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TeachNet Grant: Creating an online Graphic Story

Brent Sackris
mailto:brent.sackris@gmail.com

GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL


Grade/Subject: High School: Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Computing Skills

About the Grant:

Students spend several weeks reading and learning about the differences between the novel and graphic novel format.  Building familiarity with graphic novels can entice some of the most reluctant readers without sacrificing a story that one can relate to and talk about. Graphic novel study helps to assuage the fear some struggling readers may have when they are asked to open up any novel for classroom lecture and discussion.

How This Grant was Adapted:

As discussed on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) website, “Comics and graphic novels can be used as a ‘point of reference’ to bridge what students already know with what they have yet to learn. For example, comics and graphic novels can teach about making inferences, since readers must rely on pictures and just a small amount of text. By helping students transfer this skill, teachers can lessen the challenge of a new book.”

Students will also be discussing the highlights of Joseph Campbell's novels, The Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth.

Materials: iMacs/pcs, internet connection, printer, ink, printer paper,selected readings, and projector

Objectives

Students will be able to identify key characteristics of the Hero persona across time and cultures and be able to give multiple examples of each from both a historical and contemporary text

Students will understand how to make inferences from both graphic and traditional novels

Students will be able to identify common hero themes between two or more texts

Students will transform part of a novel into a graphic novel using computer software to highlight one facet of the hero's journey, making context specific transformations

Students will transform part of a graphic novel into a traditional text to highlight one facet of the hero's journey, making context specific transformations

Websites Used

toondoo.com

A web 2.0 site that lets students create and share comics online (free)


http://plasq.com/comiclife-win

Low-cost software for windows and mac that also allows for creation of comics. (Offers a free 30-day trial)

http://readwritethink.org/student_mat/student_material.asp?id=69

This interactive tool provides students with background on the hero’s journey and gives them a chance to explore several of the journey’s key elements.

http://slideshare.net/josh89/toondoo-tutorial-josh-presentation 
Toondoo Tutorial

http://macinstruct.com/node/69
A good guide to using Comic Life for Mac users.

http://docstoc.com/docs/2138423/Comic-Life-Tutorial
Comic life tutorial

Standards Addressed:

NY State language art standards 1-4.

1. Students will read, write, speak for information and understanding.

2. Students will read, write, speak for literary response and expression.

3. Students will read, write, speak for critical analysis and evaluation.

4. Students will read, write, speak for social interaction.

NY State MST standards 2, 5, 6

Standard 2:   Information Systems

 Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

Standard 5:   Technology

Students will apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.

Standard 6:   Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science, and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

http://emsc.nysed.gov/nysatl/mathstand.html

Lesson 1:

Day 1: The Hero's Journey
Objectives

Students will learn the key parts of the hero's journey as adapted from the text/dvd by teacher
Students will be able to identify heroes throughout history who fit the characteristics of the hero's journey as identified by teacher and explain how they fit those traits

Materials
The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth w/ Bill Moyers DVD (optional)
Contemporary historical hero material that matches the major points covered by teacher from Campbell's text (suggestions, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, Greek Mythology, Alexander the Great, the Buddha, Jesus, Egyptian Mythology, Star Trek, The Matrix, The Terminator series, Lord of the Rings, Many civil rights' leaders biopics could fit into this structure)
Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Joseph Campbell: In Search of the Modern Myth (Paperback) by Stephan Rauch (optional)

Procedures
Whole group introduction and explanation of selected points of Campbell's book (for example, the "Call to Adventure" and the "Refusal of the Call"
Students must take notes/summarize why these steps are significant for the Hero.
Students are given time to peruse other selected texts.  Students must find one contemporary and one historical example of a hero making one (or both) of these steps given in the material provided.  Students must identify the hero, the time period, the step the hero took, and the reasons behind that hero's step.
Teacher provides time for discussion and to create a chart based on students' responses.  Students can see overlap between different heroes throughout time (Teacher should ensure that all groups of students are select different materials for broader comparison)

Homework
Students assigned reading or clip from Cambell book or DVD.
Assessment
Students have to identify the hero phase/trait from homework, summarize Campbell's examples, and provide an example from a text/movie they are familiar with, supporting their decision. 

