Graphic Novel Review 60/365: Word Play – Write Your Own Crazy Comics

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!

I have another cool lesson plan idea for all you cool teachers out there trying to make your classroom a place of creativity and fun!

Title: Word Play – Write Your Own Crazy Comics   

Author(s): Chuck Whelon

Publisher: Dover Publications (2011)

Age Rating: All Ages

As this crazy week of potpourri and lesson plans continues, I’d like to share a really fun book that I found on vacation last summer in a small book store.  This book can be used in all classrooms at all levels…in most subjects!

This Word Play book is a workbook that is completely filled with comic pages with the word balloons blank.  These open-ended pages are only limited by our imaginations.  Check this one out:

I promise I didn’t choose “Clowns” to coincide with the new IT film that came out last weekend, but if it fits that theme, cool.

So, with these pages, at the lower levels, you can use them to simply have fun, open conversations about how we speak in certain situations, or introduce comics!  As the kids get older, and the grade level gets more advanced, you can open up conversations about dialogue, developing story, and still use it simply to have fun.  At the highest level, I use these pages to discuss tone and the economy of language.  Let me explain…

Say I gave you this “Clown” page and asked you to make the scene funny.  Now imagine that I gave you the same page and asked you to make it sad.  Could you do that with just the dialogue?  I bet you could.  I know it would be absurd, but what about one funny page and one matter-of-fact page?  Dialogue dictates tone, and I use this activity as my kids begin scripting their own comic pages to begin thinking about what they will want their character to say.  Economy of language is also great with this activity.  What if I told you that you only had 20 words to fill in the entire page?  What about 15?

What about using them in foreign language?  Or Social Studies?  Math?  The possibilities are truly endless with this book.  It’s a must.  Put it on your lesson plan shelf, even if you use it for a cool activity while you have a sub.

Happy Reading!

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