Archive for The Classroom

Looking for Focus Group Participants!

Calling all educators! Pop Culture Classroom is looking for participants for a focus group! PCC is starting the Graphic Novels Lending Library, a program where educators can rent graphic novel libraries for instructional purposes. We want graphic novels to be accessible to all for use in instruction, and wish to gain information from a focus group on how to be most effective in the implementation of this program. This focus group will help us understand what conditions and resources are necessary to make the program successful. Whether or not you are familiar with using comic books or graphic novels as educational tools in the classroom we need your input. School educators, administrators, librarians, parents and students are all welcome and encouraged to participate. There will be two sessions of focus groups held on Saturday, March 11th, from 11am-12pm and 1-2pm at the Denver Public Library Main Branch.

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts with us about this program in our focus group apply here by March 1st.

Lumberjanes, Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

Written by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Art by Brooke Allen
Appropriate for Grades: 3rd grade and up

REVIEW

Full disclosure: When I was growing up, I was obsessed with all things related to summer camp. I loved Meatballs, and Salute Your Shorts, and sadly, even Ernest Goes to Camp. I lived for s’mores and spooky stories told around a campfire. The thing is…I’ve never been to camp in my life. I grew up in Chicago, and my family had very little money. The closest I came to camp was the free day camp at the local park (here, “day camp” is code for run around in the sun until you get tired and dehydrated). So when I saw the cover of Lumberjanes I was already on board.

So what is Lumberjanes? It is the story of five best friends spending the summer together at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, the home of the Lumberjanes Scouts. As the summer goes on, they learn there’s more to the camp than meets the eye. The girls endure magical quests, mystical creatures, and a mysterious Bear Lady, all while celebrating friendship to the max and girl power! The creators describe the book as “Baby Sitters Club meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scooby Doo Goes to Camp.” It’s supernatural, mystery and adventure all wrapped in a ready-for-Cartoon-Network package.

Lumberjanes really shines because of it’s humor and characters. Each of the mains are people the reader can root for and care about by the end of the book. Young and older readers alike will definitely gravitate to Ripley, the wild and hyperactive girl with an endearing innocence and kick-butt attitude that make it hard to not fall in love with her. That may be what makes this title standout the most: the emphasis on the friendship and love these friends have for one another. By the end of the book, readers feel like these girls are their friends, too!

IN THE CLASSROOM

  • Lumberjanes really handles character well, so one idea is to explore archetypes through the main characters and antagonists. Students could identify the ways the characters fit and break the archetypal character patterns, and then characterize themselves by connecting their own character traits to those of one of the main characters.
  • There’s a bit of mythology in this first volume as well, so students could explore the hero’s journey through Lumberjanes and connect it with texts from other cultural myths.
  • At the secondary level, students and teachers could examine feminist themes in the book, and explore the significance of the relationships between the young women in the book.
  • Throughout the series, women of historic importance are constantly getting shout-outs. It’s a great opportunity to pause the action and go look these women up, and talk about what their contributions were and why they are important to recognize.

Overall, Lumberjanes is a great book, that features a predominately female cast, and was created by an all-female creative team. The work they are doing is full of fun and adventure, and the characters will appeal to all genders, but this book does a great job of representation for all kinds of girls, from a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

Announcing the Comics Education Outreach (CEO) Program!

Contributed by: Jason Nisavic – 2/1/2017

Pop Culture Classroom is excited and proud to announce its newest program, Comics Education Outreach! Organized and managed by veteran teachers from across the United States, Comics Education Outreach (CEO) is dedicated to providing innovative and practical resources that help educators successfully incorporate comics and graphic novels into their classrooms. We offer professional development, lesson guides, comic/graphic novel reviews, and the CEO Lending Library. We believe that comics are more than just a gateway to literacy; they can be the vehicle for deeper engagement.

Who Are We?

The Comics Education Outreach (CEO) is made up of a group of veteran teachers who are passionate about the educational value of graphic novels and comics. In addition, the CEO works with a growing network of educators from all subjects areas and varied backgrounds.

What Do We Do?

