7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

Teach Miles Morales: Spiderman written by Jason Reynolds is a story about an regular teen, Miles Morales who resides in the Brooklyn projects. He comes from a low-income yet loving and supporting family and has received a scholarship to attend a very prominent boarding school with his friend Ganke, while also being the town’s hero.

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

7 Ways to Teach Miles Morales Jason Reynolds: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create reading comprehension questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “Miles Morales” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

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13 Fun Ways to Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds

Teach Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Teach What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

“Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds is about a young teenager who loses his brother to gang activity. His brother is shot down in a drive by shooting while on the basketball court. The protagonist of the stories family has generations of gang members who have been killed over the years including his father and his uncle. There are a set of gang rules that the protagonist must follow and one of them is to get revenge for his brother. The problem is once he gets revenge for his brother, a member of the opposing gang will get revenge on him and he is as good as dead. He heads to the building of the gang member who killed his brother and when he gets in the elevator he sees various ghosts who have died due to gang violence. He has the tough decision to either participate in revenge and die, or to break the cycle of gang violence and feel guilt or shame.

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach Long Way Down Jason Reynolds: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create “Long Way Down” discussion questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “Long Way Down” lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. Students participate in a gallery walk for the exposition through the resolution for “Long Way Down” and have to predict what order they go in. There is a “Long Way Down” question and answer section with chapter by chapter questions. I finish the unit off with a “Long Way Down essay.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

Teachers Pay Teachers Shop
Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

15 Must Have Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

What it’s about: Click HERE for the full lesson

15 Fun Ways to teach Inside Out and Back Again is about a young girl named Kim Hà and her family, which consists of her Mother and three brothers, who are forced to move to the United States because the Vietnam War had reached their home, and it was no longer safe. They boarded a navy ship and flee. It focuses on the struggles of each character and brings awareness of what it means to be a refugee-specifically as a child.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Vocabulary

I start by passing out a vocabulary sheet in which students have the page number and the vocabulary word. Students are to write a simple synonym for the definition. I like to keep definitions as simple as possible because when you use long definitions there is a low chance of student retention.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Journal Responses

Second, I have multiple journal responses that I use throughout the unit that are engaging and assess student comprehension.

  1. Some of the examples are to write a letter to a character. Tell them how you are similar or different. Tell them something you admire about them and why. This puts the students through the thought process of what empathy is like.
  2. Another journal response can be to Create a mock interview between yourself and a character. Create interview questions, practice and be prepared to present in front of the class.
  3. