visual comics

Taking it to the authorship stage by making comics was clearly valuable.  Their written reflections demonstrated the creativity and insight they used in making the comics.  What on the surface might look like hastily drawn comics now look like thoughtful first drafts, or thumbnails.  I would love to see what they could create with more than one day to make the comics. Also, as I watched my...
The student reflections suggest tremendous growth.  Though few of them claim joy at being assigned Thoreau’s essay in the first place, they clearly put thought into the visual rhetoric of their comics.  Here is a sampling of comments from their reflections: I made a point to emphasize the quirky comfort that Thoreau felt in prison [by showing that the prisoners’] expressions are content. The...
Students need critical awareness of visual rhetoric for a variety of reasons, but one big reason is the increase of time spent in digital environments where visual elements mix readily with traditional text.  Comics might seem like an antiquated response to this need, but making comics allowed us to explore the basic elements of visual literacy in only a week.  If we had more time, I would gladly...
 A range of students’ comics are linked here, with two also posted below.  Their comics vary widely in artistic quality, but that is fine.  The elements we practiced don’t depend on aesthetics.  The student samples show the range, from stick figures drawn in pencil (fig. 1) to more polished work that uses color (fig. 2), but all of them show students trying out elements of visual design: zooming...
The old and oft-maligned genre of comics offers us one possible answer and a unique way to include visual literacy without having to wildly alter the classroom curriculum.  Here’s how it worked for me. My AP Lang class reads Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” as an anchor text in a short synthesis unit about the freedom of speech.  In the past few years, I’ve taught a visual...
ThoreauMirrorImage_0.jpg A Closer Look Shows a Different Crisis  The media insists that the American educational system is in a state of crisis, but this is exaggerated at best and a total load of malarkey at worst.  Schools in America are achieving as well as or better than ever before—an argument made quite well by Paul Farhi at the American Journalism Review.  ...
Introduction: Language Arts is, at its core, about teaching students to effectively express themselves and to accurately interpret the communication of others, so I’ve always thought that divisions between English and Art were arbitrary and counterintuitive.  Both use the same tools – connotation/denotation, critical thinking, inferences from context clues, cultural influences, creative elements...
Step 1: Formulate a Narrative             Some graphic novelists start from scratch and visually draft their narrative as they go, acting as both writer and illustrator; others create visual adaptations of existing prose work, “translating” the written word into visual-verbal form; still others work in collaboration from the onset, in a partnership where a writer creates a narrative script that...
One genre example that has been well liked by the boys is comic writing.  I use Toondoo (www.toondoo.com) in my multi-genre project. Toondoo is a free digital tool where students can create cartoons or comic strips as one other possible genre to use when expressing what they have learned about their topic.  Boys particularly like the creativity involved behind using this resource.  The website...