Sunday, May 11, 2008

CHILDREN CREATE COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM; CURRICULUM COVERED

It took them over a week to make write their stories and make their pages, but the fifth graders in the classroom where I am a practicum student created their very first comics. The assignment was to create a comic that included one of the biomes we were studying in science. To create more authenticity, The Graphic Classroom held a contest. The top three comics, as judged by an independent panel, would be scanned and published at TGC. All comics were posted on the bulletin board in the hallway. Here are the top three in no particular order:


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BUG
By Breanne














UNTITLED
By Corrine





JIMMY THE ANT
by Noah









I wanted a lot of creativity and a baseline from which to build, so I gave them wide parameters and few requirements.
  • Minimum of 2 pages and maximum of 10 pages, plus a cover.
  • Cannot be a wordless comic (this time).
  • Must include one of the biomes we are studying in science as a setting.
I split the students into groups, from which each group picked one of the writing prompts provided. Groups could also create a prompt of their own, but it had to be approved by me and the classroom teacher (although no one choose their own prompt). Each student within the group had to write about the group’s chosen prompt, but each child was responsible for his or her own individual comic. The writing prompts are as follows:
  • Writing Prompt 1: A Day in the Life of a Bug
  • Writing Prompt 2: The Hero
  • Writing Prompt 3: Friendship
  • Writing Prompt 4: The Worst Day at School
  • Writing Prompt 5: Someone has a Secret
  • Writing Prompt 6: It’s Gone!
  • Writing Prompt 7: On Being Different
I encouraged the students to make an outline and I modeled the process to help them. Very few students took advantage, choosing instead to get started. I allowed this as I wanted to see what the students were capable of doing on their own. From this assessment, I can better tell what the students need to work on and can then design lessons to address those specific topics.

Learning
Overall, the class have a hard time writing a cohesive story with a strong beginning, middle and end. Many of the stories start out strong, but then have weak or nonexistent endings. Focusing on the basics of the story and pre-writing would help them craft stronger stories. That is where I would begin my writing lessons. A few students had a hard time with coming up with an idea to write about. I suspect that may occur when they are forced to write about what the group decides to write about. Therefore, I would allow the individual students freedom in writing. I might, however, require them to share their story ideas (outlines) with the group and get feedback from peers.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

These are fantastic comics!
Thanks to you and your students for sharing and for giving me some more ideas for my classroom.
I appreciate it
Kevin