Art in the World Language Classroom! Selfies with Pablo Picasso?

Artists have been making selfies for centuries.  Students can create Picasso inspired selfies, write descriptive paragraphs, and read about the life of Picasso in the target language.

Picasso paintings in general are good for observing and discussing shapes, colors, body parts…How many noses do you see?  How many fingers do you see, count them? How is she feeling?  How do you know?  What makes you think that?

weeping woman

What shapes do you see?  What emotion does the painting suggest? How do you think the artist is feeling?  Use this image question response chart to practice an observation protocol.pablopicasso-self-portrait-1972

Here is a powerpoint about Pablo Picasso-français.  Here is a powerpoint in Spanish Pablo Picasso-español

picasso self-portrait

Here is a story about the life of Picasso-French and Picasso-Spanish.  I teach first year so I try to tell the story in present tense as if he is still alive.

picasso selfie

C’est qui, Picasso ?


I like to use a running dictation activity from Jason Fritz with paragraphs from the novels Los Agentes Secretes y el Mural de Picasso and La France en Danger et Les Secrets de Picasso by Mira Canion.  These novels work really well with a unit on Picasso or art in general.

picasso book




The novels revolve around the painting Guernica.  Students study the painting and record how many people, animals, body parts, and other things they see in the painting. How many arms, legs, heads do you see?  They pair up and discuss their observations with a partner, then share out with class.  Students then read the description of the paintings from the novels and compare their results.


Who am I?  Have students close their eyes and try to draw the shape of their head on a piece of paper.  Using the color of their eyes, they should try to add on eyes without looking at the paper.  Repeat the process for adding hair, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, with a directed drawing activity.  Students can add symbols to represent themselves, favorite colors, activities, or future careers. You can also use

Then students write a paragraph about themselves, without their name in the paragraph and end with who am I?  Place the pictures and paragraphs under the document camera and students try to guess who is who.  Pictures can also be numbered and posted around the room and students can walk around gallery style matching names to numbered pictures.  Here is a template students can use to write the paragraphs.   In Spanish it’s called quien-soy and in French it is Qui suis-je?  Here are some sample paragraphs in French and Spanish Yo-no-soy-alta.  Here is a powerpoint to introduce the assignment. Quién-soy-pp

picasso head

How else can we use incorporate art in our world language lessons?  Share your ideas here please!


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