Archive for Pop Culture Classroom

Congratulations to the 2017 Con4aCause Sweepstakes Winners!

Because of your support of Denver Comic Con, we at Pop Culture Classroom are able to impact, inspire and educate children through our year-round educational programs and events. To thank you, our 2017 #Con4aCause sweepstakes gave those who entered a chance to WIN TWO ,THREE-DAY PASSES TO DCC FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS!

We were honored to receive thousands of entries across the Con4aCause website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but alas we could only pick three lucky winners. Please watch Illya’s latest video below, congratulating the Grand Prize winners and giving a HUGE thank you to everyone who submitted entries this year – you are all superheroes!

We plan to be back with a new sweepstakes in 2018, so please keep a close eye on the Denver Comic Con and Pop Culture Classroom social channels as we approach next year’s con! 


THE 2017 CON4ACAUSE GRAND PRIZE WINNERS

Hannah G. (Instagram)

Con4aCause Winner - Hannah G.

Toby H. (Facebook)

Con4aCause Winners - Tony H

Annaliese R. (Twitter)

Con4aCause Winnner - Annaliese R.

 

 


Introducing #Con4aCause – Thank You For Being Awesome

Surprise! You’re a Superhero!

Thanks to your support of Denver Comic Con, we are able to impact, inspire and educate children through our year-round educational programs and events. To thank you, we’re offering you a chance to WIN FREE DCC PASSES FOR FIVE YEARS!

Watch the video below to learn all about it, then visit www.con4acause.com and enter to win! And remember, you’re also entered each time you include #Con4aCause in a social post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


Full Lineup of Education Panels at DCC’17 Available!

Denver Comic Con 2017 is just around the corner! This year we have over 250 hours of education-based panels focusing on everything from teaching with cosplay to using board games in your classroom to engaging students with independent films, and so much more! These panels are all part of our overall nonprofit educational mission: to use pop culture to educate, inspire and engage students and teachers everywhere! 

To help you keep track of these exciting opportunities, we have compiled a full list of these education panels at the Con at the link below. 

www.popcultureclassroom.org/dcc/education

But wait, there’s more! At this link, and to further help you plan your DCC weekend, we have also created a list of interest tracks, which divide the education panels into seven categories:

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

We have also included a Panel Tracking sheet, which is designed to help you easily keep track of all the educational panels you attended in a simple, organized way.

For easy access to these panels leading up to and during the event, we also encourage you to download the all-new Pop Culture Classroom app. You can use this to create a schedule of panels to attend and receive advance reminders about events and activities, as well as stay updated on any scheduling changes that may occur, as all panel times and locations are subject to change.

Finally, we offer ALL educators the chance to receive a certificate for panel hours attended at DCC. All you need to do is send a scanned version of your completed Panel Tracking Sheet into education@popcultureclassroom.org by July 7th, 2017. We will send you a certificate that you can provide to your schools and/or program for recertification/professional development hours.

Our unique approach to supporting educators and innovating education is part of what makes Denver Comic Con special each year. We can’t wait to celebrate another stellar year with you, and we hope these panels


Costume Creation and Denver Comic Con Inspiring Youth

Layne calls the Gold Crown Clubhouse home. Now 18, he’s been going since 5th or 6th grade, and despite the many personal challenges he has had to overcome in his life he always finds time to drop by. A huge fan of action movies, Layne has been hard at work building a Deadshot costume for Denver Comic Con. Clubhouse members like Layne at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ Gold Crown (BBTTC) in Lakewood have been hard at work every Thursday making their own cosplay costumes to get ready for Denver Comic Con.

This clubhouse is an enrichment program part of the Gold Crown Foundation, (GCF) which provides rich, interest based instruction and mentoring for hundreds of kids ages 10-18. They help underserved area youth discover their talents, strengths and hope for the future by providing creative opportunities and supportive staff in a safe and exciting environment.

Denver Comic Con and pop culture incentivize these clubhouse members. The mission of the Gold Crown Clubhouse is to learn through fun, hands on and creative ways, and what’s more fun than creating a costume based on your favorite pop culture character as a way of earning a chance to show it off at a comic con? Members are able to learn about overcoming difficulties and following through with a long term project, with the reward of a visit to Denver Comic Con the ultimate inspiration.

