Have you ever had a secret you are embarrassed of or even afraid to tell someone you are extremely close to? You aren’t alone. In the 2000’s a brilliant website called “PostSecret” emerged. You were able to send a postcard with your secret anonymously and they would post the secrets for the world to see. But how could this work in the classroom?
Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?
Building classroom community is essential to creating a classroom where writing can come alive and writers are free to express themselves. This is the basis of the post secret lesson.
Set the stage: Ask your students if anyone has a secret? Something that is really personal or just something that is embarrassing.
Be vulnerable and willing to share something personal about yourself. Tell them that everyone has things that are personal to them. Sometimes those things need to come out and what is a better way to share your secrets than secretly?
Depending on your students grade level the deeper you can take this lesson. In an article, Studies in Art Education by Jennifer Motter claims that through her research with PostSecret, members of her class reflected on their beliefs and collaboratively constructed knowledge through the comments and conversations that they previously hadn’t had.
These postcards created a classroom community. They deepened our understanding of each other.
Mentor friendly texts
Post Secret’s website deals with alot of adult content. This lesson is more tailored to high school and middle school students but can be scaffolded down with carefully selected texts. My examples are geared towards older students.
Show students selected texts to gain inspiration.
Students can use online postcards by copy and pasting using google slides. Or you can provide them with maker’s space materials. Then post anonymously to a website like padlet or even a google form that doesn’t gather information.
What do you need? Postcards, old magazines, poster paper, flair pens, markers/sharpies… anything that you can think of that will get your students creating.
If you want to try online, have students look up photos or content related to the secret they are going to reveal. Have students brainstorm together what a postcard might look like from their perspective they are speaking from. (If it’s not their own secret)
Some Postsecret examples:
Taking it a step further
This lesson can extend itself quite well beyond sharing our own secrets. What secrets do the character’s in our book hold? What about the ones in our history books… or even the nature around us?
This would be a great lesson for connecting voice with background knowledge of characters. This is a lesson that could be done at the end of a unit as a check for understanding and using that above and beyond thinking.
For example, what secrets might the villains in our classroom novels have?
What things would nature tell you if it could talk?
What secrets does history hold … ?
These questions get students thinking about what are the nuances in what I am reading and what are my characters’ deeper thoughts. This is something that I totally can see being connected to my enneagram lesson I shared last year. Based on the character’s personality traits, what secrets might they hold?
However you use this lesson creating space to let students explore, use their hands, and remixing something you might not have used before may connect your students deeper than they have before.
How else could this be used in your classroom? Give me a shoutout if you try it or have more thoughts about PostSecret.
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