in different seasons upon the same objects. An obsession for water and its innumerable ways of being represented on canvas. Monet wanted to paint contemporary life the way it appeared to him.

Beach at Honfleur by Monet, Claude. 1864

Beach at Honfleur by Monet, Claude. 1864

4. Monet was sent by his parents to the Acadeémie Suisse in Paris, whose flexibility and respect for the individual idissioncrasies of the students resonated with Monet’s personality. Soon afterwards he was called up for military service, though,  and served with the armies in Algeria. He claims that the exposure to the light and motifs in Africa had a great influence on his style of painting. He did not stay long in the army however. Family influence and health problems allowed him to be discharged after two years.

5. Back to school in Paris, he started as an apprentice in the studio of Charles Gleyre in 1862, where he was lucky to meet what was to compose the core of the impressionist group of painters in the future: Renoir, Sisley and Bazille. They became inseparable friends, spending a lot of time painting together outside of Paris in the forest of Fontainebleau.

6. It was very difficult for this wave of new painters to have their works accepted by the conservative official artistic exhibition in Paris, the Salón,  held ever year at the Académie des Beux-Ar, which attracted thousands of visitors. The Salón favored more traditional works of art, with perfect finishes, depicting usually historical, mythological or religious subjects. Those paintings, done in dark colors, replicated the techniques known since the Renaisssance and covered the walls from ceiling to floor.

Dejeuner sur l'Herbe, Chailly by Monet, Claude. 1865

Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, Chailly by Monet, Claude. 1865

7.  Despite having a few works accepted at the Salón, such as the Woman in the Green Dress, inspired by the woman he loved and lived with at the time, Camille Doncieux, who posed for it, Monet and his friends had most of his works refused by the Salón, which led them eventually to create their own exhibitions.

Camille (The Woman in the Green Dress) by Monet, Claude. 1866

Camille (The Woman in the Green Dress) by Monet, Claude. 1866

8. To escape the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Monet, already married to Camille and with a son, moved to London, living there for some time and returning via Holland.  Many of his works were painted in these countries,  where he was heavily influenced by the contact with the works of Turner and Constable.

9. In 1874, the group of new artists decided to produce the first of their own parallel exhibitions, which, ridiculed  at the beginning and  attracting very few attendants, was ferociously attacked by the art critics. A famous art critic involuntarily named the movement IMPRESSIONISM, when making derisive comments about a Monet’s painting titled Impression: Sunrise, which showed a simple blotch of red color representing the sun hovering over the sea and casting its reflections on the water for the delight of a few early fishermen in a couple of boats. The artists of the movement did not not take the critic seriously and started using the name for their style, as they had enjoyed what was meant as an insult. The exhibition grew every year, being repeated 8 times over the course of the next 12 years. As times moved on, the eyes and minds of the viewers, influenced by the increasing praise of art critics, began to appreciate and accept the new artistic movement.

Impression, soleil levant (Impression: Sunrise) by Monet, Claude. 1872

Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) by Monet, Claude. 1872

10. Around 1990 Monet started developing his famous series paintings: featuring haystacks, poplars, the cathedral of Rouen and the famous water lilies, which he showed in a number of sequential cavasses, many of them painted one after the other, with the artist moving from one canvas to the next, arranged in a row in the fields, so that he could capture the slight variations of the effects of the changing light on the subjects, as the sun moved in the sky. He would work on them in a sequence of consecutive days.

11. A heavy smoker, Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 in his house in  Giverny in 1926,  where he had created a wonderful garden and a pond in the grounds of the property, which he began to use as the main topics of his latest paintings. He lived a full, long, productive and recognized artistic life. His house and garden in Giverny are famous and popular turistic sites in today’s France.

For those of you who are English Teachers and love Monet and art in general, we offer a wonderful collection of didactic eBooks for the students to practice vocabulary, speaking and writing, based on the works of famous painters: TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART. The series is comprised of 5 books so far, and features works by Matisse, Picasso, Caravaggio, Monet and Norman Rockwell. For further information on how to download the materials, please click here: http://wp.me/p4gEKJ-1lS

Check this brief video on the material on TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART: MONET:

Hope you enjoy the ebooks. Give us your feedback by rating them on Amazon.com or by writing some feedback in the comments section of this blog post.

Au revoir.

Jorge Sette.

OUR BLOG “LINGUAGEM” HAS HAD A GREAT FIRST YEAR!


HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE.

Please find below some official stats sent by wordpress.com on the blog LINGUAGEM. We’ve had a great first year. Thanks for the support and we will back stronger than ever in 2015.

BLOG LINGUAGEM: 2014 official stats

BLOG LINGUAGEM: 2014 official stats

 

 

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Au revoir

Jorge Sette.

