Visual art, poetry, dance, music, and other forms of art have always been a way to show opposition to power holders. In other words, people have historically used art as a form of protest and resistance. After our Red Scarf Girl novel study and a social studies unit on historical dictatorships, 6th graders imagined that they were living in 1960s China during the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao. They used their knowledge about the setting to create their own original piece of resistance art. Additionally, students wrote a literary analysis essay explaining the reasons why people conform to immoral circumstances. For two weeks, students worked individually and in groups to complete this performance task and ultimately answer the module’s essential questions: Why do people conform to their powerholders in situations of injustice, and how can we use art to find our voice and resist? Students displayed their final products at our protest art showcase. We transformed our classroom into 1960s China and welcomed families and peers to enjoy refreshments and check out our music, poetry, dance, and graffiti. Further details about performance task requirements and rubrics can be found on the class showcase website.
Grade Level: 6
Subjects: Social Studies, Literature, Visual Art, Performance Art, Music
Here are some project highlights. Please visit the showcase site to view all student work.
When I Rise by Shiningstar L.
Inspired by Still I Rise- Maya Angelou
You may have taken my joy, but you will never take my pride.
You who rules over man’s destiny
Did you want to see me conform
Bow my head in shame
Shoulders falling down like
Teardrops weakened by soulful
Cries out to my ancestors
In the depths of history’s shame
Up from a past life of black class status
Rooted with pain
Leaving behind nights of terror and
Red Guards living life
‘Ode To The Plum Blossom’
Ill and broken
Like a delicate flower picked out of a bush
Filled with grief
Since I shall doubtlessly see the marvelous sun of tomorrow
I shall always be perplexed on Chairman Mao’s wisdom
Splendid Chairman Mao
Or Diabolical Chairman Mao?