Creating A Positive Disruption

Empowering students to use art as a catalyst for change.

Photo of Jason Blair
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The purpose of this lesson was for students to think about the power of their voice.  I began the lesson by writing the statement, "Kids have nothing important to say!"  The point of this statement was to get the students to create from a place of passion and not compliance.  We looked at several examples of artists who use their art as a catalyst for change.  

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Attachments (3)

5-2015:16 2 copy.pdf

This is a PDF copy of the way the lesson unfolded. This is two lessons over the course of two trimesters. In order for students to feel empowered, we must slow down to let them dive deep into the learning process.


This is a brief description of the project. I post this along with images, quotes, etc. to make the creative process visible. I believe that in order for students to find their voice, we need to give them opportunities to use it. The artworks that the students designed were incredible. I use my school website, to post images and explanations of the projects well. I recently adopted Twitter as a way to highlight the creative process as well.


Here is the artist statement for the above image.


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Photo of Ellen Deutscher

Sorry if I seem confused, I must be getting sleepy.  You have 2 posts and those go together, right?  

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Jason, Amazing! You have so many great lessons that inspire students to take action. Art is a great way for students to share their unique perspectives. Do you have any type of exhibition of the student work? Do other teachers at your school get involved with the projects? I would love to think about how we can get these lessons into all classrooms. 

Photo of Jason Blair

We always have a student exhibition at the end of a project.  The purpose of the exhibition is for the students to teach the parents and take them on an abridged journey, similar to the one the students went on.  All exhibitions are interactive and ask the parents to take an active role in the learning process.  It is not a "sit and get" type of celebration.  We are trying to move parents past the, "that was cute," stage to the, "WOW, that was amazing!"  We don't want parents to see the learning from their chid, we want them to experience it.  I try and collaborate with any teachers who are interested.  We make sure the big idea or essential questions are rooted in life, not a particular discipline.  This way all teachers feel able to connect to the project and the learning is meaningful and relevant to students.  We have been doing this for about 10 years now, so we have a pretty good structure set up.  That being said, we constantly tweak it every year based on students needs, interests and passions as well as reflecting on successes and challenges.

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Jason, Thank you for sharing more about the exhibition format. This is such a valuable part of the learning. The next step to build your idea out on the Guild is to start a shared doc and put together the ideas, lessons and resources so that other teachers on the Guild have the tools to prototype these ideas in their schools. I'm happy to join the doc and help!