As part of San Diego Comic-Con at Home 2020, I moderated a recorded panel featuring some amazing educators talking about analyzing graphic texts with students. Stay tuned for video and resources!
WonderCon lives on! Due to the necessary cancellation of large gatherings, WonderCon is sharing recordings of panels online. An amazing group of educators got together to record a panel on analyzing graphic texts with students -- this is one of the best panels I've ever been a part of! Each teacher walks you through how they use and analyze comics with students, covering all levels from kindergarten through high school and beyond.
You Have to Read the Pictures, Too: Visual Literacy and Analyzing Graphic Texts with Students
In this crash course in text analysis for graphic novels, educators demonstrate techniques and tools for building students' critical literacy skills with graphic texts at all grade levels. Join us as we demonstrate how to lead students in analyzing the elements of comics and the unique combination of art and text, share resources, and discuss challenges. We share tips, activities, and vocabulary you can use with your students tomorrow!
Panelists: Laurence Tan (LAUSD and Teaching Tolerance Teacher of the Year), Derek Heid (high school English Language Arts, TVUSD), Shveta Miller (Literacy Specialist and Author), Jennifer Naumann (7th Grade ELA), Tracy Edmunds (Graphic Novels Are Elementary!), and moderator Betsy Gomez (Banned Books Week)
Moderator Betsy Gomez's slides from this panel, including many links to resources
Tracy Edmunds' slides on analyzing not-so-simple Hello Kitty comics
Laurence Tan's slides on an ethnic studies approach to critical media literacy using comics
Jennifer Naumann's resource on analyzing splash pages
Shveta Miller's slides on analyzing panels from Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
Derek Heid's slides on analyzing Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon
Now that all school is homeschool, parents are in need of help! You don't need to freak out -- there are so many amazing free things for kids and parents out there. Here are some of my favorite free online resources.
Free Resource Lists
Common Sense Media provides a ton of links to great resources, including schedules for live classes and activities, lesson plans, virtual tours and storytimes, and games.
We Are Teachers has put together a huge list of resources, including lists of the best educational TV shows, videos, and apps.
Excellent activities and videos, searchable by grade level, from PBS Learning Media. Their lessons and interactive activities are excellent for all grade levels.
YouTube Learn at Home (partnered with Khan Academy) lists channels for different ages, e.g. Families with kids 13 and older, families with kids 5 and up, families with preschoolers.
Look for your favorite authors and artists on Twitter and Facebook – many are doing read aloud or draw along videos and providing free activities.
For Younger Kids
Sesame Workshop offers free videos, activities, coloring pages, ebooks, and more.
Ranger Rick is offering free digital magazines.
Free super-fun videos and activities from Go Noodle for families. Highly recommended!
Here's a parent-friendly guide to the free Khan Academy Kids app, along with schedules, printable resources, and circle time videos.
For Older Kids
Khan Academy provides free learning resources and information for parents, including examples of daily schedules. It's the go-to site for students looking for help in any subject area.
This is cool: sign up to Skype a Scientist! You can also view their recorded events with scientists who study everything from bacteria to planets.
MIT Full STEAM Ahead provides activities, tools, and lessons for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) for kids, in partnership with the New York Times, offers creative writing tools and challenges.
Dealing with Feelings
How to Talk to Little Learners About Coronavirus from PBS
Supporting Kids’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic from We Are Teachers.
I'm excited to announce that the newest Think Earth environmental education unit is online and available free! Stellar cartoonist Andy Hirsch (Science Comics: Dogs, Science Comics: Trees, and Science Comics: Cats) created Rosa and Able, a pair of hilarious pigeons that help kids learn about pollution. These two 8-page comics, called Pollution is for the Birds, in combination with the Classroom Guide, help students learn the causes and effects of air, water, and soil pollution, and learn ways to reduce pollution. This unit is aimed at 5th grade students but really can be used in grades 4-6.
All of the Think Earth K-5 units are available free online. Just complete the simple registration (don't worry, we don't share email addresses with anyone) and you can download everything, including comics, videos, pre- and posttests, student pages, teacher guides, and more.
Interestingly, we found in our testing that kids didn't understand the title because they were unfamiliar with the idiom "for the birds." We were curious about the origins of this phrase, so we did a little digging and found out that in the days before cars and trucks birds were often drawn to the undigested oats in horse droppings in the street. Thus, if something is for the birds, it's poop! Pollution is definitely for the birds.
And don't forget that our 4th grade unit, Waste Invaders, featuring comics by the brilliant Joey Wiser, is also available on the Think Earth site.
Comics and graphic novels are powerful educational tools. But what if you or your students have never read comics? Try my 3-page PDF on "How to Read Comics." It lays out the basics to get you started.
And here's a one-page version with a white background for easier printing. I know teachers have to horde color ink like dragons!
For older or more advanced audiences, I recommend Jessica Abel's excellent free resource, downloadable here.
