Graphic novels

hosted by Di Laycock, Head of Library Services, The King's School   

NOTE: This site is no longer active. Please visit Graphic Novels in the Classroom, my Scoop.it site where I'm now curating articles that focus on working with graphic novels in the the classroom.

For a detailed list of my publications and presentations, please visit my Professional Profile. (Just a couple of articles and papers are offered here)

I'm happy to come and speak with teachers about graphic novels and their use in the classroom. My fee... a cup of tea! (That's in the Sydney region. Beyond that we can work something out). 

Articles I've published

Developing a graphic novel collection An article examining the issues surrounding the development of a graphic novel collection in the school library. Laycock, D. (2005). Developing a graphic novel collection. Synergy. 3(2), 50-54.
Going graphic: Using graphic novels to engage boys in school reading An IBSC action research project which explored middle school boys' engagement in the classroom with the graphic novel version of Macbeth.

My most recent presentation
Graphic novels: Different texts for different times - ETA State Conference, Sydney, August 5, 2011. This paper was written to accompany my workshop presentation.

General Resources

Graphic Novel LibGuide  This guide from the Phillips Library at Aurora University will help you locate graphic novels, information for teaching with graphical materials, and caricatures and cartoons used in novels and stories.

Visual rhetoric and visual literacy Short, sharp and sweet 4 page handout from Duke University with a definition of comics and descriptions of the major comics codes and conventions.
Graphic novel resources (March 2010)  An annotated list of useful resources for those wanting to know more.

Graphic novels @ Barker A list with reviews of 50 or so of the most popular graphic novels in our secondary library (posted Nov, 2009). My apologies, this site needs some serious updating - something i hope to get to soon. The graphic novels listed, however, continue to be popular in our school library.

 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens nominations An extensive list from YALSA of graphic novels with annotations, published in 2009.

Graphic novel reviews   An extensive list of graphic novel reviews, divided into age recommendations (from DC Comics).
Secret origin of good readers A free downloadable publication that includes a rationale for using GNs and a comprehensive list of comics-related activities for the classroom.

School Library Journal: Comics in the classroom (January 2011)

In this 3-part series by Martha Cornog you’ll find some great resources  (very current) to support teaching with comics. Part one focuses on graphic novels in the classroom. In part two you'll learn about graphic narrative and get a list of comics with a teaching slant. And in part 3, Martha will conclude the series with an amazing compilation of resources for web-based and online graphic novels.

Part 1 Part 2  Part 3

G.T.Labs: Comics about scientists? What a dangerous experiment. A list of science- based graphic novels by Jim Ottaviani.

Using graphic novels in the classroom

Sample  introductory lesson:This lesson outline I've put together provides a definition of a graphic novel and a brief overview of the codes and conventions used in graphic novels. Links to online comic creating tools are also provided. Feel free to copy it for educational use.

Graphic Novels in the Australian Curriculum: English - Standards in the Draft Australian Curriculum that can be addressed through the use of graphic novels as texts.

Graphic novels as a link to critical thinking. Teacher Leigh Brodsky writes: This year when I began my unit on Maus I noticed a very real problem in my honors-level classroom. My students had a hard time reading and decoding the images before them. When I begin my unit, I have my students analyze pictures as a “do now” activity. I have them look at paintings by Monet and Picasso and we use literary terms such as mood and tone to focus on specific aspects of the individual paintings. This year, students admitted to me that this task was very difficult for them, and upon completion of this activity I began to see why. Reading images asks the viewer to strip away the layers and decide if there is anything within the image in addition to their first impressions. Having students look deeper into an image allows them to practice the decoding skills they will need for a book like Maus. This is a skill few students had ever really practiced before. Read more on how Leigh uses graphic novels in her classroom.

Teaching Shaun Tan's The Arrival in a secondary school English class Teacher Alison Binney writes: Given that I came to this with no experience of teaching comics at all, my choice of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, a graphic novel in which the entire story is told through pictures alone, might seem unusual! For an English teacher used to working solely with words, it was certainly a challenge to my lesson planning, my expertise and my whole thinking about what constitutes ‘reading’. However, it was a challenge that I very much enjoyed, as well as being one that has enriched my practice as an English teacher. Read more about Alison's experience.

New York Times Storyboard template (attached below). Have students read a newspaper article and then use this template to create a comic strip version.

Free online comics creators

Di Laycock,
Feb 13, 2012, 4:06 AM