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!

The Red Sun Curriculum is here!

From AlaneAdams.comThis summer, the world was introduced to my brand new fantasy series! Legends of Orkney is Percy Jackson meets Norse mythology and fans across the country are falling for book one, The Red Sun.

In addition to releasing the first novel in a six-book series, a new mobile game based on The Red Sun was also released. BattleKasters was toured around the country at seven different fan cons from Comic-Con International: San Diego to New York Comic Con.

But there’s even more to the story.

Now, in partnership with Pop Culture Classroom, I’m releasing The Red Sun Curriculum.

Completely aligned with Common Core, this new curriculum will give teachers the opportunity to introduce a modern fantasy series to students while staying in line with national standards.

At the core of my books, my game, and my literacy organization is the deep desire to get kids and teens excited about reading. This new curriculum does just that! Students will be able to enjoy the magic of the series while also gaining valuable insight into the process of reading with purpose.

Download the free curriculum and handout for The Red Sun now and get your students excited for their next assignment.

About The Red Sun

Sam Baron is about to get the shock of his life. First his substitute English teacher claims to have turned his old teacher into a lizard; then a strange dwarf named Rego arrives and claims Sam is from a magical realm called Orkney. When his friends are taken prisoner, it’s up to Sam to save them. Sam embarks on a journey to Orkney through a stonefire to find his friends―but when he arrives, he discovers that an ancient curse has turned the sun a poisonous red and threatens to destroy the land. With only a young witch girl to guide him, Sam must choose: save his friends, or stop the red sun from consuming the land? Drawing on Norse mythology, The Red Sun follows Sam’s journey to uncover the truth about his past―a journey during which he has to overcome the simmering anger inside of him, learn to channel his growing magical powers, and find a way to forgive the father who left him behind.

About Pop Culture Classroom

Pop Culture Classroom (PCC) is a charitable organization that educates through alternative approaches to literacy, learning, and character development. PCC creates programs for underserved students, schools and communities via comic books, graphic novels, and related media. PCC is the organizer and producer of Denver Comic Con. For more information, visit www.popcultureclassroom.org.

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Alane Adams – Media Contact
Christelle Lujan
Director of Marketing | Word Hoarder
christelle@sparkpointstudio.com
480.773.3475

Pop Culture Classroom – Media Contact
Tone Ellis de Jesus
Director of Marketing Communicaitons
tone@popcultureclassroom.org
719-799-3899

pcc-riseup-meme-red-sun-curriculm

PCC Education Update: Fall 2015

Pop Culture Classroom is up to some exciting things this Fall. Check out our education outreach update below about the many opportunities that we’re offering across the Front Range and beyond.

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PCC Continues Its Inmate Art & Literacy Program

We’re proud to announce that we have been invited to continue our unique program, LEAD With Comics, at the Boulder County Jail (BCJ). Through generous funding from the Arts Affinity Group of the Denver Foundation, PCC has been able to develop and continue this powerful program that supports the literacy, art and personal awareness of inmates through the critical study and creation of comics and graphic novels.

We know that comics provide a less intimidating entry into literacy, and as a result, we’ve seen wonderful growth in the literacy and artistic abilities of our students. As one student from BCJ commented, “After taking the LEAD class, I now know what I want to do with my art. I want to illustrate comics.” This particular inmate has even gone on to start and teach his own drawing class for other inmates in the BCJ. PCC is excited to continue this class at the BCJ and is always looking for other correctional facilities to partner with.

PCC Seeks Educators to Pilot New Game Design Curriculum

Help us build an awesome curriculum for other teachers and earn yourself a Denver Comic Con 2016 badge (and maybe some swag, as well!).

We’re developing a new curricular unit of study for 2nd-12th grade teachers. This unit will use 21st Century Skillset aligned lessons to teach students universal game methodology and then give them the chance to create their own games. For example, if you were studying the Revolutionary War, your students could create a Roll and Move game that demonstrates their understanding of Paul Revere’s Ride or American troop movements during the war.