Below is video of our San Diego Comic-Con panel, "You Have to Read the Pictures, Too: Visual Literacy and Analyzing Graphic Texts with Students." I really enjoyed our wide-ranging discussion on the power of comics in the classroom and I hope it will be helpful to educators, librarians, and creators.
Thank you to all of the panelists! Follow them on Twitter for great comics information and discussion:
Rachelle Cruz @rawqeli
Derek Heid @MrHeid_TVHS
Laurence Tan @LTzy11
Tony Weaver, Jr. @TonyWeaverJr
And be sure to get Talia Hurwich and Meryl Jaffe's fantastic new book: Worth a Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal Literacy.
Please share this post so that more educators can learn from these engaging, experienced experts!
San Diego Comic-Con was tons of fun and so busy! I was involved with four different panels at the Central Library. Below are the names and social media handles of most of the panelists, along with resources and slides from the two panels I moderated. There’s a lot of great information here! Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to follow up on anything.
You Have to Read the Pictures, Too: Visual Literacy & Analyzing Graphic Texts with Students
Rachelle Cruz (UC Riverside, Experiencing Comics) Twitter: @rawqeli
Derek Heid (high school English Language Arts, TVUSD) Twitter: @MrHeid_TVHS
Talia Hurwich (NYU, Worth A Thousand Words)
Laurence Tan (LAUSD and Teaching Tolerance Teacher of the Year) IG/Snapchat/Twitter: LTzy11
Tony Weaver Jr. (founder, Weird Enough Productions; Forbes 30 Under 30) Twitter: @TonyWeaverJr
Aron Nels Steinke (Elementary teacher, creator of the Mr. Wolf’s Class series) Twitter: @mrwolfcomics
Thank you to Rachelle Cruz for these fantastic resources:
Click here to download a PDF of the slides from this panel.
Science and History in Comics
Thank you to Ryan Mita and the Children’s Book Council!
Jeffrey Brown (Jedi Academy, Lucy & Andy Neanderthal) Instagram @jeffreybrownrq
Jim Ottaviani (Primates, Feynman, Hawking) Twitter: @gtlabsrat
MK Reed (Science Comics: Dinosaurs, Science Comics: Wild Weather) Twitter: @yesthatmkreed
Emily Whitten (writer, The Underfoot) Twitter: @theemilyesse
Ben Fisher (writer, The Underfoot) Twitter: @benjaminpfisher
Michelle Nguyen (artist, The Underfoot) Twitter: @KuBits
Click here to download a PDF of the slides from this panel (includes title suggestions).
Ask Me Anything: Pick Educators’ and Creators’ Brains on Comics in the Classroom
Meryl Jaffe (Johns Hopkins University, Worth a Thousand Words)
Derek Heid (HS ELA, TVUSD)
Mark Seigel (5 Worlds) Twitter: @marksiegelbooks
James Parks (Rickety Stitch)
Gina Gagliano (Penguin Random House) Twitter: @_GinaGagliano
Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules) Twitter: @jimmygownley
moderator Talia Hurwich (NYU, Worth a Thousand Words)
Heroes of S.T.E.A.M.: Kids Doing Research Through Gaming
Jim McClain (Solution Squad) Twitter: @TheJimMcClain
Jon Loftus (University of Notre Dame's Center for Environmental Science and Technology)
Get the game through the Kickstarter: http://www.heroesofsteam.com
Thank you to everyone who came to our panel "Engaging Students in STEM with Graphic Novels" and to the fantastic panelists: Mairghred Scott, Yehudi Mercado, Betsy Gomez, Isabel Morales, and Derek Heid. It was an insightful and entertaining discussion!
What education-related panels would you like to see at San Diego Comic-Con? Click CONTACT and let me know!
My first trip to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle was a blast! I met so many fantastic educators and creators and talked a lot about comics in education. Thanks to everyone who came to our panels! If you have any questions or need information, please send a message through my Contact page and I'll get back to you right away. And check out my Resources page for plenty of free information.
On Saturday I moderated the panel, "Can You Suggest a Good Comic With No Butts and No Guts? Exploring Amazing Elementary and Middle Grade Comics and Graphic Novels." Our panelists had so many great ideas around why kids should read comics, what makes a good comic for kids, and how to find the best titles. Here are some resources to help you find the best books:
ALSC Graphic Novels Reading Lists: K-2 and 3-5
Texas Little Mavericks List for grades K-5
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards
ALA Youth Media Awards
(Caldecott, Newberry, etc.)
Dwayne McDuffie Awards for Diversity in Comics
School Library Journal: Good Comics for Kids
We Need Diverse Comics on Facebook
I have updated my Comics in Education: Research citations list. It now includes 16 research studies and resources in the following categories:
If you know of any more relevant research, please let me know so I can add it!
Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store for more graphic novel classroom resources!
Tracy Edmunds is an educational consultant specializing in curriculum development, project and online management, editing, and writing.