Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!
If you have not been following my blogs this week, shame on you, but I forgive you. Make sure you go back and check them out. I offered up a few resources to get moving with comics/graphic novels in your classroom. And I’d like to end this week with a reflection about my week coming up in my graphic novel class and what I’m planning.
With the recent events in Texas and Florida, I feel that it’s the appropriate time to get to Josh Neufeld’s book A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge. I’ve reviewed the book earlier, and you can check that review out here.
One of the benefits that I’ve found with graphic novels and comics over my 5+ years of using them is their flexibility and the speed of which they can be read. I feel that after reading Aliebn, Superman American Alien, and all of their free-read titles, the kids are ready to move into a book where we can move away from the discussion of how comics work and into how and why they are effective.
It’s amazing to me how many of our students do not know about the events of Hurricane Katrina. I guess it makes sense considering how long ago it was and our country’s ability to shut out difficult times where people suffered arguably at the hands of our own government.
With that being said, this week they will learn about Hurricane Katrina. I will show them clips from Spike Lee’s documentary; I will show them footage of the flooding; I will show them Kanye West talking about “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”; I will show them the amazing rescue missions and the citizens that came together to save thousands of lives. While we read the book, we will discuss all of these things, and with any luck, the kids will never forget what they learned about that devastating event.
And by using graphic novels, I can get through all of this in about a week, saving tons of time compared to a traditional text on the subject, which may take weeks for one book. I will use A.D. to springboard into a larger unit on social justice. We will get into Your Black Friend and March after A.D., and while I’m anticipating the discussions to go extremely well in my class, knowing my students, I’m sure we will get into some debate. And that’s healthy.
Two weeks ago, I heard of a couple of teachers that had asked our kids if they knew what had happened in Houston. Most of them had not. As educators, it’s our responsibility to open windows so that kids can see past their Instagram feeds and Snapchat puppy filters. Seriously. As I embark on this social justice unit, I implore you to think about doing the same. I never REALLY learned about the Civil Rights Movement until I visited the national Civil Rights Museum two years ago…at 38-years-old, and I’ve still only scratched the surface. My schools failed me.
Let’s be better.
Plan with socially conscience information at the forefront. Open up difficult discussions. Teach your kids how to have those difficult discussions without hate and with an open mind.