Long ago, I read the Quiet Librarian’s posts about the concept of write around (please see her posts at write around ). I had approached several teachers about trying this out and found one this year who was willing to give it a go.
Nick Plaistad is an awesome physical science teacher who works with Freshman Academy students. We met to talk about an upcoming project in which the students create a comic strip showing Newton’s three laws of motion. I at first suggested that I talk to the students about what a graphic novel IS. Then, I thought – why not borrow the write around concept.
Originally, I was going to copy pages from graphic novels, put the pages on tables, and have the students move from page to page. The high school moved to one to one last year, so I decided to make the write around digital instead. After talking with Adam Babcock, our instructional coach, I made the digital write around proposition to Mr. Plaistad and suggested that I grade the graphic analysis while he grades the laws.
This is how the lesson goes:
1. I use keynote and present information sharing definitions of graphic novels, comic books, and manga, the elements of a graphic page, and how they are important literature types (on par with “regular” stories).
2. The students go to Nick Plaistad’s Edmodo or 365 site account and open the analyze comic question sheet and answer the questions for each comic (I gave them examples from nine different graphic novel titles – I used the iPad to take photos of the pages that they also accessed from Edmodo or 365). This will be turned in to me.
3. The students will create their own comic strip showing Newton’s laws with speech or thought bubbles, images, and arrows. I asked to have a copy of the excellent ones to display on the flat screen tv in the library.
So, the next step is to figure out how students could truly write-around what they were seeing. I need to play with capturing pages and opening them in different formats. It would also be fun to figure out if there is a way to electronically pass the document “around the room”. So, baby step accomplished!