This month, second grade world language students finished their half-year focus on Spanish by learning about the architecture of Alhambra in Granada, Spain, which they used as inspiration to create their own mosaic tiles.
In Primary School, world language class students discover the cultural diversity of the world’s French- and Spanish-speaking countries, learning vocabulary, conversational phrases, songs, and games. Second graders learned about the history of Andalusia in Spain, where the art and architecture are heavily influenced by several centuries spent under Muslim rule. When the Arabs departed, their influence on the art, landscape, and language remained. Students learned that several words in the Spanish language were influenced by Arabic, including guitarra/qīṯārah (guitar) and musica/mūsīqā (music.) Unlike Western art, which often features humans and animals, students also learned that animals and humans are not depicted in Islamic art because it is considered disrespectful. Instead, they often used geometric patterns and bright colors to create intricate patterned mosaic tiles. Students made a virtual visit to Alhambra in Granada, the famous fortress that exemplifies Islamic architecture and contains many examples of mosaic art.
As students learned about mosaic tiles, they learned the vocabulary for the different geometric shapes, like triangles, squares, and circles, that are the foundation of each pattern. Students were given a photo of a mosaic tile and used tracing paper to outline the shapes that stood out to them within the tile while keeping the symmetry unique to this art style. Once students created their own mosaic tile pattern, world language teacher Erin Overstreet enlarged and photocopied the tiles. Students used a specific palette of watercolors to paint the shapes and background of their tiles. Once complete, all the second grade mosaics will be combined to create an oversized mosaic in the Primary School hallway.