We have discussed that sometimes emotions are asking us to witness and express them, and sometimes emotions are asking us to take action or make a change in our lives. In the previous lesson, we saw the way emotion often shows up when we need to take action or make a change in the world. This lesson is an extension of that idea, but it shifts the focus from a global level to a personal level. In this lesson, we focus on identifying emotion and linking it to something in students’ lives that needs attention and might require them to make a change. Of course, at this age, young people won’t be able to change every aspect of their lives. Students might not be able to move out of an unsafe home or solve a larger problem that is outside of their control. However, this lesson offers the important message that their emotions can help them to see areas of their lives that they would like to change – and in some cases may in fact have some control over changing. For example, anxiety might be tied to taking too many challenging courses at once, and a change in the class schedule might be beneficial. If a young person is engaging in self-harming behaviors such as cutting, an eating disorder, or an addiction to a harmful substance, then taking action and asking for support is a crucial aspect of moving forward on a healthy path.
· Recognize that sometimes emotions are messengers which can raise awareness that it may be time to make a change.
· Connect emotions with underlying issues in students’ lives that are calling for attention.
Prior to teaching this lesson, watch the guest artist video and draw or paint your own art and write your own artist’s statement example.
Gather paper, colored pencils, crayons, or markers for the warm-up activity. If your school does not have access to these materials Kleki.com offers fast access to a digital drawing tool.
Display the ‘welcome slide’ from the Lesson 6 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
Students spend five minutes drawing a picture to answer the question of “How are you?” and express how they are actually feeling today.
Example of What You Could Say:
“Thanks for trying that new way of honestly representing emotion through a drawing. Hopefully, you were able to express some of what you were feeling through your visual art. Remember in our previous lesson, we talked about this idea with our protest art as it relates to the emotions we feel about something in the world that we want to change. Today we are shifting the focus to our own lives. I want to make sure it is clear that sometimes emotions arise and it is important that we express them, and find a witness who can listen to us as we share them, but they don’t require us to take any action. We are meant to feel them and simply honor that they are there. That is a really important idea. But, as we discussed in the previous lesson, sometimes emotions offer us information about something we do need to change. Today’s lesson is focused on the idea that emotions arise in order to help us see areas where we can make changes in our own personal lives. We are going to watch a video from a guest artist who feels that her paintings and drawings are often a reflection of her emotions, and those emotions often provide a signal that something needs to change in her life.”
Guest artist describes a recent show at a gallery that had a central theme. All of the artwork pointed to one main idea. When she was writing her artist’s statement to correspond to her paintings, she realized that her artwork was helping her see an area in her life where she needed to make a change, and encouraging her to ask for the support she needs in order to make that happen. The guest artist explains that art can offer insight into these unacknowledged issues in our lives. Reflecting on our artwork by writing the artist’s statement is a way of noticing the message that is expressed within the art.
* Slide 4
Students write an artist’s statement to describe the drawing they created at the start of class in response to the question, “How are you?” In their artist’s statement, students describe their artwork. How does the artwork express an emotion? Does it use color or design to speak to specific feelings? Is the drawing connected to a specific experience, memory, or challenge? Students explore the way their artwork contains an important message for them about their life, something they want or need to change. Finally, they begin to reflect on the steps they can take to address this concern. Do they need to reach out to a trusted mentor for support? Do they need to make a change in their school or after school schedule in order to alleviate anxiety? What steps can they take to begin making changes in order to feel better about their life? Give students 10-15 minutes to work on this.
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.