Every day, teachers from all grade levels and subject areas are discovering new ways to make their classrooms more engaging with comics. With a rapidly growing market for graphic works, time-stressed educators can have trouble sifting out the useful material from the rest. To help out with this effort, CEO promotes this new approach to literacy in multiple ways:

  • We develop graphic novel & comics reviews across the spectrum of subjects and grade levels to bring attention to educational potential of these unique texts.
  • We share stories of our successes and failures using graphic works in the classroom, helping you to start strong and avoid common mistakes.
  • We host panels and workshops at comic and educational conventions across the United States, joining together with other educators, artists, publishers and authors to spread the word about the teaching and learning potential graphic texts offer.
  • Most excitingly, we’re running a graphic novel/comics lending library of several popular graphic novels — complete with lesson plans! Starting in April 2017, classrooms anywhere in the country can apply to borrow both classroom sets (30 copies) and smaller “Lit Circle” collections (7 copies).

The available titles in April 2017 include:

  • The Lumberjanes
  • March
  • Ghost/Sisters/Smile
  • Persepolis
  • The US Constitution: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
  • American Born Chinese

How Can I Learn More?

Come visit us at our website here, and connect with us on Twitter, to learn about how you can use and discuss comics in the classroom!

Michael Gianfrancesco – @tryingteacher
Eric Kallenborn – @comics_teacher
Ronell Whitaker – @MisterWhitaker
Jason Nisavic – @Teaching_Humans

In addition, CEO is continually searching for exciting artistic works that have educational value and educators from all subjects and backgrounds. For any questions or suggestions, please email info@popcultureclassroom.org.

Pop Culture Classroom Educator of the Year Award

Pop Culture Classroom is excited to announce our first-ever Pop Culture Educator of the Year Award! Pop culture is an incredible educational tool and our goal with this award is to recognize and honor educators who use pop culture to engage students, inspire lifelong love of learning, encourage diversity, and increase literacy in their schools and local communities.

If you know an educator who provides innovative and inspiring educational experiences using pop culture, please submit a recommendation! Nominees will be judged based on the following:

  • Innovative use of pop culture as an instructional tool
  • Demonstrated student engagement
  • Significant and lasting impact on their students, as well as within the larger school and local community

In addition to one of PCC’s own pop culture-based curricula, the winners will receive two 3-day passes to Denver Comic Con 2017 (June 30- July 2, 2017), as well as a special DCC’17 prize package.

Who is Eligible?

All K-12 and higher education (college/university) educators are eligible for the award. Parents, students, administrators, and fellow educators may submit applications, and one teacher can receive multiple nominations.

An award will be given out in each of the following categories:

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Post-secondary Education (college/university)

How to Submit

Submit using the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PopCultureEducatorAward
Deadline to receive submissions is April 15, 2017. Winners will be announced April 30, 2017.

Grand Prizes

The Grand Prize winner in each category will receive:

  • 2 (TWO) 3-day passes to Denver Comic Con 2017
  • Free access to 1 (ONE) PCC Curriculum
  • Special DCC’17 Prize Package
  • Spotlight on the PCC/DCC website

Honorable Mentions

An Honorable Mention from each category will be featured on our website.

FAQs

Can an educator nominate themselves?
No.

Are there any fees?
No, entry is entirely free!

What is the selection process?
After the deadline, all applications will be reviewed by a judging panel, who will select the winners. Ideal candidates should demonstrate a significant and lasting impact on their students, as well as within the larger school and local community, through the use of pop culture.

Winners will be notified via email by April 30th, 2017, and provided further instructions. Please ensure that the email address for the educator is correct upon submission.

What qualifies as “pop culture”?
While we understand that pop culture is an extremely broad category, for the purposes of this award we are looking for teachers who make innovative use of comics, games, television, social/new media, movies, and/or music as instructional tools.

Does it matter if the educator doesn’t live in Colorado?
The nominee can live anywhere; however, the prize is 2 (TWO) passes to Denver Comic Con 2017, and other expenses will not be covered.

Must the winner be present at Denver Comic Con 2017?
No, the winner does not need to attend Denver Comic Con 2017, though we highly encourage them to attend.

Must the educator be notified of a nomination?
No, however we do require a verified email address for the nominee so that we may contact them.

For any other questions and concerns regarding the award, please email us. We look forward to reading your submissions!

 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase chances of winning.

