After much planning and scheduling, I found myself on three educational panels at San Diego Comic Con this year:
Thursday at the Shiley Special Events room at the San Diego Public Library
-Comics Are for Everyone Helping Every Student See Themselves in the Medium
With Adam Huggins, Ronell Whitaker, and Tracy Edmunds
-Comics make Kids Smarter: Exploring Data-Driven Success in the Comics Classroom
With Ronell Whitaker, Meryl Jaffe, Tracy Edmunds, John Green, and Tom Racine
Friday Convention Room 30CDE
-CBLDF: Comics and The Real World: Using Graphic Novels as Tools of Tolerance
With Jonathan Hennessey, Ronell Whitaker, Aron Steinke, Meryl Jaffe, Tracy Edmunds, Betsy Gomez, and Cecil Castellucci
It’s interesting. When Ronell and I started presenting on comics in the classroom about three years ago, most of the presentations about comics/graphic novels in the classroom were very general about comics and their use. Now, we have evolved to discussing the data that we have collected and branching out to discuss much more specific topics such as tolerance, engaging female students though comics, diversity, and using non-fiction books as a tool.
I’m actually presenting next week at the Advanced Placement Conference in Austin with Ronell Whitaker and AP Psychology teacher Jason Nisavic about the use of graphic novels to increase achievement in the AP classroom. There is no doubt that the discussion and the platform for comics in the classroom is growing tremendously, and it’s cool to be a part of it. Every week I come across new individuals that have been as passionate as me about the topic of comics and graphic novels, and the group that I present with and discuss things with is growing. It’s more than cool.
Our presentations were great. If you were one the people that came to hear us chat, thank you! That Thursday at the library was cool in the way that the educational panels, those presenting, and many of the audience members hung out in the room all day, learning, talking, and helping each other between panels. This is (or should be) the future of educational programming at conventions like this. Programming specialists need to give teachers and librarians space and time, and we will find each other, share, support, and nourish ideas to enhance the classroom. We are trying to get something like this going at New York Comic Con, and here in Chicago at C2E2. If this sounds good to you, and you do, in fact, attend your local comic/education conventions, shoot them messages letting them know that you want more educational programming at the cons and more time to just chat and share ideas with other educational professionals! If enough of us speak up, they will meet the need. And if you need help in your drafting of such a request, or want to chat about it first, let me know.
If you did not get a chance to attend these panels or make it out to SDCC, go to their web site to read full descriptions of these panels, and let me know if you have specific questions about the presentations. I know that at the presentations, Tracy Edmunds had offered up a lot of amazing information such as book lists and help with linking comics to the Common Core that she has linked to her site here:
I will also be hosting a lot of this info on my site as well. Thank you, Tracy!
I was also very lucky to meet Dr. Patrick O’Conner at the con, and he has shared with me his searchable thematic database of single issues of comics, making it easy to find issues on certain themes. You can then take this information in a number of ways such as using issues as hooks or introductory discussion starters for lessons, or use issues to reach troubled students with thematic elements to which they can relate. It’s a cool resource. Check it out:
In what I do, it’s all about expanding our little universe and helping each other out. If you have not joined our discussions, or attended our panels, please do…we’d love to chat with you! And if you have conversations going that I do not know of, invite me in! Tag me in some tweets!
Happy reading, everyone! I look forward to sharing as much information with you as possible.