“Art is all around us”.
My today’s post is a lesson plan built around Netherlandish Proverbs (Nederlandse Spreekwoorden), a 1559 painting with literal illustrations of 200 Dutch proverbs and idioms by the Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, offering an engaging way of working with art and language.
Tell your students that these are pieces/details of the 1559 painting by the Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel. Have them study and describe what they see. (Click the following link to download the ppt. for the classroom netherlandish-proverbs). Based on the details, get them sharing ideas what this painting might depict.
Language focus: seems to/looks like; modal verbs of deduction
Show the whole painting and ask the students to find the details on the painting.
*Students can zoom in on particular scenes of the painting in the Google Art Project here.
Ask the students if they have seen this painting before. What does it depict? Which scenes do they find particularly interesting?
Language focus: in the foreground/background; in the middle/center; at the top/bottom; on the left/right; behind/in front of.
Play the video and ask the students to note down what the four pieces mean.
Click the following link to download the worksheet – handout.
Get the students to pick a piece they find interesting and find what stands behind in the Expressions Featured in the Painting here. Have the students describe the scene and their impressions (use the worksheet as a scaffold).
Ask your students to think of proverbs/sayings in their language that describe human behaviour (or get them to pick a few scenes from the painting and compare the sayings in their language) and their equivalents in English (iDiom Corner may be handy). Hand out post-it notes and ask the students to draw the proverb/saying they chose and put all their post-its together – their Topsy-Turvy World is ready.
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Image: Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Looking for more ideas? Check The Best Resources For Using Art As A Way To Teach & Learn English from Larry Ferlazzo.