Employees, officers, directors and agents of Pop Culture Classroom and members of the immediate family or persons living in the same household of such individuals, are ineligible to participate. Contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws.

Experience the Comix

Experience the Comix was created through a partnership between Illegal Pete’s and Pop Culture Classroom. Each year, tickets to Denver Comic Con—a program of Pop Culture Classroom—are given to middle and high school students with the goal of helping these students experience pop culture as a fun and engaging educational tool. Experience the Comix also teaches students about the many career paths that pop culture offers. 

When is Experience the Comix?
ETC will take place on Friday, June 30th, 2017 from roughly 10 AM to 5 PM.

Where is Experience the Comix?
It will be held at the Colorado Convention Center (700 14th St, Denver, CO 80202) during the first day of Denver Comic Con 2017. Important note: We cannot provide transportation to and from the event.

Who can come?
Middle and high school students who are unable to afford a day at Denver Comic Con are welcome to attend. Our goal is to provide an inspiring cultural and educational opportunity that will open minds to new, potential career opportunities. We ask that students who have already come to Experience the Comix in previous years please refrain from returning to allow others to enjoy this unique experience.

 

 

 

Third Annual Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest!

Calling all parents, educators, and comic book fans! Pop Culture Classroom is launching its third annual comic book contest for kids, and we’re asking for your help to spread the word to young comic book creators everywhere. Whether you know a budding graphic novelist, an up-and-coming cartoonist, a comic book aficionado, or all of the above, we’re encouraging young artists from Colorado and beyond to enter our 2017 Kids’ Comics Contest!

DOWNLOAD THE CONTEST FLYER

Along with a pair of 3-day passes to Denver Comic Con 2017, contest winners will have their artwork prominently featured in the official Denver Comic Con 2017 souvenir program and admired by thousands of con attendees. Additional prizes include exhibition of artist’s work on the Pop Culture Classroom website and a special meet-and-greet session with a professional comic artist during Denver Comic Con 2017.

 

About the Contest

Running from December 9, 2016 to April 15, 2017, the Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest is open to all Kindergarten through 12th grade students. Artwork must be in the form of an original comic or graphic text. Students may submit previously created artwork as long as it has not been published elsewhere and is age-appropriate.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Two winners (Grand Prize and Runner Up) will be chosen from each of four different age categories and announced on April 29, 2017. The age categories are:

  • K-2nd grade
  • 3rd – 5th grade
  • 6th – 8th grade
  • 9th – 12th grade

Submissions will be judged on the following categories:

  • Storytelling. Story arc, character development, setting, and dialogue/captions.
  • Art. Use of comic conventions, character representation, setting, and layout.
  • Adherence to theme. This year, we’re introducing a theme to the contest. Your art and/or storytelling must display    one or all of the following ideas: Strength, Justice, Courage or Unity.

 

What is the desired length of the comic?

We do not have any specific requirements on length, though we are specifically looking for comics and graphic texts that tell a unique, engaging story through a mixture of text and art. You are welcome to submit a comic of any length that you feel accomplishes this. If the winner’s artwork is more than one page, we will print the first page of the comic in the DCC souvenir program, with the rest located on our PCC website.

 

Do you have a theme?

Yes! This year, for the first time, we’re introducing a theme to the Kids’ Comics Contest. Either in your art or storytelling, we’d like you to display one (or all) of the following ideas: Strength, Justice, Courage or Unity.

 

What are your rules in regards to mild violence/gore?

Since we’re a family-friendly con, we ask that you keep it PG-13.

 

Grand Prize

The Grand Prize winner in each category will have their artwork featured in the official Denver Comic Con 2017 souvenir program, inclusion in a special digital exhibition on the Pop Culture Classroom website, two passes to Denver Comic Con 2017, and a meet-and-greet session with a professional comic artist.

 

Runner Up Prize

The Runner Up prize winner in each category will be included in a special digital exhibition on the Pop Culture Classroom website and will receive two passes to Denver Comic Con 2017.

 

How do we submit the project?

Email artwork to contest@popcultureclassroom.org (highly preferred). If possible, please scan artwork in color, at 300 dpi, and send as a PDF or JPG or send via “snail mail” to PCC’s offices at

1391 N Speer Blvd, Suite 360
Denver, Colorado 80204

Deadline for contest entry is April 15th @ 5 p.m. (MST).