Youth learn best when they can express themselves independently in a variety of mediums, and the process of costume creation fits perfectly into this model. Members first go through a planning process, picking the character they want to see come to life. Then they are able to put their drawing skills to work, sketching the designs necessary for creation. They set goals, gather materials and build their pieces. Materials like foam are transformed through finishing techniques to look like metal, yarn is used to make a tail. Members learn new skills which empower and inspire. Creating a cosplay costume based on pop culture introduces members to whole new skill sets, expanding their creativity and learning organically.

Pop Culture Classroom and DCC are dedicated to inspiring a love of learning and building community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression. We are thrilled that something like comic con has become such a large motivation for these clubhouse members to stick to a project and expand their skill sets.

Cassandra Rivera, Mentor Coordinator for the Clubhouse said, “As a result of the cosplay challenge I’d say that Layne, as well as other members, are learning how to be more resilient with the projects they start. Instead of just giving up when they encounter an obstacle they’re actually motivated to push on and make their costumes the very best they can be.”

By participating every Thursday in the Comic Con Cosplay Club at the Clubhouse and finishing their costume, nine clubhouse members of the club will get to attend the con. Look out for some of these awesome handmade costumes when you’re at DCC this summer!


The 2017 PCC Kids’ Lab Welcomes Community Orgs to the Floor!

What’s the coolest place at Denver Comic Con 2017 for families? The 10,000 square foot Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Laboratory of course!

This year the PCC Kids’ Lab is back, each day bringing a full slate of fun, interactive and engaging activities for kiddos of all ages and interests to the show floor. This year’s theme is You Can Make a Difference, and we’re welcoming even more local community organizations and artists to help us inspire children to make a difference in their community.

These organizations and artists volunteer their time to be a part of the great cause of using pop culture as a tool in education, from promoting illustration in comic books to providing technology to empower kids to make their own media.

Take a look at all the awesome organizations offering fun, interactive activities and be sure to stop by and visit them at the Kids’ Lab during this year’s Con!


Community Organizations to Visit at the 2017 Kids’ Lab

DCC'17 Kids Lab - Pop Culture ClassroomRed Team Go

This is Red Team Go’s second year in the lab. They are a collective of local artists focusing on the comic book, anime and illustration and will be hanging out and providing sketches, zombie makeup, as well as contributing to some great panels. 


DCC'17 Kids Lab - Pop Culture Classroom

Jackman Brothers Productions

Jackman Brothers have been bringing smiles to families’ faces since year 1 of DCC. They bring their A-game with balloon twisting, face painting and the friendliest personalities in the state of Colorado. Not only do they donate their time, but they donate their tips to Pop Culture Classroom to support out initiatives.


DCC'17 Kids Lab - Pop Culture Classroom

The CoMMiES

The Colorado Modeling Militia Enjoying Sci-Fi (CoMMiES) will be back for their fourth year! They will be bringing paper make-and-take models for attendees to engineer. After you are done creating, you can take it to our local ASIFA to do some stop motion animation.


DCC'17 Kids Lab - Pop Culture ClassroomColorado Symphony Orchestra

Once again, our friends at the CSO will be joining us at a table all weekend. They bring funky instruments, fun activities and professional musicians to wow attendees with musical nerdy fun.


DCC'17 Kids Lab - Pop Culture ClassroomDenver Open Media

This year we would like to welcome Denver Open Media, who throughout the year works with PCC to offer educational programming for local youth. They are dedicated to putting the power of the media in the hands of the community and providing technology resources. This year, they will have a spot in the Lab to teach attendees how to be a media maker!


Don’t Miss Out on the Best Kids’ Lab Yet! 

All of these great organizations and artists plus many more will be making the Lab a fantastic part of your Comic Con weekend. We feel that being a part of the community is how we can make change, and we are thankful for the support of everyone. Stop by the Lab with your family for some nerdy and educational fun!

If you haven’t bought tickets yet visit here to be a part of the hottest event of the summer!


PCC Celebrates a Successful Round of Spring 2017 Workshops!

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:
https://www.denveropenmedia.org/projects/superhero-shorts-comics-movies

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!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

A GALS student working diligently on her comic during class.

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Another student drawing her comic, titled Blood Thirsty, about vampires. Students used these comics as storyboards for their digital shorts!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Our grant allowed PCC and Denver Open Media to engage a greater degree of professional quality when creating the digital story-telling project. Here are some of the girls on set of a green-screen for special effects.

