PCC Celebrates a Successful Round of Summer 2017 Workshops (Part 2)

Between June and August of 2017, PCC conducted over 100 hours of programming at 24 different libraries, schools and community centers across the Front Range.

Below are some of our favorite highlights (part 2) from our summer 2017 workshops. A tremendous thank you to the many students, PCC teachers, and sites that made these workshops a success! Read Part 1 by clicking here

YMCA of Metro Denver – Power Scholar Academies  

For the 3rd year in a row, PCC again partnered this summer with the YMCA of Metro Denver to offer programs at two of their Denver-based Power Scholar Academies, K-6 programs meant to boost students’ math and reading confidence while preventing them from falling behind their peers over the summer.

This year, PCC ran Game On!, its cutting-edge game design program, during YMCA programs at Wyatt Academy and Omar D. Blair Charter School, helping 2nd-5th grade students to develop vital critical thinking, literacy and problem solving skills in a collaborative environment.

Over 6 weeks, students were tasked with creating a complete and playable board game – including everything from a game materials to boards to instructions – giving them the chance to build self-confidence, creativity and connections to their peers in these fun, play-based workshops.

According to PCC instructor Shawn Bowman, in the Power Scholars workshops “we stressed the importance of writing as a process for game building and the role of designers in communicating rules and themes. These young scholars built a number of creative projects from a hilarious card game based on Just Dance to a multi-level board where angles and demons fight in the after-life.  Their enthusiasm for experimentation with concepts and different game play mechanics illustrated the many creative and analytic parts of our brain we engage when we build games. It was inspiring.”

A Wyatt Academy student tests out designs for her game board. During Game On!, students design and plan out every part of their game with the help of PCC instructors and resources.

A member of the YMCA plays a real-life game with Omar D. Blair students to help them discover ideas for their own games.

PCC instructor Robin Childs helps an Omar D. Blair student brainstorm how the materials will be used in her game.

Students at Omar D. Blair work on the design for their games. PCC provides boxes for students to keep their board game materials in, which students then decorate.

For the final steps of the Game On! program, students work together to playtest another student’s game and then provide constructive feedback to their peers.

Jefferson County Public Library – Comic Creation Workshops

 Thanks to the generous support of the Jefferson County Public Library (JeffCo) this summer, PCC was fortunate enough to offer comic creation workshops at 10 different JeffCo library sites up and down the Front Range!

During these 1-hour workshops, students were given a quick overview of the building blocks of a comic book, from character design through panel layout, followed by a drawing lesson. Over the summer, PCC was able to introduce and engage 150 students in comics at these 10 different libraries, both spurring their creativity and self-expression and giving them the basic tools and knowledge to develop more comics of their own at home!

PCC instructor Shawn Bowman, who taught many of the JeffCo comic workshops, explained that this was a “fantastic opportunity for us to spend time with young artists in the community, some in more remote locations where kids might not have the opportunity to interact with writers and artists as frequently. At some of the smaller workshops we were even able to cater the lesson around a specific skill or area where the kids wanted to work, like drawing lessons for monsters or techniques for mapping out a full comic storyline.”

A group of JeffCo students work together to build their comics!

A group of JeffCo students work together to build their comics!

PCC Instructor and comic book artist Dan Conner helps a JeffCo library workshop participant create his first comic.

 

Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD) 2017

 For its  3rd year, PCC partnered with the Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD), a summer reading program designed for 9- to 12-year-olds. During the 6-week program, students were offered fun activities and events related to the book Upside Down Magic in order to enhance their reading experience and combat learning loss.

PCC was proud to offer 4 unique workshops at sites throughout Metro Denver in support of YOBOD. Sites included the Sun Valley Youth Center, Johnson Boys & Girls Club, Colfax Elementary, and Heart & Hand Prep Academy.

These workshops focused on everything from designing creatures to creating a board games and comics based on Upside Down Magic, giving students the opportunity to deepen their reading experience and respond to book with their own creative projects.

Adam Kullberg, PCC’s Education Program Manager, says the “YOBOD workshops are a great opportunity PCC has every summer to engage at-risk students in reading and provide them pathways to success, whether it be in their schools or their communities or both, through pop culture. We love being part of the YOBOD program and hope to continue with it in summer 2018!”

A big thank you to the Denver Arts & Venues and Parks & Rec for making these workshops a reality and supporting early literacy development all across Colorado!

Students at Colfax Elementary play games based on Upside Down Magic in groups, giving them a chance to engage more deeply with the book and tackle some important themes and topics from it.

In our “Creature Design” workshop, students were given an art lesson and then given time to draw magical creatures from Upside Down Magic and ones they created themselves.

 

THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES! 

Overall, we were thrilled with the outcome of our workshops this summer! It was such a rewarding experience to help students across Colorado improve their literacy, creativity, critical thinking and ability to express themselves.

As a reminder, it’s your support of Pop Culture Classroom and its annual program, Denver Comic Con, that allows us to continue offering these opportunities. So we want to especially to thank all our fans and attendees who have helped us connect with students, educators and organizations all across the state of Colorado – and beyond!

To learn more about workshops or request one at your school or site, please visit www.popcultureclassroom.org/workshops or reach out to us directly at info@popcultureclassroom.org.

We look forward to impacting more young lives with the power of pop culture!