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!
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians in San Diego. I hope you found the panels helpful!
I mentioned during the panels that I would post an extra resource here. Below is my slide giving an overview of the educational strengths of the comics medium. I will add it as a PDF in my Resources section. You can find my list of research and an article detailing this information there as well. I hope this information is useful!
At SDCC, I was privileged to moderate a great panel on teaching fables, myths, and other tales through graphic novels. The panelists were:
–Alexis Fajardo (Kid Beowulf)
–Jenni Holm (Babymouse)
–Erin Hill (language arts teacher, Ramona High School)
–Cori McDonald (librarian, Ramona High School)
–Talia Hurwich (comics educator, researcher and writer)
Below you will find the slides shown during the panel and an audio recording. Thanks to Lex Fajardo for the recording!
I'm happy to be heading back to San Diego Comic-Con this year. Did you know that educators and librarians can attend panels at the Downtown Library for free? Sign up for the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians and you can attend three days of panels without a con badge. Thursday panels are for librarians, Friday panels are put on by publishers, and Saturday panels are for educators.
And there's an educator and librarian mixer on Thursday evening that looks like fun. Free registration here.
I'll be on two panels Saturday:
3:00 pm, Teaching Fables and Myths with Graphic Novels—Bring fairy tales, fables, folktales, legends, and myths into your classroom using graphic novel adaptations that bring these tales to life. Panelists will discuss how creators' imaginative retellings build depth and complexity in the interplay between text and image and how these stories can be successfully taught in the classroom. Featuring creators Jenni Holm (Babymouse) and Alexis Fajardo (Kid Beowulf), educators Erin Hill (language arts teacher, Ramona High School) and Cori McDonald (librarian, Ramona High School), moderator Tracy Edmunds (Graphic Novels Are Elementary), and surprise panelists.
5:00 pm, Teaching Graphic Novels Across the Curriculum—Dr. Katie Monnin (education director, Pop Culture Classroom), Tracy Edmunds, M.A., Ed. (Graphic Novels Are Elementary), Erin Hill (language arts teacher, Ramona High School), Derek Heid (English/drama teacher, Temecula Valley High School), Scott Westerfeld (Spill Zone, Impostors), and Aron Steinke (Mr. Wolf's Class) explore a number of approaches and blended models for comics in the classroom by connecting these texts and lessons across subject matter areas (math/science/history/English/business, etc.). Pulling input from both educators and creators, the panel will discuss which titles work well across curricular lines, how educators can collaborate to make them effective learning and teaching tools, and how creators can tailor their works to find audiences that span multiple areas of interest for readers. Moderated by Adam Kullberg (education program manager, Pop Culture Classroom).
You can register for the free San Diego Comic-Con library panels here. Hope to see you there!
The secret project I've been working on is up and running! I'm very proud of my long association with the Think Earth Environmental Education Foundation. Recently, my colleagues and I collaborated with fantastic cartoonist Joey Weiser, creator of the Mermin series, to create two original comics to teach kids about waste. The comics and the accompanying classroom guide are available free on the Think Earth site. You'll just need to complete a quick registration and log in and then you can download both comics and the classroom guide. Here are the details:
Join Eek the alien and Commander Phred to learn all about Earth's waste systems, including how we use natural resources, where our trash and wastewater come from, where they go, and how to reduce the amount of solid waste and wastewater we produce.
Waste Invaders Part 1 covers how humans:
Waste Invaders Part 2 addresses:
The activity guide includes vocabulary, discussion questions, and suggested activities. Click to access these free resources!
My new elementary STEM series from Teacher Created Resources arrives in March! I designed these hands-on challenges to get kids thinking, doing, and having fun while experiencing phenomena, discovering new concepts, and designing solutions to compelling problems.
Each challenge is designed for students to experience either the engineering design process or scientific inquiry.
• In the engineering challenges, students create a solution to a problem and evaluate the effectiveness of their solutions. They use the engineering design process—ask, imagine, plan, build, test, improve—to arrive at the best solution they can under the constraints of the challenge. In these challenges, students must think creatively, meaning the final solutions will (and should) vary widely; there are no “right” answers. Solutions are evaluated by the class based on how well they solve the given problem.
• For scientific inquiry challenges, scaffolding is provided to give students experience in exploring questions, testing hypotheses, recording data, and evaluating evidence. Although not as student-driven or open-ended as the engineering challenges, in most of these challenges the questions and hypotheses are created by students (within the parameters of the challenge), so they are deciding what to test and how to test it. They set up and carry out their planned tests, record and analyze data, and come to their own conclusions, which are then evaluated by the class.