Sample activities from the eBook TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART: PICASSO


Image 2: Acrobat on a Ball. 1905

Acrobat on a ball, Picasso

Acrobat on a ball, Picasso

Activity 4: speaking. Level A1/A2

  1. Describe the picture. What’s the predominant color?
  2. This is a painting from Picasso’s Rose Period (1904-1906). Everything is kind of pinkish. How was Picasso feeling during this period? Why do you think so?
  3. What does the color pink remind you of?
  4. Who are those people? What’s their relationship? Where do they work?
  5. The girl can stand on a ball. This is difficult to do. What else do you think she can do? Can you do anything difficult? What?

 

Activity 5: speaking. Level A2

  1. What’s this girl like? Tell us about her personality. What about the man?
  2. Describe the girl physically. Now describe the man.
  3. What do you think she likes doing in her free time? What do you like doing in your free time?
  4. Do you like the circus? What do you usually see in the circus?
  5. Pair work: students are divided into A and B. Student A lists the positive points of a circus. Student B disagrees and says why.
  6. Make a poster of a circus (a drawing or a collage or both) and present it to the class.

Activity 6: writing. Level B1/B2

  1. Write a composition imagining what your life would be like if you worked for a circus. Tell us about your job. What you usually do. The different kinds of people you work with. Do your relatives work there too? Who? (Do some research on the Internet to find out what kind of life circus people live. Use your own words in the composition. 400 – 700 words).
  2. Read your partner’s composition. Help her correct some mistakes and ask questions to help her write a more complete and better composition. Then ask her to help you with yours.

For more info about the series TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART: Click on the link below to go to AMAZON.COM and get your ebooks: http://wp.me/p4gEKJ-1lS

Click on the image above to access the KINDLE STORE: Teaching English with Art: Matisse, Picasso, Caravaggio, Monet, Norman Rockwell

Click on the image above to access the KINDLE STORE. Teaching English with Art: Matisse, Picasso, Caravaggio, Monet, Norman Rockwell

Au revoir Jorge Sette

Pablo Picasso: a revolution in the visual arts


The key words to define the creative output of Picasso, one of the most famous artists in history – and whose art involves not only paintings, but drawings, sculptures, collages and pottery – are, among others: cubist, revolutionary, shocking, free, provocative, sinful, decadent, unique, striking, wonderful. Ahead of its time, as the work of most great artistic minds, it took time for his more innovative art to be understood and appreciated by the general public.

Picasso has become a brand. The influence of his work has gone way beyond art to touch the fashion industry, the automobile industry, architecture and design in all corners of the world for the last 70 years or so. Together with his close friend and rival, Matisse, Picasso is considered the greatest artist of the 20th century.

The Tragedy, 1903

The Tragedy, 1903

The art of Picasso and Matisse were always in constant dialogue. They were always paying close attention to each other’s developing work, copying and referencing motifs and vocabulary to advance their own pieces. However, this copying was always subject to a digestive process, where the opponent’s innovations and techniques were appropriated and personalized, coming out as distinctive and original manifestations, when they finally showed up in the rival’s work.

Unlike Matisse, however, whose work does not spell out clearly its relation with his personal life, Picasso’s works reflect a life well lived: his passions, his womanizing, his contradictions, his lovers, his wives, his friends, his loneliness, his unorthodox and bohemian life style are all reflected in his art.

If he chose, Picasso could easily paint and draw in a more classic way, in the vein of the masters of more traditional art, as his early works attest. However, he thought that, in an age in which photography and film took over the job of representing reality as it is, the objective of the artist was to push the envelop, going way beyond the mere copying of the world as one sees it. Besides, Picasso had a very clear notion of the arbitrariness of the various signs of representation from his own life experience: he was a Spanish national who lived in France for most of his life without ever dominating completely the local language. It’s speculated that this factor played a huge role in his liberation from rigid patterns of realistic representation of the external world.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907

By working mainly at night and usually painting directly from his imagination, without models, Picasso struggled and succeeded in exploring the inner life of things and people. He expressed in his work the way he felt about people, he let their personalities and attitudes manifest themselves through his masterpieces. He distorted and played with the objects of everyday life to make them convey aspects we are not used to noticing. He depicted reality in totally new ways by mixing styles, flattening perspectives, and thus confounding and broadening the viewer’s perception, painting the same scene as seen simultaneously from different angles.

But his work goes way beyond the mere exploration of his personal life and the attempt to exorcise his inner demons. He grew to express the whole dark atmosphere of the 20th century, the bloodiest period in human history, in some of his most violent and impactful productions – such as the painting Guernica, which conveys, in horrific and stylized detail, the violence of war and its effects on innocent people.

The lasting influence of this great artist will still be felt in many years to come.

