art workshop at rumpueng

I had my first workshop this week with some young artists who were attending art camp. They came to Rumpueng Community Art Space for the workshop with their teachers. I thought they’d be 8-10 yr olds but the kids ranged from 3-10 which proved for exciting times! Very appreciative of their teachers’ assistance and also help with translation when needed. We started off learning more about each other in smaller groups by creating a collective special friend who would represent them.

special friends

 

On the far left, you can see the little ones had fun tracing Ajarn Tu’s (Professor Supachai) body, colouring in and creating patterns. Some things I found particularly interesting about these new friends is that they are linguistically apt, love to spend time at the Chiang Mai Zoo, and like to eat cheese.

We talked about ideas for our stories and where we could draw inspiration from in our life and experiences. We thought about possible characters, setting and objects to include. One idea from each category was painted onto story stones. These would help us in writing our stories and we could also exchange stones for new story ideas.

After snack time, we learned how to fold and make the “walking pants” book from an A4 sheet of paper and started on our stories.

It was a fabulous afternoon together with the kids and definitely felt like the first day of school for me : ).  After the red bus came to pick them up, two neighbourhood girls stopped by and we did some bookmaking together. We were able to communicate in limited English + actions + drawings. I found out they are on school break for two weeks and got them to teach me some Thai words. We made two different book structures and even managed to put covers on one before they decided they wanted to play with the cats.

ghanaian school for a day

Was looking forward to being able to catch school in session in Ghana but never thought I’d get to experience it as a teacher.  I was asked if I wanted to take the Basic 3/third grade class as their teacher was absent and they would be sitting in their classroom the whole day by themselves. How can one say no to a group of kids ready to learn?

As it was the first day back from break, there was all school assembly which gave me a little time to look for materials and come up with some sort of a plan. We started off by making name tags–using a small portion of the massive stash of labels discovered during an earlier craft/supply closet clean out. Kids love labels…especially fluorescent ones. One of the girls still had hers on the next day and excitedly showed it to me as I was saying my farewells to the class.

 

Our classroom–transformed from a corner of the activity centre rather quickly after all school assembly. It was amazing to watch the learning space appear.
Our classroom–transformed from a corner of the activity centre rather quickly after all school assembly. It was amazing to watch the learning space appear.

I tried getting the kids to tell me what their school day looked like but that didn’t quite happen so we settled for a list of possible classes: Citizenship, Mathematics, Science, English, Creative Arts, Religious and Moral Education. I of course wanted to know about creative arts. There was some mention of dancing and I asked them to teach but they declined, which was rather disappointing as I have seen several of them dance before and they have got some good moves. We went with story writing in the morning and puppet making in the afternoon. I did eventually come across a timetable. It was hidden in the yellow cupboard in the picture below that I didn’t know was The Class Cupboard.

We had a great day. The sun was shining, there was a breeze blowing and goats were wandering in, out and through our classroom.  We read a Dora story–Puppy Takes a Bath and had a discussion about pets, naming pets (not common), characters, setting, problems and solutions.

Not sure how Dana snuck this photo in between all the math classes she was asked to teach that day.
Not sure how Dana snuck this photo in between all the math classes she was asked to teach that day.

In the class story we wrote together, Buster the goat (I insisted we name him and that’s what they chose) was chewing my bed and here were some ways to solve the problem:

  • sack the goat (still not quite sure what that entails)
  • cane the goat
  • kill the goat and eat it

I suggested we keep thinking since Buster is a friend and we didn’t want to hurt him. These were our kinder alternatives:

  • build him his own house outdoors
  • go to the market and buy him a goat friend so he has someone to play with
  • grow food in the garden so he can eat that instead of chewing the bed
 The rest of the morning was spent planning and writing our own stories.

 

authors and illustrators
authors and illustrators

After lunch, we looked through all our puppet making tools and materials and made either one of our story characters or created anything else we wanted–animal/person/creature.

creative arts : )
creative arts : )
our finished puppets and the Basic 2 class in the distance
our finished puppets and the Basic 2 class in the distance

We concluded the day by sharing our stories and attempting to clean up the art materials which seemed to have blown everywhere.  I learned the next morning that I had been unnecessarily concerned at the state we had left the classroom in as clean-up and sweeping is in the schedule–it takes place before school starts.

...all taken care of the next morning.
…all taken care of the next morning.
Almost ready for the second day of school...wish we could've stayed for it!
Almost ready for the second day of school…wish we could’ve stayed for it!
Classmates and Miss Dana saying goodbye…or better yet, see you again.
Classmates and Miss Dana saying goodbye…or better yet, see you again.

 

Quite the experience and there really is not much else more enjoyable and fun than learning with kids.