Avenal prison teacher fosters creativity through haiku

Avenal prison inmate paints with watercolors to accompany a haiku poem.
Avenal State Prison ABE II students learned the art of combining watercolor painting with haiku writing.

Students enrolled in Adult Basic Education II at Avenal State Prison’s Facility C recently learned the process of writing haiku. The form of poetry originating in Japan features three lines with five syllables in the first and third lines, but seven in the second line.

To reach deeper into their creativity, the Avenal Facility C students also created a watercolor painting representing the theme of their haiku poem. For all students, it was their first time using watercolors. For many students, they found it relaxing and exciting to try a new skill. The poetry and painting connected the concept of writing with art therapy.

For some students, the watercolor art was frustrating and outside their comfort zone. To overcome this, the teacher and students discussed the importance of resilience. Learning to not give up, the activity transfers to similar life experiences after parole.

They will come to times in their life when it’s hard or difficult and they would rather walk away or not try. What’s important is to persevere, even if uncomfortable or the outcome doesn’t live up to expectations.

Academics is not just reading and mathematics but also about teaching life skills, enabling students to deal effectively with everyday demands and challenges.

Student artwork will be displayed in the Administration Building during September.

Story by Sabrina Hamilton
Submitted by Lt. J. Campbell

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