This Comics Workshop took place at the John D. Perkins, Sr., School in Marlow, NH.Â The community wanted to celebrate the dedication of a new school library and nature walk for two retiring long-time teachers, so we gathered together in the sweltering heat to draw comics about “Awesome Teachers” we had known (or wished we could have known)!
First, students in grades 1-6 gathered to talk about comics.Â (Everyone was dripping with sweat from the hottest recess so far this year!)Â We read aloud through comics like “It’s Alive” and “How to Create Comics.”Â We also discussed practices like P.I.E. and margins, and then we dove right into our own artwork.
Students and teachers sat down together to draw, and we were all surprised at the variety of sights and stories that emerged.Â Guided by our theme of “Awesome Teachers,” we practiced applying our imaginations to true stories of school and learning.Â Some artists created fantasies about their favorite teachers, while others created everyday Diary Comic-style strips.
Several students discovered interesting challenges like word bubble order and masking effects (level of detail) as they worked to make their stories readable.Â Everyone practiced quick peer conferences, and yes, we all felt the pressure of an inexorable deadline.Â (The school bus would arrive at 3:00 sharp, no “wiggle” room in the schedule!)
We displayed our comics on a gallery wall.Â During the evening’s dedication ceremonies, the families and friends of Marlow read through them and enjoyed our stories.Â Many of the comics ended up being about the retiring teachers, Mrs. Wyman and Mrs. Cunningham, which added a touching sense of completion to the evening’s ceremonies.
This program demonstrates Comics’ power to foster imaginative storytelling and literacy-richÂ arts integration.Â It also provides a rich, readable record of how each student thinks about schooling and education, including a collective articulation of the school’s instructional culture from all sides.
Here are some sample comics from our gallery (click to enlarge & read!):