Making Curriculum Pop

Peter Gutierrez's blog post about the "Graphica in Education Conference" inspired this week's graphic novel theme. As a high school curriculum coordinator I spend a good chunk of my job looking for resources to help teachers make their curriculum pop. So if your new to the MC POP Ning - the idea behind this "bouncing blog" is that I share 2 or 3 pop resources daily as a conversation starter for all the pop educators out there. If you have something to add to the theme/discipline of the day please add your voice and resources into the mix!

That being said, today I'm sharing some cool comics for folks teaching American History.

1. Let's start with this impressive series of comics geared to the middle school (8-12 year-old) set. Turning Points is on its third volume. The main author is an impressive writer who I first came across when I read his great Atlantic article on wikis - hopefully they have many more titles in the works.
The titles so far:
A House Divided (on the Civil War)
Little Rock Nine
Sons of Liberty (on the creation of the Declaration of Independence)

2. Next we have an eccentric series of graphic novels that is probably suitable for ages 12- through adult. The most USEFUL of these titles a graphic novel retelling of Malcolm X's story which allows students to do some great pre-reading before taking the full literary pilgrimage from East Lansing to Mecca. By far the most bizarre of of the series is the biography of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover - did I even have to qualify that that story might be bizarre?
Other interesting titles from publisher include:
The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation
Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History
Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001- )

3. Lastly, we have a really interesting graphic retelling of a section of Howard Zinn's famous book A People's History of the United States titled A People's History of the American Empire. You can hook this kids on this provocative read by playing this great short film featured on the Amazon site with Zinn's dour voiceover.

Feel free to post related resources below!!!

Good Vibes,


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As always, great resources Ryan. Excited to check out the Zinn adaptation - that sounds fantastic.
I second the Malcolm X gn, it' s quite well drawn, which can be a rare thing for serious sorts of works.

I just finished "Alan's War" which was quite a treat in storytelling. Highly recommended:

all for now,
oh, just seeing John's post - ugh, cool what you did and sorry to hear it. That sucks.

The graphic biography on Malcolm X is a great one. I incorporated it into our new ninth grade English basic curriculum, into a unit with Maus vol. 1 and American Born Chinese. ABC, I know, has more fantasy elements than standard autobiography, but since our local library put it in the nonfiction section, it's fair game for the nonfiction unit. In fact, in the curriculum, I called the unit graphic nonfiction, which seems more appropriate than graphic novel.

Unfortunately, no sooner did I create this great unit for ninth grade English than I was taken off ninth grade and switched to eleventh grade English basic. Graphic nonfiction will now be taught by three teachers who haven't ever picked up a comic book. I asked for some time to train the teachers in dealing with graphic texts, but so far have been denied the inservice requests. Oh, well.

John Weaver
So is "Alan's War" a WWII memior/non-fiction or historical fiction?

Funny, John is not feeling you now...
Thank you for those AWESOME resources, Ryan. I wish that I had more to add but your knowledge of this area is much greater than mine. I had a Constitutional Convention graphic narrative that I used when I taught, but I couldn't find it online. To be honest, it wasn't very interesting anyway.

The 9/11 report is fantastic. I got a chance to check it out in my World History class at TC. It really does a great job breaking down a very complex issue without sacrificing anything important.

I didn't know Zinn had a graphic retelling. I'm on it!!!

Thanks for the thanks - my brain is filled with lots of useless crap so it is nice to share it with peeps that can use it :)




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