Action through Art

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners read stories written and illustrated by teens about action and advocacy to make the world a better place. The students brainstorm concerns/issues they have about their school or local community and create story outlines about ways to address an issue.

PrintOne Forty-Five to Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • read and summarize stories about philanthropy.
  • list concerns about the school or community.
  • create story outlines about action/advocacy to address local concerns/issues.
  • “Everyday People Can Lead Extraordinary Lives.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation Commemorative Comic Book, can be downloaded from sections will need to be downloaded and printed from the web site.)
  • (Optional) Student copies of Handout One: “Superhero” Story Outline

Reflection plays a very important role in promoting student learning. The following suggested activities are ways to help students reflect on their learning after they have participated in a service event.  Choose one or more of the activities most appropriate to the service event and your students.

Tell the students that they have been asked to write an “editorial” newspaper article that will tell the story of their involvement in this recent service project. Since newspaper articles are usually brief and inform their readers by answering the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why?, their article also should be brief and include answers to these five questions. When completed have the students place a symbol on their article that they will recognize as their own when the articles are returned to them. Collect the articles and randomly redistribute them so students will be able to read other student’s work. Depending on time, continue this process until each student has been able to read at least three other articles. Conclude with a brief sharing of students’ thoughts and ideas.

Review the recent service project and have students share their impressions of what took place. Assign students to groups of two and provide each group with a variety of old newspapers. Ask the groups to scan the newspapers looking specifically for articles that speak to a social/societal problem and how this problem was addressed by an individual or a group of individuals.  Have them cut out as many of these types of articles from the newspapers as the designated time permits.  Have them then select one article from among those they have identified, which they feel most closely represents the intent of this recent service project. Collect these articles, one from each group, and randomly reassign them to other groups so that no one group has its original article.  Each group is to look for the similarities and differences they see between the article they have been given and the intent of this recent event and share these similarities and differences with rest of the groups.

Provide each student with a variety of magazines and/or newspapers and instruct the class that they are to locate at least three company logos or slogans. Give each student a copy of the worksheet (below) and instruct them to cut out and attach the three logos or slogans that they have identified to their worksheet.  After a discussion as to why companies might develop and use logos and/or slogans, have the students complete the worksheet. Then have each student briefly share the logo or slogan he/she has selected and why? Distribute a piece of white construction paper to each student. Tell the class that now the challenge is for each of them to come up with their own logo or slogan to be used in promoting this same service project next year and draw/write it on the white construction paper. Once completed, collect and display all of the logos or slogans, without student names.  (NOTE: If the actual intent is to come up with a logo or slogan for use to promote this service project next year, voting for a classroom favorite might be appropriate.)


My three logos and/or slogans:

The logo or slogan I selected as having the most public appeal (from among the three logos I have identified) is circled above.

I think this logo or slogan would have more public appeal because….

Have students consider this scenario. During this service project, if you had been given a digital camera with which to take three pictures for a motivational presentation, which three pictures would you have taken, and why?

Photo #1 (Describe the photo)

Why would you choose this photo to include in a motivational presentation?


Photo #2 (Describe the photo)

Why would you choose this photo to include in a motivational presentation?

Photo #3 (Describe the photo)

Why would you choose this photo to include in a motivational presentation?

Now have each student select their one photo from among the three taken “that will be added to the class album.” Have them share that photo with the class along with the reason for why they selected it as their favorite.  After everyone has an opportunity to share, engage the students in a discussion about similarities and difference in the photos selected as favorites and the reasons for selecting it.



  1. Anticipatory Set: Distribute the “Everyday People Can Lead Extraordinary Lives.” Allow the students a few minutes to look through the book and react.

  2. Ask the students to turn to the first two white pages and read together or summarize the concept for the creation of this comic book. Review/discuss the definition of philanthropy if necessary.

  3. Divide the class into 12 groups. Assign groups of students to read a part of the comic (Kellogg’s biography or one of the stories) “Everyday People Can Lead Extraordinary Lives” W.K. Kellogg Foundation Commemorative Comic Book. Each group of students should have a different story to read.

  4. The groups read, discuss and summarize the biography or story. Focus on the concern/issue in the story, how various characters acted or advocated for change, what obstacles were in their way, how they brought about change, and tell effect. Also examine how the artist’s style enhanced or detracted from the story. Assign or let the group select someone in the group to summarize for the class.

  5. Ask groups to briefly share their summaries beginning with the group that read the W.K. Kellogg biography. The teacher should list the various means of action/advocacy represented in the stories as the groups share.

  6. Ask students to brainstorm a list of how their school community or the local community could be changed for the better. “What could a superhero do in our school or community to make it a better place?” These may be concerns represented in the stories or different concerns.

  7. From the list, ask for groups of volunteers who want to address the concerns. Groups should be no larger than five students. Two groups may address the same issue/concern if there is a lot of student interest in a specific concern. Challenge each of these groups to create a story line or story board about one of the issues/concerns that demonstrates a person leading an extraordinary life by taking action or advocacy in addressing that concern. This does not need to be a complete story, just the story outline/map/board: who is the “superhero”, what is the problem, what action/advocacy do they take, what obstacle(s) do they encounter, what is the result. (Groups may use Handout One as a guide or create their own story map or storyboard.)

  8. Ask the groups to share the ideas with the whole class.

Cross Curriculum 

Art from the heart: Celebrate students artistic talents and find a way to share these talents with others. Follow your students’ voices to find an organization or group of people who would appreciate a poem, greeting card, or homemade piece of art to brighten their day or let them know someone cares. This may be soldiers, veterans, elderly people in a retirement home, or a local child with a serious illness.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.