No, this doesn’t mean of off hiatus, although it will be more sooner than later as the school year is winding down. This comic is actually the sample I produced to get my third graders starting to think about graphic storytelling. This is a science comic so we all started off with the same experience- dissecting a cow’s eye. The kids were able to see and feel the various parts, but adults did the cutting. We started the entire lesson by learning the parts of the eye and how they work, we watched a Bill Nye video, used an app from the Exploratorium about how the eye sees color, and watched a video about the dissection, besides a few other activities. After the dissection, we gathered together and talked about what we saw and how it could be put into a script for a comic. Another teacher had already laid out the comic page into panels so that decision was made for the kids, all they had to do was figure out what goes in each panel. We scripted out each panel including some thumbnails. The style I used for my sample is what I call my “quick comic” style. I drew in non-photo blue pencil and then instead of inking used a good old #2 pencil to letter and go over the drawings. I then photocopied the original to allow the pencil to scan properly.
Being their first attempt we worked together to come up with a basic script. Some students didn’t deviate from that initial plan copying it word for word. In the end, as time was running short, my draft page was passed around as a sample to give the class something to work off of. Students were shown how the non-photo blue pencil works, but for this first attempt we stuck to using a regular pencil. As for layout the students were directed to consider the top 1/3 of each panel for text (nice review of fractions). As students started to finish they were asked to peer edit which (as many know) can lead to mistakes not being caught- all part of the learning process. The penciled original pages were then photocopied and the students colored their pages with crayon. In the end I divided the finished works into piles and had small groups go through each one to vote on the “best.” The top two were supposed to be published here- I decided to go with the top four. Please understand that we do not have an Art teacher, so these students have never had formal instruction in drawing, they are in third grade, and I did not go over any of these with the students. Except for some large group instruction on basic character design and reminders to add details, this is completely the students doing it on their own (I’m a constructivist). Being their first try I wanted to see where they would go with the idea. For our next project I plan on conferencing with each student using their own Cow Eye Dissection comic as a starting point so they can learn from their own work as they tell their next story.
Here are the comics voted on by my classsroom in no order- the names were removed to protect the innocent.
click on the image to see it larger