There were references to Taylor Swift songs and OutKast lyrics, to dating apps and to Dr. Seuss. 

On Day One of the Chicago teachers strike, as tens of thousands took to the streets to make their case for better pay, smaller class sizes, and more school nurses and counselors, teachers got creative with their handmade signs.

Some picketing with the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU73 wore costumes. Others enlisted their pets in the fight. 

Here are some signs that stood out in the crowds.

Some striking teachers took a page from Dr. Seuss…

And some channeled Star Wars.

There were signs that targeted Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Some of them compared her to her predecessor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose relationship with the Chicago Teachers Union was long strained.

Other signs took aim at Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, with a reference to the hip-hop duo OutKast’s famous anthem “Ms. Jackson.”

Meanwhile, some found inspiration in another musical icon: Taylor Swift.

There were colorful signs with earnest messages that spoke to the challenges of teaching nearly 40 kindergartners and to the dedication with which educators approach their jobs.

This sign was creative in its avowed lack of creativity.

There were also costumes…

And churros for sustenance…

Chicago Teachers Union strike, Day 1., October 17, 2019

And furry friends, of course.

Even a class pet took part in the protest.

What creative picket signs caught your eye? Let us know here.

Photos on this page courtesy of Chalkbeat’s Ariel Cheung, Yana Kunichoff, and Cassie Walker Burke, unless otherwise noted.