Some students appear to be non-readers but in fact, they are voracious readers. They are readers of comic books who hide it because the books they read are often labeled "unimportant." I want to teach a 10 week course that gives these readers the skills and language to combat that accusation.
My students are urban minorities, most of whom qualify for free lunch.
They cannot afford to have fancy libraries in their apartments, but comic books are relatively cheap and can be easily shared among friends. As comic books are as popular today as ever, there is a sizable group of students who read them regularly. They are amazed when they come across a teacher who also reads comic books.
A class discussion about good and evil led to a deeper discussion about whether Superman was the only truly good superhero (because, Miss, he never kills anyone for revenge!) and inspired me to create a course just for these students: "Great Responsibility" - Analyzing History Through Comic Books. Our school has the perfect set up for just such a class, offering 10 week elective cycles that would allow me to teach the class 4 times in a school year and reach at least 100 students. This will give them a chance to shine in a class they are excited to take.
Most of the students who would be interested in a class such as this are struggling students. They don't want to read "regular" books, so they are often failing or dragging the bottom of their English classes. The 35 copies of "Understanding Comics" and the 2 copies of "Making Comics" will give my students a text book and a course where they can rise up academically because they enjoy the work they are doing.
They will be able to analyze the interrelatedness of comics and historical events, they will develop a vocabulary of critical language to speak about comics in an informed and academic way. They will learn the research skills critical to college success and they will gain a deeper appreciation for comic books that they may currently be overlooking. Namely, the idea that comics tell a story about our country's history. They will even be given the opportunity to work on a differentiated group project and write their own short comics.
Elective classes inspire students because they have real control over what they are studying.
They inspire teachers because we get the chance to teach something we truly love. I want my elective students to have the chance to get an A+ studying something they love, raising their grade point average, and gaining the literacy and writing skills necessary to be successful in college and beyond.
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