So, i brought in a copy of Hamlet and a Copy of the Dark Knight(Batman) by Frank Miller...and Walah! the students made a connection between the two...has anybody here thought of using comic books to improve literacy in the classroom...?
We strongly believe that comics can help improve literacy and have recently released Pixton for Schools, a web-based tool where teachers and students create, share, and remix comics in a private, virtual classroom. Teachers and students have used Pixton to write about all kinds of things including literature reviews of Persepolis and Shakespeare. If you're interested in learning more, visit our overview page. Click here for a colorful example of a Pixton comic.
I love using comics for a variety of reasons, but improving literacy is the biggest reason. Graphic novels, comics, stories from video games, etc. Kids connect! Then, the literature piece isn't so daunting!
I write reviews of graphic novels for this site, where we focus on use of comics and graphic novels in the classroom: http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com/. My aim is to think about ways to use graphic novels for writing with students.
I also used a graphic version of the Odyssey when we were reading The Lightning Thief with my sixth graders, which allowed us to talk about the genre of graphic novels and also to connect the concept of the Heroic Journey from one text to the other in a very engaging way.
I think comics and graphic novels have a place in the classroom, if used thoughtfully.
Thought so, I'd blogged about your project. We are struggling with how to get our Google Tours onto our website as kmz downloads.
I tried one of your trips and never got to it using the new Google Earth 5.0??
In November and December my seventh graders read the first volume of Jeff Smith's Bone, and it went over like gangbusters (pardon the antiquated expression). We treated it as a piece of fantasy literature, and therefore focused on the characters as archetypes. The students could not wait to read the next volumes, which I purchased for my class library and could not keep in my classroom until nearly every student (65 in total) had read all nine volumes.
I can't recommend this book enough, even to high school teachers. Though the first volume is funny and lighthearted enough for middle-schoolers to handle, this series was written primarily for adults and has many features of 'high' fantasy.
I had my students use the ComicLife software to create narratives, using Dennis O'Neil's three-act story structure as outlined in The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. I'm actually hoping to find a publisher for this unit.
I've also used "Owly", a wordless comic, with students acquiring English and with all students in helping to polish their narrative writing.
I've also adapted this lesson, which uses the work of Will Eisner, to fit the needs of my students. It was particularly useful in helping students to make predictions and to focus on details such as setting and body language.
High school students studying classical literature could be served by using Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze, Maus (previously mentioned but a fantastic piece), and Journey into Mohawk Country (especially in a cross-curricular setting with Social Studies), to name a few.
I use Beowulf by Gareth Hinds. The art is amazing and the kids love it. The traditional version of Beowulf is far too difficult for my students, so this is a good alternative. We still get through all of the literary elements of the story, but I don't have to drag them through the entire epic stopping to explain every word. We end the unit by watching the movie. They love it!
Our district has bought the Max Axiom series for our schools. The comics explain the science of electricity, sound, digestion, etc... using superheros. I just wanted to let you know that I have a group of boys that read the electricity one (that was the grade six unit we were doing). Since then the have been seeking out the others. I have been practicing note taking / infomation gathering and this is just one more valuable source to use.
Hope this helps.