Home / Art, multimedia and ESL

I’ve previously written about art activities and ESL lesson plans and this blog is no exception to provoking creativity when teaching English as a foreign language. I was scrolling through my social media account and one of those targeted ads popped up, it was a 5-minute crafts video Instagram @5.min.crafts which shown how to create palm art using just a hand and a few coloured pens.

Easy for an adult to follow, however, it got me thinking… I could use this video and others like it in an ESL classroom by giving young children step by step instructions to create their own art. Teaching the starters level I concentrated on colours by using objects in the classroom and then taught the 6-7 year olds what hot and cold colours are. This was expanded at movers and flyers level by teaching new vocabulary and grammar point: adjectives to describe an emotion. Overall this encouraged creative thinking, exploring imagination and most of all it was fun for both students and teacher.


Review of kids’ art books

The painting-in book: 30 paint and play activities by Anna Rumsby

  • A3 book which has 30 fun painting activities
  • Age 5-6+ years

I used pull-out pages from this book with my starters ESL class for x45 minutes which included a small project to accompany a lesson on animals and teaching new vocabulary grammar point: present simple. Again instructions were given for step by step engagement with the children, making them do each stage together as a class and repeating out loud after me. An example is taken from the book – “Paint Wild Flames” with three

instructions on the page the first was to ‘mix red and yellow paint to make orange’ I held up a red pencil and asked ‘what colour is this?’ then I did the same but asked the question faster with other colours then I used hand gestures to show what the term mixing means and wrote the word on the board for the children to read out loud and spell. Next was ‘paint lively flames all over the coals’ grammar point: adjective what lively means by showing strong symbol association. Finally, ‘make some yellow flames to add highlights’ I showed them what highlight meant and what flames are linking back to emotion of colour and how red, orange and yellow symbolise hot.

If you’re feeling really creative you could incorporate multimedia in a art ESL classroom by using LEGO make your own movie by Klutz

  • Stop motion animation book
  • Age 9+

All you need is a smart phone and a laptop and you can easily download free software to edit basic videos and that’s exactly what I did. You don’t even have to use LEGO since anything can be used in stop motion, the principle is to take a photo and move an object slightly then take another photo and put all the photos together. For flyers you could incorporate lighting, sound design, acting and script writing. Overall, stop motion encourages e-learning, literacy, storytelling and writing.


I am eager to explore more ways of incorporating art, architecture and multimedia with ESL learning so if you do anything similar or have ideas then feel free to reply to this blog.

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