As Adam Savage of the Mythbusters says: “The only difference between (messing) around and science is writing it down.” Throughout the challenges, students record their thoughts, ideas, procedures, data, and more on paper. In some cases they answer questions that help lead them through an investigation or set them up for success in a challenge. At other times they record data as they collect it, and then analyze to come to a conclusion or result. And in engineering challenges they do their planning and evaluating on paper. At the end of each challenge, students write about their experience by answering reflection questions to pull everything together.
Because I always write with teachers in mind, the challenges call for classroom supplies you probably already have, recycled materials (think paper towel tubes and scratch paper), and sometimes a few items from the dollar store. For many of the challenges the material choices are quite flexible, making it easy to use materials you already have.
First graders engineer bubble wands, marble obstacle courses, and bridges to help the chicken cross the road!
Second graders test invisible inks, paper helicopters, and every kid’s favorite...SLIME!
Third graders crash test toy cars, flip bottles, and engineer cup towers.
Fourth graders engineer solar heaters to make s’mores, create games using the five main human senses, and (my favorite) engineer giant bird beaks to eat giant food!
Fifth graders crate games using Bernoulli’s principle, and engineer green roof models, water filters, and marble rollercoasters.
Bonus: I just finished the Kindergarten book, which will be out late next year!
Pop Culture Classroom has created a FREE, bi-weekly comic strip called Colorful History, with the goal of educating students about significant and diverse characters and events from Colorado’s history. Many of these pieces would be great in classrooms across the country, such as the comics on astronaut Scott Carpenter, diplomat Madeleine Albright, and Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American Academy Award winner. Included alongside each full color two-page comic is a teacher guide, and many of them include scripts and artist roughs as well. See all of the resources HERE.
I will be creating teacher guides for these great comics over the next few months. My first lesson is for the comic about pioneer Francis Wisebart Jacobs, founder of what is now the United Way. Click on an image to see the comic and resources.
AMP! has posted a few new lessons I wrote for their graphic novels.
As always, these books are highly engaging and tons of fun! The lessons are Common Core aligned and help students analyze both text and images in these graphic novels. You can access all of AMP's free educator resources at http://www.ampkids.com/guides.
This year, SDCC hosted four days of panels and workshops for educators and librarians at the San Diego Public Library. I put together some great panel discussions for teachers on Saturday. For each panel, I've created a list of great comics and graphic novels, and some slides for the panels I moderated - click the links to download. I am still trying to chase down a link to the videos for these panels - will update when I get them!
10:00 - 11:00 Once Upon a Time: Teaching Fables, Fairy Tales, and Myths with Comics and Graphic Novels
Chris Duffy (editor of Fable Comics, Fairy Tale Comics, Nursery Rhyme Comics, and the SpongeBob Comics series), Alexis Fajardo (Kid Beowulf), Ben Hatke (Mighty Jack), Kel McDonald (Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales), and Trina Robbins (Pretty in Ink, Wonder Woman), and moderator Tracy Edmunds, M.A.Ed. (Graphic Novels are Elementary!) Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library
Fairy Tale, Myth, & Fable Comics List
Fairy Tale, Myth, & Fable Slides
11:00 – 12:00 Teaching History with Graphic Novels
Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales), Jonathan Hennessey (The U.S. Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation, The Comic Book Story of Video Games), Tim Smyth (High school history teacher), Illya Kowalchuk, M. Ed. (Pop Culture Classroom), Amy Chu (Publisher, Alpha Girl Comics), and moderator Tom Racine, moderator (Tall Tale Radio) Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library
History Comics and Graphic Novels List
1:00 – 2:00 Teaching STEM with Comics
Paige Braddock (Stinky Cecil, Creative Director Schulz Studio), Jim McClain (Solution Squad), Betsy Gomez (CBLDF), Jen Aprahamian (CTO of VINA), Mairghread Scott (Writer, Transformers: Till All Are One, Guardians of the Galaxy), Rebecca Thompson, PhD (Head of Public Outreach, American Physical Society), and moderator Tracy Edmunds, M.A.Ed. (Graphic Novels are Elementary!) Shiley Special Events Suite, San Diego Central Public Library
STEM Comics and Graphic Novels List
STEM Panel Slides
And Jim McClain will be presenting a workshop on teaching math with Solution Squad. You won't want to miss this!
2:00 – 3:00 Solution Squad: Teaching Math Through Comics — Veteran teacher Jim McClain presents Solution Squad, an all-ages comic featuring superheroes with powers and names based on math concepts. There is math embedded in every single page of the 32-page comic book. This workshop will take you through Solution Squad #1 step-by-step, showing how the digitally projectable and print comics can be used for direct instruction, as mnemonics for vocabulary and as springboards for deeper mathematical conversations and explorations that will stick with students throughout their entire school careers.
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.