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Graphic Novels in the Classroom Creative Learning Factory workshop. NERC April 3, 2012 Katie Furdeck. Personal and Political. How do we increase the relevance of historical events? How do we encourage historical empathy?. Why Graphic Novels?. They align to the standards!.

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Graphic novels in the classroom creative learning factory workshop

Graphic Novels in the ClassroomCreative Learning Factory workshop


April 3, 2012

Katie Furdeck

Personal and political
Personal and Political

  • How do we increase the relevance of historical events?

  • How do we encourage historical empathy?

Why graphic novels
Why Graphic Novels?

They align to the standards!

  • They are also interdisciplinary!

They encourage historical thinking!

They encourage 21st Century Skills like Media Literacy, Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and Critical Thinking!

Why graphic novels1
Why Graphic Novels?

They meet kids where they are!

Relatable, Multilayered, Visual,


Visual literacy
Visual Literacy

  • Reading or writing of visual texts

65% of the population are visual learners

Maus by art spiegelman
Mausby Art Spiegelman

  • VladekSpiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, the cartoonist

  • Nazis are cats and Jews are mice

Barefoot gen by keiji nakazawa
Barefoot Gen byKeijiNakazawa

  • Manga series from an artist born in Hiroshima City

  • Based on experiences of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima

Onward towards our noble deaths by shigeru mizuk i
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki

  • Fictionalizes the real-life experiences of the author stationed in the Pacific in 1943 during WWII

Alan s war by emmanuel guibert
Alan’s War by Emmanuel Guibert

  • Following a chance meeting, it’s the story of Alan Cope’s experiences as an American G.I. during WW II

Why graphic novels2
Why Graphic Novels?

  • Offers more of a holistic picture of events than the typical survey approach provided by most textbooks

    • Multiple characters = multiple perspectives

    • Multiple perspectives = weighing evidence

    • Weighing evidence = critical thinking

  • Opportunities for new voices

Creating a graphic novel
Creating a Graphic Novel

  • Main Characters

  • Secondary Characters

  • Plot

  • Conflict

  • Text

  • Illustrations

Main character
Main Character

  • Main character should have one or two easily identifiable dominate traits

  • Present traits through text and illustrations

  • The audience should be able to identify with the denominate traits

  • Let the illustrations present physical details of the main character

Secondary characters
Secondary Characters

  • Villains: Block the main character from reaching goals. (The Green Goblin in Spider-Man)

  • Allies: Assist the main character in reaching goals. (Robin in Batman)

  • Mentors: Wise characters that help the main character. (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars)

  • Jokers: Lighten things up! Often the main character's best friend is a joker. (Donkey in Shrek)

Graphic novels in the classroom creative learning factory workshop

  • The resolution should teach a lesson but not be didactic

  • Jump right into the main conflict of the story

  • Flashbacks can be confusing

    • May need creative visuals to signal flashbacks

Plot conflict
Plot: Conflict

  • Limit to one conflict the main character has to overcome

  • The main character should deal with the main conflict in concrete terms

  • The main character should resolve the conflict herself

  • Four common types of conflict: IvI, IvSelf, IvN, IvSoc

  • Common concerns of children and young adults: acceptance by others, family dynamics, physical growth, fear of the unknown

Graphic novels in the classroom creative learning factory workshop

  • Simple sentences and short paragraphs

  • Active verbs make it exciting

  • Literary tools: rhythm, alliteration, repetition, personification, etc.

Graphic history studio
Graphic History Studio

  • Using one of the primary sources in your packet as inspiration, create one page from a graphic novel

  • Use the activity sheet to organize your thoughts

    • Building Your Characters

    • Brainstorming Your Plot

  • Draw a page!

  • After 15 minutes, you’ll share your story with the larger group