As we explored in the previous lesson, when intense emotions arise, it is important to learn how to witness and express them. However, there are some circumstances where the emotions are asking us to make a change in our lives or in the world. In this lesson, we explore this new way of thinking about the role of emotions. In her book The Language of Emotions, Karla McLaren argues that emotions provide information that is important for us to listen to and sometimes act on. We can ask each emotion a question, and gain wisdom from that reflection that helps us make changes to improve our lives. For example, McLaren explains that the question to ask anger is “What must be protected?” She explains that when we feel angry, the emotion is arising in order to signal to us that we need to create a boundary. In this way, anger comes with a message and rather than repress it, we can honor it for offering us wisdom and information about something we need to change. This lesson focuses more closely on the ways many emotions are tied to the problems and injustices in the world. Rather than avoiding or denying these feelings, we can take action and create change around the emotions we feel strongly about.
· Destigmatize emotions that are often labeled as negative by our culture.
· Raise awareness that students are not alone in their sadness or anxiety or challenging emotion.
Prior to teaching this lesson, watch the guest artist video and create your own example of protest art.
Decide which materials will work best for your students and what to have ready for them to use. They could work digitally on their personal electronic devices (i.e. laptops, tablets, Chromebooks), or could use paper and a pen or pencil to draw, or even use magazines and newspapers to cut out words and images.
Display the ‘welcome slide’ from the Lesson 5 PowerPoint as you begin.
As discussed in the teacher training, remember to make the suggested language below authentic to yourself and meaningful for your students.
* Slide 2
*Slide 4 and 5
“In our earlier writing practices, you were invited to write a letter, compose a poem, create a digital collage and take photographs on a walk around the neighborhood. These creative projects allowed you to think about an experience in your life that has felt significant or had a big impact on you. As you call up these stories from your memory again, let’s see if there is an emotion you can now think of that calls on you to take action or do something to create change. Does your personal story illuminate an issue that is a larger problem in the world right now? The guest artist helped us see the way a certain emotion inspired him to create art to help bring about change in his community. I attempted to look at my own stories and see if I could reflect upon something that would help me think of a change I would like to see in the world. I wanted to share with you what I created. Also, I wanted to share some more inspiring examples of different protest art around the world.”
* Slide 6
Students are invited to create a piece of protest art by using images they draw themselves or adding text to images they find on the computer. This activity should be given at least 15-20 minutes.
If you or your students would like to learn more about the ideas in this lesson, additional resources and third party links are included below.