January 07, 2015
On the second Saturday of December, artist Lori Sherritt-Flemming facilitated an engaging session as part of the Art Fundamentals creative learning series for teachers and artists. Mind Craft: Innovative Word Play, Poetic Forms and Story Starters for Inspired, Improvised and Improved Writing, was definitely a workshop packed with practical resources and as multi-layered as the title sounds.
Lori comes from an Irish family of storytellers and she shared with us how she was determined to move into her artistic practice at a point in her life while she was working in retail. This decision, and her desire to work with young people, led her to become an experienced author who, for more than 18 years, has collaborated with teachers and students in the classrooms, combining her artistic medium with other areas of the curriculum.
As part of her magic tool kit of practical resources, Lori started the session with some vocal warm-up exercises and introduced some fun games. We learned that when we tell stories with our voices, we can use pause and tone to add different qualities to the narration. Collectively, we constructed one-word stories. Going around the circle sharing one word at a time, we elaborated complex stories based on graphic symbols and experimented with our own bodies, engaging in tableau exercises that expanded on the concept of expression, levels and extension.
During the second half of the workshop we navigated some poetic forms, articulating some of the already practiced movement exercises with spoken word and writing. We were slowly moving into more complex forms of writing and interacted with four stations that Lori had prepared, including one station with a bag of props that can be used in the classrooms as a tool to help students overcome challenges with literacy.
It was fascinating to discover at the "Lunch Box Poetry" station how a famous poem can be cut into pieces and be rearranged to create a totally new poem with a dramatically different meaning. Lori also presented very interesting resources in the "Research Station" and at the end of the session two teachers were lucky to win a draw and get some of Lori's publications.
Thanks to Lori for a fascinating session that helped us move deeper into the magic and the power of writing!
Here's what some workshop participants had to say about the day:
"I liked how applicable the activities were for a range of learners and ages. Acting out our ideas and sharing our thoughts in a variety of ways was a great chance to broaden my learning."
"Fantastic session. Extremely enthusiastic and motivating artist. I enjoyed it all!"
"I felt inspired through the really creative activities and writing exercises!"
"I'm very excited to implement these strategies in the classroom."
There's just one spot left at the next Art Fundamentals workshop taking place this Saturday, January 10, 2015: Movement and Long Exposure Photography with Julia Carr and Meghan Goodman. Using hand-held lights we will explore how to create amazing light paintings and drawings with long-exposure photography and movement.
Learn more about future Art Fundamentals events and register online at artstarts.com/artfundamentals Each session costs just $15 to attend.
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