Saturday, 25 January 2014

Take One Picture

The school where I teach Spanish has begun work this term on the National Gallery's Take One Picture project.  The current picture is Bartolomé Bermejo's Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil (1468).  The fact that Bermejo is a Spanish artist is great news, and means that there will be a lot of cross-curricular Spanish stuff going on this term in at least PE, literacy, history and geography.

I have started to incorporate the picture into my Spanish lessons, and it is proving considerably easier for some year groups than for others.  Year 5, for example, are currently learning how to tell the time in Spanish.  Ideas on how to get Bermejo into that are very welcome!

Here's what I've done so far.

Year 4 have been working on days, numbers to 31 and months, and putting these together to make dates in Spanish.  As the picture is of St Michael, I took the opportunity to do some intercultural dates, namely saints' days.  I made 24 different saints' days into cards and we used them for a game of Showdown.  If you haven't tried Showdown yet, I recommend that you read Helena Butterfield's blogpost about it.  It's so easy to adapt and the children find it very useful and enjoyable.  Here are the cards if you would like to have a go yourself.

Year 3 have just started colours.  They are already familiar with them from Year 1 and Year 2, so I welcomed something different to do with them.  Bartolomé Bermejo was actually called Bartolomé de Cárdenas.  Bermejo means red, and he was always known by that name, maybe because he had red hair or a red face.  This gave me the idea to combine colours with names (more intercultural input).  The children are drawing Mr Men style characters in one colour, and then using the sheet below to find the name of the colour and a Spanish first name to go with it.  My examples on the board were Verónica Violeta and Rodrigo Rojo.

If you have any brainwaves about other ways that this picture could fit in, please let me know! The devil is going to inspire the "describe a monster" part of Y4's next topic, but apart from that.... I'd also be very interested to hear from anyone else who has been involved in this project, not necessarily for this picture.

And on an entirely unrelated matter I have also learned that you can embed documents from Box.


  1. How about st Michael talking through his day until he reached this point? I get up at/wash/eat/pray?/go to ...

  2. Thanks Clare for your great ideas :-)

    In Year 5..What about ask children to create their own clocks using as a background the picture and/or as handles the characters so later, they can ask and tell about time in pair or groups.

    Try to guess the time in different pictures or for example in Saint Michael tell the time according to the position of the character...I would say 'It's two o'clock' (saint Michael is the big handle: o'clock and the devil is the small handle: two. Children can guess what was the character doing at a certain point before or after that time so you can also teach routines, days of the week, actions, verbs...