Amy E. Hamilton
Certified Master Spanish Teacher- Illinois, NBCT-WLOE
International Baccalaureate Teacher - Diploma, Middle Years, and Career Path programs, 13+ years.
My teaching philosophy revolves around choosing and creating second language acquisition curriculum that helps me to develop communicative, student-centered learning activities using appropriate, authentic Spanish language texts and technology of the 21st century. These types of learning experiences encourage target language communication and connections between students’ studies and the real world. They incorporate students’ interests and academic abilities and instill/develop learner characteristics like curiosity, courage, caring, and balance that allow students to flourish physically, intellectually, ethically, and emotionally. For example, my Spanish art unit focuses on communicating about life through art. I introduce famous Spanish speaking artists, their political and social lives, and their works of art (type, style, theme and medium) to my classes. Through the use of technology (virtual art tours, images projected on the big screen, resourcing biographies, life anecdotes, video clips of biographies and documentaries on the Internet) I create opportunities for students to study these artists as human beings, then as artistes. I have students create a work of art that mirrors an artist studied (their choice) but with a modern day, personal theme. They are encouraged to use any medium of visual art- photography, drawing, paint, computer-generated collage, hand made collage, metal working, paper mache, sculpture, arts and crafts. Past students have submitted autobiographical photographs influenced by Picasso, paintings of today’s war on standardized testing modeled after muralists Siqueiros and Orozco, academic drawings representing struggle using Rivera’s indigenous workers, satiric visuals of wealth in today’s society using the round shapes of Botero and sculptures of mother and child representing non traditional social relationships of todays’ families with Guayasamín as their guide. Of course Dalí wins favor with his surrealism and student’s reflect their pain of adolescents and academic balance using his strange yet wonderful images. With these student-produced works of art, they participate in a gallery walk, using their Spanish language to discuss the art, styles and themes presented. They also create a written biography in Spanish, posted with their art, to detail their experience and who/what influenced them to produce their art. All this is done using the target language, Spanish. This unit example is indicative of all my units and is inclusive of appropriate academic levels/and grammatical focuses.