By Adrian Neibauer
Last year, in a desperate attempt to motivate my surprisingly large class of reluctant boys to read, I broke out my old comic book collection. It was teach by whatever means necessary as we navigated through the stacks of tattered comics I probably thought would be worth big money some day in the future. The response was overwhelming! In order to keep afloat, I applied for and won a grant to create my own classroom comic book curriculum, and supply my students with newer and better comic and graphic novels.
I now read more comics and graphic novels than I ever did as a kid. I write lesson plans for staff development around graphic novels and male literacy, specifically tying reading strategies to graphic literature. I still haven’t had a chance to present to my staff, but I keep bugging the administration…. One day I will get a staff meeting.
I teach fifth grade at Rolling Hills Elementary School in the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. Every lesson I do that incorporates graphic literature may not be a huge success, but I get my students’ attention. I am convinced that one day a student will nostalgically look back at his elementary school career and proudly proclaim, “Superman taught me to read!”
Currently, I am earning my Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Colorado at Denver, which has given me a great opportunity to take my comic book curriculum into the 21st century and explore digital comics and new ways of presenting comic literature to students. I have been teaching for eight years. I am a Colorado native and went to school in the same district I now teach. I have been married for eight years and have three amazing children: two boys and a baby girl.