For any other questions and concerns regarding the contest, please email us. We look forward to reading and enjoying your submissions!

 

LEAD With Comics at Sterling Correctional Facility

LEAD (Literacy Education in Adult Detention) With Comics is Pop Culture Classroom’s ongoing project in jail systems and detention centers across Colorado. It’s a six week course for incarcerated adults, with the goal of helping to improve their literacy and art skills using comics and graphic novels. Current research shows that inmates who receive literacy education have a 16% recidivism rate, while those that don’t are over four times more likely to end up in jail again. LEAD was developed as a creative way to reach struggling readers and help them find a positive way forward.

In May, Pop Culture Classroom began a partnership with Sterling Correctional Facility to bring the LEAD With Comics program to their library as an opportunity for the inmates in the “incentive unit.” The course includes reading materials, interactive activities and comics-based literacy and art lessons designed to help students investigate storytelling and the creation of story. Erin Boyington, Library Supervisor at Sterling, was the lead teacher in the course, and was joined by Renae Kubitz and Brett Hodgins. Dion Harris, an art instructor provided by Pop Culture Classroom, also taught art workshops as part of the program.

“I loved getting a chance to talk about graphic novels, literature, and let the participants engage with books in a way that they might not be familiar with,” Boyington said. “My favorite part was discussing the books, asking questions and getting sometimes surprising answers.”

All instruction is designed to ensure that everyone in the class, from pop culture fanatics to first-time comic readers, can be engaged and find new ways to express themselves. After discussing how art and words work together to tell a story, students are given the chance to create comics of their own.

“It was rewarding to see how much work they put into a class that wasn’t even graded or part of a parole plan,” Boyington said. “Many of the final projects were 20+ pages of closely drawn art.”

On July 8, Sterling had its first graduating class, with 14 out of 15 students completing the course. All of them produced comic books that were incredibly ambitious in scope, and received a certificate of completion.

“Many of the students have stopped by to thank me,” Boyington said. “Men in prison don’t always have a way to get constructive criticism of their creative endeavors, so LEAD is a unique opportunity. They got to show off their hard work and artistic ability, even the ones who started out thinking they didn’t have any!”

Click here to learn more about LEAD With Comics.

Educator Interest Tracks

Denver Comic Con, a program of Pop Culture Classroom, features the best in comics along with popular sci-fi and fantasy tv shows, movies, Japanese animation, cosplay (fan-created costumes and costumed skits), toys, gaming, and panel presentations. The proceeds from this annual event benefit Pop Culture Classroom’s overall educational endeavors.

Each year, Denver Comic Con provides 300+ hours of educational panels and sessions for attendees. We’ve put together a list — just for educators — featuring conference sessions that will help you integrate pop culture topics into the classroom.

Click here to download the Educator Interest Tracks we’ve created, featuring suggested education panels and sessions based around specific educational interests and topics. These tracks include:

  • Teaching/Pedagogy
  • Gaming & Technology
  • Diversity/Gender Issues
  • Film/Television
  • Science
  • Writing/Literature
  • Art
  • Cosplay

 

Or, if you’d prefer to see the full list of education panels, click here

Programming schedule subject to change. Please check the schedule on the day of the convention for updates.

Workshop Spotlight: University Hill Elementary, Boulder

Pop Culture Classroom’s workshops offer a unique, engaging and dynamic ways for students to become engrossed in educational topics through the lens of pop culture. Our innovative workshops are offered at sites across the Front Range, including elementary schools like University Hill Elementary in Boulder, where we recently wrapped up an exciting 12-week comic-creation course using our arts and literacy curriculum, Storytelling Through Comics.

Each week from February through May, a group of 10-12 4th and 5th grade students met with Pop Culture Classroom instructors on Thursday afternoons to learn about, write and illustrate comics. According to Ana Silvia Avendano-Curiel, Uni Hill’s Family Resource School coordinator, “Every time I would take a peek at the classroom or would go in to check about a student with the instructors, students seemed so engaged, focused, imagination being pushed beyond what they could do and it was so exciting to see.”

