Student Task

Artistic Expression Showcase

Do Something
Grade Level


Students produce original art (visual art, music, drama or poetry) that conveys an anti-bias or social justice message. Students then plan a public showcase of their work.

Estimated time

Two to three weeks


Incorporating arts in the classroom encourages deeper levels of thinking, exploration, discovery, creativity, choice and engagement. The arts engage diverse learners and offer students of all ability levels a way to communicate expressively about meaningful themes.1


Get Ready

  1. Share examples of art that has inspired you, or share visual texts from the Perspectives Text Library. Use the anti-bias themes to illustrate the way art has been used to raise awareness and promote social change.
  2. Connect examples to themes in the central text
  3. Assess student interest in artistic modes of expression. Students may work individually or in partnerships or small groups depending on their preferred medium.
  4. Connect and co-plan with colleagues in the art department at your school.
  5. Assess what help and resources you will need to host the showcase. Where will you get supplies? What venue will you use?

Get Set

  1. Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide. Instruct them in mapping the steps necessary to complete the arts showcase.
  2. Share the sample rubric or adapt it into a checklist for students. Refer to the rubric to define expectations.
  3. As a class, generate topics that connect to central text themes.
  4. Provide students with ample time to think, brainstorm, collaborate and create. Students have a lot of freedom to interpret this task. A great arts showcase will include performance (dancing, singing, comedy) as well as visual art (painting, photography, collage).


  1. Instruct students to finalize their art and prepare for the showcase.
  2. Decide the location for the showcase based on your school community, resources and schedule. If possible, invite families, other grades and community members.
  3. Throughout the showcase, tie student art back to the literacy work being done in class, the central texts and the social justice themes.
  4. Take photographs of the showcase and use them in a digital or paper scrapbook that celebrates the event.


Students can journal about how their artistic expression reflected central text themes. Some suggested reflection questions include:

  • What topic or theme from the central text was included in your art piece?
  • What important message did your art piece express to your audience?
  • How can art be a form of social action?

English language learners

Integrating the arts gives English language learners the opportunity to engage in new and varied approaches to learning, understanding others and communicating their own ideas.2 English language learners have choice in this task, meaning students can either select artistic mediums that are culturally familiar or they can branch out and try something new. This project engages linguistic, musical, spatial/artistic, kinesthetic, inter-personal or intra-personal (depending on whether the students work individually or with others) learning modalities.

Connection to anti-bias education

Visual and performance arts can be a highly effective medium for teaching social justice.3 The arts have historically communicated ideas about oppression, and provided a way to re-envision the world free from injustice. An arts showcase can be a powerful, hands-on way to see that art can both educate and perpetuate change. It can serve as a catalyst for wider discussions about social justice and nurture student growth, talent and self-expression.