Lesson 2:

Day 2: Understanding Graphic Novels

Objectives
Students look at passages from selected texts and compare/contrast features of graphic novels and traditional novels.
Students can discuss differences between the way authors' of each handle dialogue, character description, exposition, etc.  Teacher can make a chart on the board or students can work in small groups and then share out.

Materials
The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth w/ Bill Moyers DVD (optional)
Contemporary historical hero material that matches the topic points covered by teacher from Campbell's text (suggestions, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, Greek Mythology, Alexander the Great, the Buddha, Jesus, Egyptian Mythology, Star Trek, The Matrix, The Terminator series, Lord of the Rings, Many civil rights' leaders biopics could fit into this structure)
Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Joseph Campbell: In Search of the Modern Myth (Paperback) by Stephan Rauch (optional)

Homework
Students identify which pages in text that they will translate into graphic novel form.  They also must pick a chapter or selection that highlights a concept from Campbell.

Lesson 3:

Day 3: Using an online tool to create a graphic story

Objectives
Students will be able to select either toondoo.com or comiclife software to create their text to graphic novel creation.
Students will be able to correctly identify which aspect from Campbell's book they are highlighting in their comic transfer.
Students will be able to justify the changes that they made from the text to comic transition.
Students will be able to share their creation through some online medium (either the toondoo.com website, or a class blog, etc)
Students will be able to identify the pages in their text that they are translating to comic form.
Materials
Computers,Web browser, Comic Life Software, Internet Access

Procedures
Teacher demonstrates use of selected software(s)
Teacher informs students that they should not try to transfer the whole novel, or even several chapters into graphic novel form, but instead focus on a sequence that highlights part of the hero's journey, myth and characteristics from Campbell's text
Teacher takes page numbers of book that student is using and verifies the Campbell connection. 
Teacher makes sure students have toondoo.com logins and keeps track of student login names.
Teacher provides at least 2 lab periods for students to get started on project and ask questions.
Teacher should have students not only share the connection their passage has to Campbell, but the teacher should also have students justify why they chose to transfer what they did from the the text into comic form.

Homework
Teachers should make sure that every student has two other students to offer constructive feedback/comments too. (This is easy to do with the toondoo website; comic life also has similar features, teacher could set up class blog for students to post work in progress)
Assessment
See example below -- teacher can use this to assess variety of understanding -- this is just a guideline.  Teacher could also perhaps have students perform a 'gallery walk' or their toons inside the classroom, or do the net version of this activity.

Lesson 4

Day 4: Translating a graphic novel into textObjectives
Students will perform same task as above, except they will translate a scene from a graphic novel into text.

Materials
Selected readings, word processor, internet access

Procedures
Teacher informs students that they should not try to transfer the whole graphic novel, or even several chapters of the graphic novel into text, but instead focus on a sequence that highlights part of the hero's journey, myth and characteristics from Campbell's text.

Teacher takes page numbers of book that student is using and verifies the Campbell connection.  

Teacher can encourage students to sign up for gmail accounts so he/she can check written progress using shared doc features.

Teacher provides at least 2 lab periods for students to get started on project and ask questions.

Teacher should have students not only share the connection their passage has to Campbell, but the teacher should also have students justify why they chose to transfer what they did from the the comic into the text form.

Homework
Students should try to identify overlapping themes between the selected texts

Assessment
Same as for previous day -- Teacher could also require internet feedback by students for written portion.

Lesson 5:

Day 5:  Sharing what we've learned
Objectives

Students will be able to share their knowledge of this unit in an essay

Materials

Computers, projector, MS Office software, printer, paper

Procedures

Students are permitted to use notes in drafting an essay

Students will explain the choices they've made in this unit,

Assessment

Essay examinations are graded with respect to breadth and depth. Students are observed working on projects, noting those having technical problems with equipment or who type slowly so as not to penalize them on the basis of these factors. Note is also taken of constructive collaboration and enthusiastic engagement. Computer lab folders are collected to assess amount and quality of work on projects, including adherence to guidelines to protect their identity.

Brent Sackris holds a master’s of social sciences degree in psychology from The University of Chicago and a master’s of science degree in Special Education from Long Island University. He has collaborated in the past with the following museums to create education outreach opportunities The Museum of Science and Industry, Scitech Hands On Museum, American Museum of Natural History and The Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. He is a recipient of the following grants which helped to fund innovative learning experiences: Motorola Innovation Generation Grant, UFT MiniGrant, and Donor's Choose.

 

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