Each day, Avendano-Curiel says, she saw students leaving the class “re-energized with imagination…more willing to participate at home with their responsibilities…. and more intellectually nourished and challenged. Overall, they seem more focused and eager to do more drawing when they get home.”

Marisa Pushee and David Gann, the Pop Culture Classroom instructors for this workshop, were an integral part of making the Uni Hill workshop a resounding success. Both instructors agreed that students seemed to truly feel empowered through the study, analysis and creation of their own comics, and in each session students pushed themselves to learn and apply new comic techniques to their own work.

According to Pushee, one student, Wallace, “joined our class with an enthusiasm for comics that only grew during the course…. Always eager for the weekly drawing lessons, he developed an entire world of characters. For his final project, Wallace created a superhero alter ego named “Wonder Wallace” who battles crime. He completed the first book in what will be an ongoing series and was eager to reproduce his comic to gain an audience for his work.”

In addition, instructor David Gann added that many students seemed to discover their inner voices and creative passions through the development of a comic book. He shared the stories of two students in particular:

“Alex was a quiet student at the beginning, but once we began working with the students on their story ideas Alex let his imagination run wild. Alex naturally grasped storyboarding and created some creative action sequences in his comics. He worked on his comics at home and created some very polished work.”

“Most weeks we would give the students optional homework assignments. Diego was a student who would do multiple drawings for homework each week. He would experiment with different poses, costumes and facial expressions and was always excited to show us the new additions to his sketchbook each week.”

By the end of the course, these and the other students had created an amazing array of comic, all centered on problems they see in the world, that truly showed the power of comics as a tool for inspiring self-expression and creativity. Our utmost thanks to the University Hill Elementary and the students, families and educators who made this workshop possible!

If you’d like to learn more about Storytelling Through Comics, click here.

2nd Annual Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest

Are you a comic book aficionado or graphic novel guru? Do you spend your free time sketching caped crusaders, alien landscapes, giant robots, otherworldly creatures, and other kinds of super-powered art? Then you’re exactly who we want to submit to the Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest, which offers young artists the chance to show off their talents during Denver Comic Con 2016 and beyond!

Along with a pair of 3-day passes to Denver Comic Con 2016, grand prize contest winners will have their artwork prominently featured in the official DCC 2016 souvenir program and admired by thousands of Con attendees. Additional prizes include exhibition of artist’s work on the Pop Culture Classroom website and a special meet-and-greet session with a professional kids comics artist.

 

About the Contest
Running from February 11th to April 15th, the Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest is open to all Kindergarten through 12th grade students. Artwork must be in the form of an original comic or graphic text. Students may submit previously created artwork as long as it has not been published elsewhere and is age-appropriate.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Two winners (Grand Prize and Runner Up) will be chosen from each of four different age categories and announced on April 29, 2016. The age categories are:

  • K-2nd grade
  • 3rd – 5th grade
  • 6th – 8th grade
  • 9th – 12th grade

What is the desired length of the comic?
We do not have any specific requirements on length, though we are specifically looking for comics and graphic texts that tell a unique, engaging story through a mixture of text and art. You are welcome to submit a comic of any length that you feel accomplishes this. If the winner’s artwork is more than one page, we will print the first page of the comic in the DCC souvenir program, with the rest located on our PCC website.

What are your rules in regards to mild violence/ gore?
Since we’re a family-friendly con, we ask that you keep it PG-13.

Grand Prize
The Grand Prize winner in each category will have their artwork featured in the official Denver Comic Con 2016 souvenir program, inclusion in a special digital exhibition on the Pop Culture Classroom website, two passes to Denver Comic Con 2016, and a meet-and-greet session with a professional comics artist.

Runner Up Prize
The Runner Up prize winner in each category will be included in a special digital exhibition on the Pop Culture Classroom website and will receive two passes to Denver Comic Con 2016.

How do we submit the project?
Email artwork to contest@popcultureclassroom.org (highly preferred). If possible, please scan artwork in color, at 300dpi, and send as a PDF or JPG or send via “snail mail” to PCC’s offices at

Deadline for contest entry is April 15th @ noon (MT).

1391 N Speer Blvd, Suite 360
Denver, Colorado 80204

For any other questions and concerns regarding the contest, please email us. We look forward to reading and enjoying your submissions!