Making Curriculum Pop

I wonder if any of you use social networking in your classrooms. I have been using a ning site all year with my 12th grade students and am looking for interesting ways to spice it up a bit. I'd love to hear about the combination of teaching graphic novels and technology in the classroom (besides the obvious online web tools available to make comics) from other teachers. I guess I am wondering about kinds of discussions online your students are having about graphic novels or how you capitalize on the visual learning aspects shared between the two media. I have students blog and conduct discussion in the forum; I have links posted to resources and post homework etc as updates. We also have our videos there that I use for class. I just wonder how students might take on more of the sites' construction--you know, make it their own-more ownership. I have no fear about giving up control because I know great things happen when you hand over the doing to the students. Any ideas????

(I registered for the Kist webinar about social networking in the classroom, though I am not sure how I will swing being at Harvard's graphic novel seminar all day and escaping at 1:00 to listen to Kist....)

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Hey there! I have an article in the November 2010 English Journal that details how one teacher in California used a blog to help enhance striving readers' expereince with American Born Chinese. Also, I'm supposed to have an article that talks about comics and online social interfaces coming out in another journal this year, so keep in touch and when I can, I will send it along to you.


Part of what I talk about in that forthcoming one, though, is how authors'/graphic novelists' own websites or blogs or pages can and is often used for various purposes, one of which is to enter into a discussion with fans, etc. You might see what Josh N. diod with the online version of A.D. After the Deluge, for example. While these spaces aren't specificalyl for students to interact with authors and each other, etc., they certainly can be.

I'm surprised I didn't see that EJ article....I'll look at it. I usually find stuff that is about advocating for the use of online learning in a general sense but rarely specific to teaching graphic novels. I'm just trying to pick people's brains about the combination.
I post videos and links to the publishers/author websites (like Colon and Jacobson have a sweet vid about collaborating on Diary of Anne Frank) and I know that the authors of Zahara's Paradise (webcomic) respond to posts which is pretty cool too. I just wish there was something more constructive my students could add to our own ning site. I'll probably look into other web 2.0 tools too. I'd love to skype with another graphic novel class--college level or high school. That would be fun.

Thanks for the reply and I will see you in Rhode Island next month.

I don't know how relevant this is, since my students are cartoonists-to-be in art school, but we're starting to try to figure out a list of social (and other) platforms that are necessary for a working artist, and to try to teach some of them. Some may be too much a can of worms for younger students, but we're trying to figure out how to use and integrate a regular blog and Twitter, Facebook (pages or profiles, used for professional purposes. A public page jointly administered by students might be something to think about?), Flickr, Tumblr, and for collaboration and research: Dropbox and Evernote. Evernote especially might be productive; you can create shared notebooks that all can access, edit, and add to. We plan to have one of our student interns blog about what he's learning; I'll post those links when we do that. 


If you want to get your students in direct contact with artists, Facebook and Twitter are the best approaches. Most have both, almost all have one or another. Lots of sketches and works in progress get posted. 


I wish I were going to see you in Rhode Island next month! I'll miss it, but Matt will be there. 

Thanks for the response and I will pass this along to my aspiring artists! I am trying to expose students to web 2.0 tools that they will be either expected to use in college or work or that might empower them in their personal endeavors in addition to finding ways to use these tools in our classroom to foster ELA skills.It's never the tool itself that makes kids learn, it's the lessons teachers create that enables students to harness the tool in unexpected ways, so I am trying to be innovative, but I am not super good at it! Thanks for your message. I was looking at Matt's book and blog yesterday. He's got some really great ideas for classroom activities. Even though they are about teaching cartooning, some of the ideas are applicable to language arts and are transferable to teaching writing. You two are a power comics couple!!



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