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

In addition, the girls at GALS were able to utilize professional camera and editing equipment to complete their digital short based on their comics.

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”

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

One of the many games students created over the 12-week workshop, in a preliminary testing phase. Note the small volcano in the middle of the board!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

While some students partnered up with each other to build a game, the majority – including students like Diego– hopped around the room collaborating with each other and trying out a new designs and ideas throughout the class. Part of the goal of the program is building classroom community and allowing students to work with their peers.

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

The board games ranged greatly in shape, size, and structure.

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

No game is complete without a set of rules! We encourage students to use whatever materials they like to create games – even maps!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

One of the girls in the class, Sarah, made two games, one of which she worked with PCC instructor Lance on – based on his beard as the basis for the board design.

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. 

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Averie and Fyetka met in our Curtis class and became instant friends. Averie’s comic, ‘Wolf Girl,’ centers on a girl who can transform into a wolf. Fyetka’s comic, ‘Flame Fame,’ features a protagonist who wakes from a coma underwater only to discover that she now has super powers and must save the world. Fyetka noted that she “learned a lot about shading, eyes, head shapes, and hair styles” in the workshop, while Averie “loved learning how to draw faces and draw clothes and layers.”

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Another Curtis student, Max, noted that he loved learning how to create comics because he “likes being able to express himself through drawing as well as writing.” He created a final comic about a protagonist who is labeled a pyromaniac and chooses to becomes a villain. But in the end, he decides to become a better person rather than letting a label dictate who he is!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Curtis student Trey titled his final comic The Big Fight. It features his protagonist, Stunt Man, and villain, Evil Unicorn, fighting over who is the best. Trey loves making comics and carries his sketchbook everywhere. He says his favorite part of the class was learning how to draw people.

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!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

An early draft of one student’s game. Students learn 7 game design principles during the game design program by playing and modifying basic games, and then apply this knowledge to their own games!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Just a few of the arts & crafts supplies students used to create the custom avatars, playing pieces and boards for their games!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

A group of Columbine students finalizing the rules after a last playthrough of their game! At the end of the program, students playtested each other’s games and provide feedback on the rules, materials and experience of playing their classmates’ games.

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.”

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

The title page for one of the student’s completed comic, Ghost Girl. While some students chose to create 6-panel comics on a single page, this student developed an actual book!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

2 Whittier students hyper-focused on their drawings. Whittier provided a great inclusive space and artistic environment for students to develop their work!

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Students learn how to create settings as part of the comic creation program. In this photo, a Whittier student practices drawing a castle to be included in her final comic.

2017 Spring Workshops - Pop Culture Classroom

Students learn how to create settings as part of the comic creation program. In this photo, a Whittier student practices drawing a castle to be included in her final comic.

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!

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.


Pop Culture Classroom Enters 3rd Year of Partnership with Youth One Book, One Denver

Pop Culture Classroom is excited to announce a continued partnership with Youth One Book, One Denver (YOBOD) Programs this summer! Since 2013, Pop Culture Classroom has offered over a dozen summer workshops and reached hundreds of students around the Denver Metro area through the YOBOD program. 

ABOUT YOBOD

YOBOD Partnership - Pop Culture Classroom

Now entering its sixth year, YOBOD is a summer reading program designed for 9- to 12-year-olds. Each summer, a book is selected for students to read all throughout Denver and surrounding areas. Students are also offered fun activities and events related to the selection to enhance their reading experience and combat learning loss. 

YOBOD SUMMER 2017

YOBOD Partnership - Pop Culture Classroom

The 2017 YOBOD selection is Upside-Down Magic by hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins.

This summer, PCC will be running a new series of pop culture-based workshops inspired by the shared reading experience of Upside-Down Magic at sites throughout Denver, including the Sun Valley Youth Center, Johnson Boys & Girls Club, Heart & Hand Academy, and more.

YOBOD Partnership - Pop Culture Classroom

Caption: Students share their creations from a YOBOD cosplay class from summer 2016.

These workshops will give students the opportunity to create their own magical creatures, costumes, comics or board games based around the book, helping bring this book to life and promote literacy.

We are so excited for another fun-filled summer promoting literacy and being a part of this wonderful program! To learn more about YOBOD and check if a summer workshop is happening near you, be sure to visit http://artsandvenuesdenver.com/events-programs/one-book-one-denver-new/.


