Picturins America
About This Project   Introductory section   Lessons Plans   Extras



The Picturing America Companion for Russia is the result of our long-standing hope to position the study of culture through art in the English language classroom. The obvious connections between culture and language – from a pragmatic, everyday level to the more abstract ways values and ideas are woven into language – make artwork an important tool for exploring the U.S. as well as better understanding one’s own multi-faceted culture.

This Project happened during the academic year 2009-2010 for three main reasons. One of Russia’s Senior Fellows, Natasha Isadora Frank, arrived in Russia with an undergraduate degree in Art, a graduate degree in Teaching English, and plenty of experience as a teacher educator. A group of English teachers in Russia, many with some experience using art in the classroom, took part in a four-week International Visitor program in the U.S., during which they were exposed to numerous museums and educational programs that used art. And finally, sets of the extremely rich material created by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Picturing America, arrived in Russia.

For those of you teaching English in Russia, this is your opportunity to inject your English classes with a deeper and more comprehensive study of U.S. culture and history. For those of you learning English, this is an opportunity to better understand one of the larger English-speaking communities in the world, the 300 plus million in the U.S., many of whom have direct links to Russia.

This companion is a “labor of love.” The contributors all worked tirelessly, after their normal day of language teaching, to give you the lesson plans included here. The fact that Russians and Americans collaborated to create this material is in itself a reflection of what our ultimate goal is: to bring the people of Russia and the U.S. closer through a mutual passion for art and all that it represents.

Enjoy. And, once again, thank you, Natasha Isadora Frank and your “Dream Team” of materials writers.

David Fay
English Language Officer