The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
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In This Section:
Teacher's Guide
Parent's Guide

Teacher's Guide
The following learning activities accompany the documentary The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo. Designed for 10th – 12 grade language arts, social studies and art classes, the activities strengthen student understanding of Frida Kahlo's life as well as other subjects underscored in the film, including Mexican culture and history, art movements and artistic styles. The activities can also easily be adapted for use at the college level.

While exploring the artist's personal and professional experiences, students have opportunities to extend their understanding of the topics presented – artistic expression, the influence of family, personal relationships and the value of education.

The activities are designed to be used in conjunction with the program or as stand-alone lessons. If you decide to use the film, it is recommended that you preview it before showing the program to students to select segments appropriate for their viewing. You may also provide students with previewing material regarding Frida's life. Many of the resources listed within this guide and on this Web site provide that type of information. If time permits, you can preface the viewing by discussing with students the role and value of documentaries in learning about great historic figures.

As with any program that airs on PBS, we encourage teachers to determine whether The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo is appropriate for their own students. We make this recommendation because parts of the program have controversial content; because parts of the program may present concepts that are too elementary, or too difficult, for particular groups of students; or because due to time constraints, educators must select only the most relevant portions of a broadcast to use in their classrooms.

Taping Rights: One Year
PBS provides one year of off-air taping rights for preK-12 grade teachers. If teachers use the programming in their classroom, they can tape a program one time (per teacher request) and retain it for instructional use for one year from the time they taped it off the air, regardless of the national, original broadcast date and regardless of how many subsequent times the program airs. After one year, the program should be erased.

Artistic Expression
In this lesson students analyze the works of Frida Kahlo to determine how she used her paintings for self-expression. As a group, students discuss artistic styles they use or might use to express themselves, and how they reflect personal views, experiences, and emotions through their art.

A Likely and Unlikely Match: Frida and Diego
Students examine and assess the bond between Frida and Diego Rivera reflecting on Frida's own description of their relationship and identifying how Frida incorporated this tumultuous relationship into her artwork.

Culture in Art
During this activity students examine several definitions of culture and explore how cultural aspects of their lives are depicted in society. They then explore the way Frida used cultural elements in her work and the importance of those elements in her life.

For additional classroom content, please visit PBS TeacherSource.

Additional Resources
Discussion Questions
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo offers viewers an intimate look at the colorful and complex artist and individual. It also presents valuable insight into Mexico's culture and history; the emergence and impact of art movements and styles (surrealism, abstraction); and the conflicting yet contiguous mix of politics, social unrest, and cross-cultural elements that influenced art and artists' experiences during the time Frida lived and worked. The following discussion questions touch on all of these concepts.

Teacher's Guide Glossary
A collection of terms found in the film.

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