Comics in the Classroom

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Comics in the Classroom

If you’re interested in using comics in the classroom, I’ve found some amazing resources to get you started.

comics in the classroom

Adventures in Cartooning
by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Federick-Frost
A total genius of a book which explains cartooning in cartoons! The book stars a princess, a dragon, a brave and eager knight and the knight’s less than brave horse, Edward. A magical Elf joins the knight on the quest to teach the knight about cartooning. There’s action and adventure, talking vegetables, and lots of cartooning information such as panels, gutters, and word balloons. Everything you need including candy and a drooling dragon is in this book. I love how funny and entertaining it is. Great for beginners.

comics in the classroom

You Can Do a Graphic Novel
by Barbara Slate
This book is getting exceptional reviews because it’s an amazing guide. You Can Do a Graphic Novels clearly shows that not only do you need to be a strong artist, you must develop your characters and write a compelling plot. Barbara Slate gives beginning graphic novelists and cartoonists everything they need to know inside this one book, including drawing tips. If I were a young artist looking to learn from the best, I’d buy this book. Slate is an industry veteran who knows her stuff.

Be sure to check her website for the teacher’s guide!

**Read my interview with Barbara Slate here.

comics in the classroom

Create Your Own Super-Hero Stories
by Liz Scoggins, Paul Moran and Zoe Quayle
I have mixed feelings about this book. Most kids, in my experience, don’t like these fill-in the blank books, preferring to create their own story. However, it might be a good starting place for ideas. What do you all think?

Teaching With Graphic Novels

comics in the classroom

The Graphic Novel Classroom: POWerful Teaching and Learning with Images (available for pre-order)
by Maureen Bakis

You’ll find Maureen Bakis is generous with her time and resources; she hosts the Graphic Novels and High School English Learning Resource Site. Not only is she an English teacher, she’s a mother of four kids, ages 17, 16, 15 and 12 years old and she’s an amazing expert on teaching graphic novels. See below how she convinced her school district to let her teach graphic novels to her 12th grade English class.

comics in the classroom

Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels
by Katie Monnin

Katie Monnin blogs at Teaching Graphic Novels and is an expert on graphic novels in the classroom. She also wrote Teaching Graphic Novels but Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels is her newest book. I’ve not seen either of her books but would buy them in a second because she’s very respected in the industry.

HOW TO Get Comics / Graphic Novels into the Classroom

Good Advice from Maureen Bakis

High School English teacher and author of the above mentioned book, The Graphic Novel ClassroomMaureen Bakis, created and teaches a grade 12 English course called The Graphic Novel. To convince the parents in her school community that the books weren’t flimsy superhero books, she referenced articles from the American Library Association website about the number of graphic novels being devoured by readers of all ages and all abilities. She showed them the list of titles to be read, and explained that the title’s topics included the Holocaust, Global issues, and social justice. Not only that, she argued that her students were not reading the classics because they weren’t relevant and as a result, these students weren’t practicing important skills they’d need for college and beyond.

Bakis explains what happened next, “The school committee agreed with me that the curriculum needed less torturous reading titles and more high interest and engaging material in order to teach kids skills. I also argued that literacy and learning in general shouldn’t be equated with discipline and pain or struggle–reading can be pleasurable and still academically valuable. For some students, reading for pleasure is therapeutic and part of their personal growth– not just to become culturally literate or get As for college acceptance.  just because kids are having fun, laughing even, while reading and discussing literature doesn’t mean the literature is comical or less academically challenging…it just means it is engaging and meaningful to the readers and something they can actually enjoy discussing. My students also get angry and argumentative over the topics and themes found in some of our titles, including V for Vendetta and Batman: Dark Knight Returns.”

Let me leave you with this last thought from Bakis. “I don’t know when schools are going to stop jamming uninspiring reading down kids throats and make some room for a wider selection of more culturally relevant titles and media for kids.

I don’t know either, Maureen.

What about you? Do you, will you fight for choice? 

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