Studying comics and setting students up to be thoughtful and creative composers

Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care

by Ashley K. Dallacqua, PhD

As a small group of seventh-grade students sit down to a working lunch, they immediately peer over each other’s shoulders, admiring the work on the desks. Walking by the room one might see students hunched over paper with colored pencils or pointing at another’s work exclaiming “Oh wow!,” “I like that too!,” “How long did that take you?,” or “I like your faces!” There is an energy to their composition practices and a thoughtful and supportive attention to detail. During a year-long inquiry around comics and graphic novels, these students were invited, regularly, to be composers. As they worked to create both informative and aesthetic comics responses, students made choices as writers and as artists. This was work that students valued. As one middle school student shared with me, reading and composing comics “was like a weight off of my shoulders to be able to…

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Teachers’ Writing Matters

Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care

As we leave the school year behind, many teachers will finally have long-awaited time to relax and sit outside with a good book. Others will return to the classroom as students themselves. Our hope is that teachers will use the summer months to begin (or finish!) writing projects of their own.

Meg Petersen discusses why teachers should write, particularly about themselves and their experiences, and share that work with their students. In this way, they may work more confidently with student writing.

“There is a deeper reason, however, for teachers of all subjects and levels to write about their lives and share these stories with each other.  Writing and sharing narratives of our own experience helps us understand how our lives in and outside of the classroom are shaped by our identities and cultures.  We can come to see our way of understanding the world as only one of many…

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