Webcomics for the Classroom: Part 1

Contributed by: Jason Nisavic

When students walk in the door to start your class period, what do they expect to find? Hopefully, they look forward to your class as a chance to engage with something unusual and interesting.  For teachers who would like to jumpstart their lesson with a conversation piece, it’s hard to beat a good web comic.

Take for example one of my favorites, XKCD, a fantastic online, science-focused comic that occasionally shows a great deal of heart:

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

I have a copy of “Grownups” on my wall because of its profound impact on my approach to adulthood.  This is more than a three-panel punchline – it’s a short story with humor, a moral, and a happy ending.

WEBCOMICS IN THE CLASSROOM

Now, as an experiment, let’s see what we could do with this XKCD comic in the classroom. I gave myself 60 seconds to brainstorm, and here’s what I came up with:

  • English: Turn the story into a first-person narrative. What thoughts does the man have as he navigates this situation?
  • Sociology/Psychology: Reflect upon the expectations of adolescence and adulthood in society.
  • Math: Calculate how many 3” diameter playpen balls could fit in your classroom.

That’s just one strip from a comic that has nearly 2000 entries. Here’s another one from XKCD that’s just as intriguing a comic as it is a classroom resource: 

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

Upgoer Five” is a powerful example of the phrase “restrictions breed creativity.” In it, a diagram of a rocket is explained using only the 1000 most commonly used English words (a full list can be found here.) How fun would it then be to have your students use the same list to explain a recently-learned topic as a formative assessment? The possibilities are endless!

OTHER WEBCOMICS OF NOTE

And that’s just to start!  Below is a list of other promising webcomics to engage your students.

A Softer World

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

A now-defunct comic featuring mainly pictures with quirky captions, A Softer World can provide hundreds of creative writing prompts. (Occasionally NSFW)

The Oatmeal

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

The Oatmeal can give funny, sincere reflections upon life and culture (often NSFW, so be selective!)

Camp Weedonwantcha

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

Camp Weedonwantcha follows the ongoing struggles of a group of abandoned children who try to live together in an isolated camp.  Funny, touching, and great character development.  Organized into story arcs, but good luck pulling yourself away once you start.

Colorful History

Webcomics for the Classroom Part 1 - Pop Culture Classroom

Colorful History is a biweekly webcomic created by Pop Culture Classroom that provides short historical comics that focus on important figures in Colorado state history, complete with teacher guides! 

Web comics are an excellent, zero-budget way to start thinking visually. If things go well, then maybe it’s time to start exploring the ways that comics and graphic novels can bring new life to your teaching. And while these are a great start, keep in mind they don’t even scratch the surface of all the great webcomics out there. Keep an eye out for Part 2 to get more examples and suggestions!


The Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Laboratory Returns for DCC’17!

The Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Laboratory is back for Denver Comic Con 2017!  

What is the PCC Kids’ Lab, you ask? It’s only 10,000 square feet of pop culture-based educational fun for kids and teens – not to mention the most fun you’ll have all summer long!

This year, our Kids’ Lab theme is You Can Make a Difference. Each day, we’ll be offering a full slate of fun, interactive and engaging activities for kiddos of all ages and interests. All activities aim to give these children and teens the tools to empower themselves to make a difference in their world. With the help of the Denver Comic Con superhero team, students will learn about cleaning up Cherry Creek, making your own pizza garden, creating edible water bottles and many, many more activities sure to leave them inspired!

As a bonus, each activity at the Lab this year falls under at least two letters of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and comes with a lesson plan that teachers and parents can request to keep all the pop culture fun alive at home too!

Finally, there will be dozens of community organizations, presentations, live demos, workshops, arts & crafts, and interactive activities going on throughout the weekend.

If you’re new to DCC or just haven’t checked out the Lab before, stop by with your family and check it out and learn all about how DCC’s unique family friendly and education focus is helping us reach pop culture fans of all ages!


Announcing the Winners of Our Third Annual Kids Comic Contest!

We are excited to announce the winners of the 3rd annual Pop Culture Classroom Kids’ Comics Contest! These young comic creators submitted excellent original works displaying the ideas of strength, justice, courage, and unity through exemplary storytelling and art. We are excited to honor their hard work and creativity!

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.

See the Full List of Winners …