A blog following teacher Aaron Jura as he plans engaging, yet relevant English Language Arts content for High School students in New Orleans, LA.
Planning is never easy
I always start with a few good books on the topic I am looking to have students work on. For this particular unit., I selected the following books for my self-study prior to selecting a graphic novel to use or buying any materials:
I also typically peruse a good number of scholarly research articles and pedagogical articles to ensure that I am covering (or not missing out on) all the relevant standards and skills that can be mastered using, in this case, graphic novels and comics.
For this unit I used several great scholarly articles. My favorites are:
How Could It Go Wrong?
Where I am right now
At this moment, I am in the beginning stages of the planning process. While I have reviewed and determined there is a BIG reason why I should use the graphic novel to teach I have not determined exactly what will be emphasized. I think that the basic elements of a story are always important to discuss with the class, the deep themes in V for Vendetta along with the overview of dystopian societies would be good enough to me to warrant an exploration of this engaging storytelling medium.
I also hope to explore how characters are developed in visual form to setup the class for future film study/screen writing units or simply to inform their narrative writing in general.
Remember: Teaching is the Art of Assisting in Discovery
If you always fall back on the fact that, as a teacher, it is your job to assist students in doing the heavy lifting you can not go wrong. Comics and Graphic Novels are engaging, but the questioning and rigor in the classroom should not be compromised for any reason. When I launch this unit I will be sure to update you all with the materials and insights I learned from going high engagement in our classroom readings.
Mr. J is a high school teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. J believes in the power of educators to help children and families achieve. Follow his blog for tips and techniques to keep engagement high and student achievement at the forefront.