Faking It: Using Flyers and Protest Signs to Reflect

All, Teaching

As I wrote in this week’s Notable Notes (see Wrapping Up), we are on the downward slide of our semester. All my classes are in the midst of wrapping up our projects. There will be service projects for my first-year students and a showcase for my professional writing students. But I also like to conclude with some fun, creative writing exercises as well as reflection. Last year I used a combination of slam poetry and praise poetry, but I’m not certain this approach will work as well with my classes this semester. So I have been thinking about the various tools on my belt and then a member of my PLN shared this awesome video from PBS Digital Studios. They have a whole range of “Art Assignments” you should check out (warning: wormhole), but the video that inspired me was called “Fake Flyer” featuring Nathaniel Russell. I love the idea of the fake flyers (You can find his collection of fake flyers on his web site.) but as he talked about other ideas (such as analog tweets and the t-shirt he designed for his fake high school band) and some others mentioned fake protest signs an idea was born.

OK, so it is not yet a fully formed idea, but I like the challenge of asking my first year students to create fake flyers and protest signs (or book or album jackets if they want) using a similar prompt to Russell’s fake flyer art assignment. This challenge would focus on advice to survive your first semester/year in college, celebrating some event or achievement of the past semester, or promoting an event related to college life in general or our class theme (comics).

The first year of my Ph.D. program my cohort had to choose a name and our reveal included a fake album complete with song names and liner notes. It was a lot of fun to create. I hope this exercise (they will get only crayons, pencils, and paper to complete their flyers and signs) will be a fun stress reliever as we wrap up our semester and might prove to be an interesting opportunity for reflection and discussion, too.

Do you have any suggestions for my fake flyer activity? How can you use fake flyers, protest signs, etc. in your class?

Featured Image found on The Assignment Fake Flyer page

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