Artistic creation, at the heart of my writing workshop

A French teacher tells us about her class project produced with the agreement of the American painter Laurel Holloman.

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by Marie Soulie, French teacher and trainer in active and digital educational pedagogy

I have been a French teacher at the Daniel Argote college in Orthez for about ten years. I imagined an annual project around the paintings of the American painter Laurel Holloman. This artist lives in Los Angeles, and creates very colorful, large-format, abstract works, suggesting movement and elements (water, sky, fire…).

With the permission of the artist, I presented his creations at the beginning of the year to the 6th year students, who welcomed them with enthusiasm. The imagination revived by the colors and the movements will, in my opinion, allow them to give free rein to their creativity.

It is by taking advantage of this enthusiasm that I materialize a weekly writing workshop project. I am arranging (dimmed lights, classical music, etc.) the classroom that I occupy, initially limited to 20 people, to accommodate a group of students made up of young people from 5th and 6th grade. 

The stated objective is to create a virtual museum, inspired by the works of the American artist. 

So that the pupils “appropriate” them, they are invited first of all to give a name to each of the paintings presented, without knowing the original title, of course! Next, we created a "word wall" (data wall) grouping together in the form of "Post-it », The terms inspired by their feelings in front of the paintings. The students use this collective resource to construct a poem, dedicated to each of the works. Individually or in groups, they associate with painting, in addition to their poetry, music and a video that they create from scratch with digital tools.

The museum thus presented shows the obvious pleasure of children in creating a universe combining music, video, poetry and painting. This first step allows students to activate their creative capacity. 

I admit that I am delighted to lead this project because I am absolutely proud of the creations offered. Having the artist's approval and support is obviously incredibly empowering for the whole group. I also think that the eyes of children who do not yet have a great artistic culture are "pure". They dare and enter into the works without complex, and it is perhaps this spontaneity and this frankness that an artist seeks in particular. I see a reciprocal contribution between the adult and the students, good ideas are not reserved for one or the others.

In the second term, the writing of a fantastic short story will concentrate the energy of these young creators, with an original script adopted by the students:

An art lover loses the use of color recognition. His visit to an exhibition of Laurel Holloman upsets him, and will lead him to adventures that will allow him to recover colored vision. 

Collective work in a padlet will allow everyone to exercise their capacity for writing and collaboration. Also, the pupils will have to use tolerance, effort to understand the other, and finally negotiation to arrive at the collective work which could be printed. To be continued!

As for the American artist, how does she view this work? She admits a strong emotion, in particular considering the uncluttered look of the children on the pictorial work. The spontaneity of their reactions, the agreement between their feelings and what she initially wanted to express enthusiasm. The “digital manipulation” of her works does not shock her. She sees it as a way for students to understand and experience emotions through abstract art. 

Would an artistic wave cross the Atlantic, without fear of any virus, except perhaps that of artistic creation which does not seem to be reserved only for professionals?

Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
12- Innovate and be creative with digital technology

To see the Framework.

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