Guernica, 1937

Guernica, 1937

 

 

NOTE: You might want to check out our eBooks series  available  from AMAZON.COM, TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART, please click here:  http://wp.me/p4gEKJ-1lS

Teaching English with Art

Teaching English with Art

Au revoir

Jorge Sette

 

 

 

 

How to improve language learning materials


Having just watched the wonderful documentary Africa on Netflix, I realized it’s both worrying and marvelous to find out how little I know about my own planet. The advantage is this means I will be learning until I die. No chance of running out of subjects. Besides, I don’t even need to be concerned about getting to quantum physics or the theory of relativity, which I’m sure would exert a brutal amount of effort on my limited brain: there’s much more basic stuff for me to absorb and immerse myself into before crossing the great divide.

How wonderful learning is. Especially with the tools we have today: millions of video clips on YouTube, Khan Academy lessons , all the info available on Google, MOOCs, all the ebooks you can instantly download from the Internet for next to nothing, blogs on all kinds of topics, apps, podcasts, to say nothing of the huge amounts of info shared by your friends on social media sites (including the cute cat videos!).

Knowledge Is Power by Rockwell, Norman

Knowledge Is Power by Rockwell, Norman

It saddens me that today’s kids will take all this wealth of knowledge and its tools for granted, and many times will prefer to settle for the silliest and most irrelevant games on the Internet. I consider myself lucky to live in this exciting era where we have all this info at our fingertips. All this change has been happening in the last 25 years and it’s hard to believe how different life was in the 1980s. It’s a blessing that those who want to self-educate and choose their own paths through the intricate jungle of information are able to do so. Of course, guides (teachers, tutors, mentors, collaborators) will always be helpful, but it’s liberating to know you can discard them and plan your own journey of discovery if you wish to.

Considering all these tools available, I started thinking what it is that language learning materials are lacking and how these new tools could help us, publishers and teachers, improve them. I have been in this field for more than 20 years now and it’s undeniable that books and other didactic materials evolved a lot throughout these years. However, they are progressively going in the same direction, looking more and more like one another, to the extent of becoming almost a commodity. You can’t tell significant differences between them on the shelves of a bookstore.

One of the main things that print course books cannot do is personalize the lesson to the extent it should be done to meet the different students’ needs, forms of intelligence, learning styles, and paces of language learning. A simple example is a student should be given the right to pick the genre of text he wants to read for the contextualization of the language point he’s been studying. A course book cannot do that. It would make it clunky and extremely expensive to offer in print alternative choices for all the texts they should comprise. An ebook, on the other hand, could offer this variety of choices in a much simpler and affordable way.

A student, now and then, should also be able to choose how to practice the language of the lesson: does he want to follow up doing a writing exercise, a listening comprehension or a reading activity? Does he want to translate a piece of work? Is he allowed to speak to someone from another country through Skype to practice? We can’t offer that range of choices yet in a coordinated and organized way.

Therefore personalization – or lack thereof – is the main problem of print course books or other more traditional materials for language learning. Some digital platforms are already dealing with this. A lot of personalization can be done as homework and be monitored by the teacher through a number of LMSs (learning managing systems) already available. But a lot more is needed. It would be necessary, for instance, to flip the classroom in a radical way, using the time in class for more relevant and interpersonal activities that would be done better involving a real teacher and a group of learners, while the students would deal with the information acquisition on their own time online, outside the classroom.

One More Week Of School And Then by Rockwell, Norma

One More Week Of School And Then by Rockwell, Norma

Moreover, despite the fact that we all agree that language is more effectively learned embedded in content (CLIL – content and language integrated learning), books for children and teenagers do not normally cover the important areas of personal finance, politics, or economy – a growing need in the diverse and complex society they’re entering. I haven’t seen any language books focusing on Emotional Intelligence as part of the curriculum either. If we all agree that teaching through content is the best way for the students to internalize a language, why not offer them this kind of very useful training: recognition of feelings, how to deal with anger, how to negotiate conflict with their classmates, strategies for incorporating diversity, how to delay or postpone gratification? We already teach social values, which is a great step forward, but we don’t focus on interpersonal relationships as content, an area that could be beautifully and effectively covered through language teaching materials.

Cousin Reginald Spells Peloponesus by Rockwell, Norman

Dealing with conflict. (Cousin Reginald Spells Peloponesus by Rockwell, Norman)

Another ideal way of adapting course books would be to cater more intensely for the students’ different learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic. It would be amazing if the presentation of a language point and the activities following it could be personalized according to the strongest style of each student: do they wish to see a video explaining the point, do they want to read about it, would they rather engage in a hands-on discovery activity and find out the solution for themselves? The new tools of technology all make these options possible. All they need is to be presented in a more coordinated way by teachers and publishers so the students are guided through their personal journey towards learning. In summary, language learning materials need to provide a much more flexible structure and remain the backbone of a process that requires individualization.

You are more than welcome to share your ideas on how to improve language learning materials in the comments section of this blog.

NOTE: You might want to check out our eBooks available  from AMAZON.COM . Click here to know more about our series TEACHING ENGLISH WITH ART: http://wp.me/p4gEKJ-1lS

 

Teaching English with Art

Teaching English with Art

Au revoir

Jorge Sette.