Since the beginning of 2017, Pop Culture Classroom has been hard at work with a variety of exciting new pop culture-based classes and workshops focusing on comic creation, game design, digital storytelling, and more! All our workshops aim to inspire and engage students in literacy, creativity, critical thinking and art.
Between January and May 2017, we ran 17 pop culture-based workshops, for over 163 hours, in 11 different locations throughout Colorado! Six of these sites were brand new to us this year, and we thank them for helping us to bring our programs to new groups of eager young students!
In total, more than 350 students participated in these workshops, with ages ranging from early elementary all the way up to high school. Twelve of these workshops used the Storytelling Through Comics program to teach students to create their own comics, while five centered around teaching students to build their very own table-top board games using our game design program, Game On!.
To celebrate the many accomplishments these students achieved in these workshops, we’ve highlighted our favorite moments from some of the workshops below. A tremendous thank you to the many students, PCC teachers, and the schools and sites that made these workshops possible!
GIRLS ATHLETIC LEADERSHIP SCHOOL (DENVER)
Thanks to a partnership with Denver Open Media and a grant from the Denver Office of Children’s Affairs, this past year we were fortunate enough to help a group of creative, talented and inspiring young women at GALS Denver create their very own comics … and then transform these comics into digital shorts that the students wrote, directed, produced, and acted in themselves. Congrats to all the students who participated and thank you again for an incredible year!
See the digital shorts here:
As part of the workshop, students were given the chance to “premiere” their digital shorts on the Denver Open Media channel. Each short focuses on making the world a greater and more conscientious place, and are terrific examples of the power and potential of what comics and digital storytelling can do for young students!
UNIVERSITY HILL ELEMENTARY (BOULDER)
We ran two separate workshops at University Hill Elementary this spring, including a board game design workshop and comic creation workshop, for 2nd – 5th grade students.
Shawn Bowman, who co-taught the game design workshop with instructor Lance Holly, had this to say about the class: “This has been my favorite class to teach so far. At the end of each class session, I asked the kids to meet in a circle and go around the room talking about their favorite part of that afternoon – for many of them it was using a game board to tell a story but every class at least two kids said the “best part of the day was working with my friends”
CURTIS ARTS & HUMANITIES CENTER (GREENWOOD VILLAGE)
An all-new site for PCC this year, Curtis Arts & Humanities Center brought us in to teach workshops in 2017 focusing on traditional comic creation and manga/anime comics for students ages 9-14.
COLUMBINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (BOULDER)
At Columbine Elementary in Boulder, another one of our new locations this spring (wahoo!), our workshop utilized the Game On! program to help 2nd & 3rd grade students create their own tabletop board games from scratch. We are excited to continue our work with them next semester!
WHITTIER ELEMENTARY (BOULDER)
Finally, our comics workshop at Whittier Elementary for 3rd – 5th graders was another huge success! Many students returned to retake the course from the previous semester, claiming it was their favorite afterschool club.
When reflecting on the experience, PCC instructor Shawn Bowman said, “Because we use the comic book Princeless for explaining writing techniques and vocabulary, the kids are reading the story deeper and exploring the art in ways they might have glossed over otherwise. Part of the delight in ownership of the book is ownership of our shared experiences as a class…The girls in our class were especially delighted this time around to see a young female hero who didn’t want to wear fancy dresses or kill dragons.”
During the workshop, students went through the process of learning how to pencil, color, and ink their comics. This is an early penciled draft of a student’s comic.
THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES!
Overall, we were thrilled with the outcome of our workshops this spring! It was such a rewarding experience to help students across Colorado improve their literacy, creativity, critical thinking and ability to express themselves.
We look forward to impacting more young lives with the power of power of pop culture!