SchoolArts Magazine

February 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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artistically confront times when they felt stereotyped or discriminated against and envision empowering outcomes to the problem. Postcards with a Purpose In this lesson, postcards serve as an autobiographical form of visual com- munication and a valuable way for teachers to lead students to approach difficult issues through more confi- dent reflection. It is my hope that through postcard creation, sharing, and discussion, students feel: (A) less isolated, (B) more connected with their peers, and (C) a sense of agency. When their adolescent struggles are shared with their peers, they can col- lectively envision how they can turn disempowering experiences into empowering memories. Lesson Inspiration This lesson was inspired by the ongo- ing community art project PostSecret, my critical dissertation research, and my involvement in the 2011 NAEA Women's Caucus Postcard Project. I encourage art educators to consider community art sites, such as Post- Secret, as classroom resources for social justice activism. My study and NAEA WC Postcard Project prompts can serve as springboards for mean- ingful reflection related to themes of feminism, feminist pedagogy, social justice, and art education. For this lesson, I focus on one particu- lar prompt I modified to use with students who are digital citizens. Distributing and Reflecting Students receive a blank rectangular postcard and various art-making materials, including crayons, mark - ers, colored pencils, magazines, scissors, and glue. I stress thought - fulness, effort, and visual message communication over artistic talent and technique. After postcards are distributed, students are given time to reflect on the following prompt: Think of a time when you felt stereotyped or discrim- inated against in physical or virtual space because of your appearance. Visualization and Creation The following visualization strategies may encourage thoughtful art-making: (A) relaxing; (B) focusing on a specific disempowering event; (C) recalling or envisioning concrete details about the event; and (D) creating a visual representation of the event. In order to facilitate student sharing of deeply meaningful stories, I recommend that educators of this approach: engage in active listening; remain open, empathetic, and nonjudgmental; and build trusting relationships by working with students individually. Next, students are encouraged to Slim You. Anonymous student postcard. 18 FEBRUARY 2018 SchoolArts

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