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A Super-Villain Ate My Homework Using COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM Nick Kremer Columbia Public Schools University of Missouri nkremer@columbia.k12.mo.us Comics - Overview THE LINGO: Sequential Art Narrative : a series of pictures (with or w/o text) that tell a cohesive story

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a super villain ate my homework
A Super-Villain Ate My Homework

Using COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM

the lingo
THE LINGO:
  • Sequential Art Narrative: a series of pictures (with or w/o text) that tell a cohesive story
  • Comic Strip: ~6 or less frames, on-going series
  • Comic Book: ~24 pages, on-going series
  • Graphic Novel: Full stand-alone book/album
the people
THE PEOPLE:
  • Writer – writes the script (story + dialogue)
  • Artist – draws/lays out the script
  • Letterer – adds text to the drawings
  • Inker – darkens the pencil drawings
  • Colorist – adds color to the drawings
  • Editor – the proofreader and business manager
the history
THE HISTORY:
  • History: Cave Painting, Heiroglyphics, Stain-Glass Windows, Wood Carvings, Illustrations, Political Cartoons, etc.
  • 1896: Richard Outcalt: Voice Bubbles + the Funny Pages (The Yellow Kid, Krazy Kat, Pop-Eye)
  • 1929: Picture Adventures (Dick Tracy, Tarzan)
  • 1932-45: Golden Age of Superheroes (Superman, Batman, Shazam, Wonder Woman, Captain America)
  • 1945: Rise of the Rest: Horror, Romance, Western, Crime, “Adult Themes”
  • 1950s: Seduction of the Innocent + Comics Code
  • 1956-69: Silver Age of Superheroes (DC Revivals: Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Marvel Origins: Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil)
  • 1970s: Underground Comics + Weakening of the Code, Civil Rights
  • 1980s: The Graphic Novel (A Contract with God, Maus, Watchmen)
  • 1990s: The Gimmick Age, Image Comics (Spawn), Vertigo (Sandman)
  • 21st Century: Corporatization and the Comic Book Renaissance
but remember
BUT REMEMBER…
  • Stereotypical comic books are only one genre within the large medium of Sequential Art Narratives
  • Texts rich in popular culture and varying formalist choices are misleadingly complex
but remember11
BUT REMEMBER…
  • Images have to be “read” using critical literacy skills in the same manner that words do
  • Research shows that comics can help improve literacy with struggling readers
but remember13
BUT REMEMBER…
  • Comics are products of their culture and reflect the social values found therein
  • While some comics misrepresent various demographics, others empower them
but remember15
BUT REMEMBER…
  • Class sets, grant money, “sampling,” and scanning are cheap solutions
  • Comics can also be studied in single images or excerpts
but remember17
BUT REMEMBER…
  • Contemporary curricula stress skills, not specific texts, in an era of abundant global multimedia
  • Comics are rich sources for literary and writing lessons
1 literary elements
#1) Literary Elements
  • Comics offer short, accessible stories with lots of concrete examples of abstract literary concepts [Ex: Symbols, Point of View, Character Types, Plot Structure,…]
2 denotation vs connotation
#2) Denotation vs. Connotation
  • Use comic images to practice visual literacy skills: what literally do you see, what does the image suggest, how/why does it make you feel?
3 deconstruction
#3) Deconstruction
  • Comics provide a visual context for discussion on how artists elicit intentional responses from readers using conventions
4 american mythology
#4) American Mythology
  • American comic books reflect our own cultural values + hero myths and should be studied alongside ancient mythology
5 dystopian literature
#5) Dystopian Literature
  • Graphic Novels are a popular medium for contemporary dystopian literature.
6 classic adaptations
#6) Classic Adaptations
  • Comics provide visual references for classic texts (Ex: Shakespeare), aiding in student comprehension and engagement
1 descriptive writing
#1) Descriptive Writing
  • Students can practice attempting to capture all the details of a picture in words, or having pictures drawn from their writing
2 storyboarding a paper
#2) Storyboarding a Paper
  • Students can create storyboards to help organize their writing and visually chart the flow of their papers
3 dialogue
#3) Dialogue
  • Students can use comic scripting as practice for incorporating dialogue into their prose writing.
4 hero narratives
#4) Hero Narratives
  • Comic Books provide models for students to design their own hero myths: origins, powers, battles, personal lives, etc.
5 sequential art narratives
#5) Sequential Art Narratives
  • Incorporate interdisciplinary learning into your Language Arts classroom by having students create their own comics or adapt existing literature.
instructional texts
Instructional Texts
  • Understanding Comics – Scott McCloud
  • Comics and Sequential Art – Will Eisner
  • Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know – Paul Gravett
  • Drawing Words and Writing Pictures – Jessica Abel/Matt Madden
  • The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History – Mike Benton
  • Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels – Dr. James “Bucky” Carter
the comic book project

The Comic Book Project

<www.comicbookproject.org>

the graphic classroom

The Graphic Classroom

<http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com >

national association for comic book educators

National Association for Comic Book Educators

<http://www.teachingcomics.org>

en sane world

EN/SANE World

<http://ensaneworld.blogspot.com>