Tiny Protest Posters


Leela Payne

Grade Level:

5th Grade (upper elementary)


Drawing, Mixed Media, Sculpture

Objective: People create art to respond to change or transform their world. We will be creating art to persuade/change a person’s opinion on an issue that is important to the artist.

Show Students the painting below: America: Land of Shame By Chelsea Kirchoff. Lead a see, think, wonder discussion.

  1. What do you see in the painting?

  2. What do you think when you look at the painting?

  3. What do you wonder about the painting?

The children gave a wide range of reasons that the symbol of america is ashamed and crying.

I show them where I found the photo. People protesting. I ask if they know what it means to protest and why people do it.

They usually have the 5th grade curriculum on civil rights to base information on and then I show them some photos from civil rights from then and identify some activist they may know.

Then show them photos of protests from current events. They share. I did not need to.
Start with an open ended discussion- the teacher can step back and become a facilitator while letting students lead the conversation. It is important that we don’t muddle our own views and opinions.

Visual Literacy: How do we communicate without words? “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Like the first picture we looked at. We review space and lettering and then go into brainstorming what is important to them.

Let's brainstorm and then we can make some plans for what our poster will communicate.

  1. Think! What is important to you (this can be local or global, think small or big)

  2. How can you make a difference?

  3. How can art communicate to others the change you want to make?

  4. What is emphasis? What will be the emphasis in your poster? (what is most important?)

  5. How will you communicate this visually?

Choice: Students can make protesters or posters.

“Took a risk with my fifth graders (who are wonderful) to have a courageous conversation about the issues in our world. Starting in our small community (classroom/school to global issues). They looked at this photo shown here. They talked about what it communicated to them. There was a wide range of answers. We talked about why people protest to make a change historically and now. They taught each other about issues and I didn’t need to say much other than give direction on visual literacy and emphasis. It was amazing. We used a previous process of making tinfoil people so that was easy. They had a blast and know that what they say is important and that they can make a difference.”

Learn more about this lesson here.

Artists & Inspiration

America: Land of Shame

By Chelsea Kirchoff