In this unit, students will study, analyze, and create Roll &Move, (Life, Sorry, Candyland), Resource Management, (Monopoly, Risk, Settlers of Catan) and/or Role Playing (Dungeons and Dragons) games. We are looking for teachers who are interested in dedicating 5-15 hours of instructional time, and another ~5 hours of reporting back to us about the program, between January 1st and Feb 29th, 2016.

If you are an educator interested in participating in our pilot program, PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY!

Bring a PCC Workshop to Your School!

Pop Culture Classroom is ready to support you and your education programs! Lately, we’ve been busy building our pool of qualified teachers, and we’d love to have them come and teach at your site. PCC can work with you to find the right number of sessions, class size, timing, and content to meet your needs and budget. PCC also operates on a sliding scale payment system, in case your site is pressed for funding this year.

We’ve had great success with everything from 2 hour school-day sessions to 14 week after-school workshops. Our teachers and material motivate students while supporting the Common Core. Additionally, our teachers are consistently rated as extremely prepared and professional and supportive of student academic growth.

Curriculum Study Guides

“Storytelling Through Comics” (STC) is the name of our unique comic book creation program that is available in both digital and printed format on our online store. This curriculum is currently being used by dozens of teaches across the US. Coming your way soon is our new custom curriculum created for the first book in the YA series The Red Sun, Legends of Orkney, written by author and DCC’15 guest Alane Adams.

Interested in learning more about any of the above?  Please contact us using our website contact form.

 

“The Classroom” announces new curriculum in development

“The Classroom” program of Pop Culture Classroom is excited to announce that we will be creating a custom curriculum for the first book in the YA series The Red Sun, Legends of Orkney, written by author and DCC’15 guest Alane Adams.  If you haven’t already, check out the book and keep your eyes peeled here for updates!

Our program delivers tools (curriculum) and training using comic books, graphic novels and related pop culture media to create educational engagement with students, and gives them the creative and critical thinking skills that puts students on the path to lifelong learning.

Currently, we offer both printed and digital versions of our current curriculum “Story Telling Through Comics” for educators through our online store: store.popcultureclassroom.org

About Legends of Orkney:

“Sam Baron is about to get the shock of his life. His substitute English teacher claims to have turned his old teacher into a lizard. But that’s not the weirdest thing to happen: Sam’s life turns upside down when a strange dwarf named Rego arrives and claims Sam is from a magical realm called Orkney.

Drawing on Norse mythology, The Red Sun follows Sam’s journey to uncover the truth about his past. To save his friends and Orkney, Sam will have to overcome the simmering anger inside of him; channel his growing magical powers; and find a way to forgive the father who left him behind.” legendsoforkney.com

red-sun-cov

 

“The Classroom” to present LEAD With Comics 45-minute workshop

Great news! “The Classroom” program of PCC will be presenting a 45-minute workshop titled “If You Give an Inmate a Comic Book” on Thursday, August 13th (10:25-11:10 AM) during RedLine Denver’s 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art & Conversation Summit!

Come to this FREE event to learn how PCC is supporting inmates’ emotional and academic growth through our innovative program LEAD With Comics. PCC will join more than a dozen arts non-profits and various artists, art educators, and community leaders in a conversation on creating arts opportunities for under-resourced populations and how art can affect change in our local communities.

Click HERE for more info!

ABOUT LEAD WITH COMICS:

LEAD stands for Literacy Education in Adult Detention and earlier this year was the top winner of a $26,000 grant among six finalists in the Art Tank competition, funded by the Arts Affinity Group, the Denver Foundation, the Bonfils Stanton Foundation and Colorado Creative Industries. LEAD WITH COMICS is a program of Pop Culture Classroom.

ABOUT THE SUMMIT:

RedLine is hosting a summit- 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art & Conversation on August 12 & 13. This is a free event where 15-20 arts non-profits and individual will lead workshops, give ten minute talks, and hold panel discussions. There will also be an accompanying “exhibition” of socially engaged artist projects which participants will be able to see in action. We are inviting artists, art educators, community leaders and art non-profits to join in the conversation about creating arts opportunities for under-resourced populations and how art can affect change in our local communities.