So where do we go from here, true believers? Up, up and and away!
Right now, Pop Culture Classroom staff and volunteers are teaching the Comic Book Classroom Curriculum at seven different Denver locations in partnership with Youth One Book One Denver (YOBOD). The program was first developed in 2012 by a coalition of youth-focused organizations to help develop a culture of reading in youth ages 9-12 and help combat summer learning loss.
In collaboration with Pop Culture Classroom, Mayor Hancock of Denver has selected the 2009 children’s fantasy novel Savvy by Ingrid Law as this year’s YOBOD selection, and Pop Culture Classroom is developing specialty content that aligns perfectly with the relatable and enduring adventure in the book. Many of the youth leaders who work with YOBOD participants are using the lessons of Comic Book Classroom to create comics and cards about the Savvy universe, reaching over 2,500 students across the Denver area.
(Shh. Don’t tell anybody, but Pop Culture Classroom is planning a showcase as a celebration for these students. Students will get to exhibit their art and take part in a dynamic, learning-focused arts and technology convention. Keep it under your hat, or come on down the to the McNichols building on July 23rd and be a part of the celebration.)
A small staff and an indefatigable army of volunteers keep driving Pop Culture Classroom and the Comic Book Classroom curriculum to new heights. Post-Con planning is already in the works, as the team pursues a variety of goals including:
- Creating a long-term strategic plan for educational outreach
- Investigating, building and nurturing strategic partnerships to support educational outreach
- Executing high quality programming with students across the state and nation
- Developing new educational resources in other pop culture media
The team recognizes that technology is key to disseminating these creative endeavors. Pop Culture Classroom is currently building a robust website with input from technology experts, teachers, Comic Book Classroom graduates, and other constituents who are invested in the mission of Pop Culture Classroom.
For example, one of the concerns expressed by teachers looking to use our curriculum is that their drawing skills aren’t on par with their teaching skills. In order to make the Comic Book Classroom curriculum accessible to all educators regardless of their comfort level with sequential art, Pop Culture Classroom is preparing to launch a YouTube Channel featuring mini-videos with art lessons from professional creators, including Yanick Paquette.
Paquette is a comic book artist from Canada who has worked for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Topps and Antarctic Press, and has been a regular contributor to the adventures of Batman, Superman, and the X-Men. Inspired by Pop Culture Classroom’s mission, Paquette stayed in town after Denver Comic Con to record six videos for our new YouTube Channel. These are just the first of many videos for educators that are slated to air on the Pop Culture Classroom channel starting later this summer.
“I’m stunned by the enormity of everything that we have accomplished together,” said Pop Culture Classroom’s Education Director Illya Kowalchuk. “I am thrilled and humbled that my simple desire to connect with and reach marginalized students has blossomed into such an amazing organization. I can’t wait to capitalize on this powerful opportunity on a much larger scale to enrich the lives of Denver youth and beyond.”
Want to know more about Pop Culture Classroom and Denver Comic Con’s educational endeavors? Please email: info@PopCultureClassroom.org