Mural #4 – UXO Education Mural – Xieng Khouang Mural Workshop Day 5

The last day!  So bittersweet, as the students have really warmed up to me and to being creative.  They are really drawing and letting loose, and even though presenting their work at the end of the day is still a challenge, they have gotten much more confident!

You can download a document with the 5-day mural workshop lesson plans here.  Look out for a more extensive handbook coming soon!

1.  We went on a field trip to the Plain of Jars and spent a couple hours drawing and wandering around.  The students really took to landscape drawings and split off on their own to sketch.

When we came back, they were so brave about sharing their drawings, I think they were very proud.

Picture by Barbara Lewis


picture by barbara lewis


We did some sketchbook making out of scratch paper and talked about free materials they can use. (Thanks Nick and Abby!)

After lunch we played Exquisite Corpse for an hour, and they truly got creative and laughed so much!

One of our lunches. Thanks Buaphone for knowing where to go.

Then we had a final party where their parents and some folks from around town came, ate snacks, and drank.  I made up some certificates for the students, gave a small speech and spoke about each student’s work, and then had each group present their paintings to the audience – and some groups actually talked about their work!

picture by barbara lewis

And then they were gone!  I’m very sad and will miss them a lot.  I was very impressed by their groupwork, and it was so sweet: when I asked them what they wanted to do that day, they would confer amongst each other before giving a short answer.  I really hope that they continue to draw and feel good doing it, that they will continue to connect with each other, and their parents continue to connect as well.

It’s so crazy to think that I will never see these students again most likely, but that I could learn to care for them so much this week:

  • The twins Sawnaly and Sipai, who both looked at me so seriously until I smiled back and they broke into the most beautiful smiles.
  • Huagku, so serious and quiet, with deep ideas that came out slowly.
  • Xue Yee, kind and a bit older, slow to speak but fairly free with play, who started talking to me by the end of the week.  Drew very seriously.
  • Phet, a teenage girl, smart and talented.
  • Yangkuh, a leader (when I asked kids to do self-portraits, she ended up drawing 3 out of 4 of the girls’ portraits for them before I caught her!) and talented artist, I think she truly loves art and is committed to it.
  • Sompan, a tiny cutie with a sweet streak.  He would get bored easily and loved to draw bombies.
  • Ya Vue, the smallest and naughtiest boy with bounds of energy, who looked up to Xue Yee and made fun of everyone (including himself).

Lessons learned:

  • There truly is no point in planning a very strict schedule, it’s better to just plan lots of activities and see what you get through and what fits with the group. Maybe this is a good life plan too.
  • With these kids, classroom management was mostly about trying to get the students out of their shells and having fun, working together, and feeling free to be creative and create works they were proud of (as opposed to “managing behavior” or whatever).  They were so self-sufficient and independent in some ways (crossing the street, on our field trip, etc).
  • It took five days for the students to really warm up to the activities, being creative, each other, and me.  If we had another 5 days in a row, I think the students could have created anything.

I truly couldn’t have done the workshop without the help of Da Chang, Bounmi, Vongsamay, Tounmi, Vongdala, Hua Lor, Buaphone, Barbara, Abby, Mark, Nick, Tabea and Alex for their house, Mr Ngai for the internet, and the support from home.  Thanks so much!

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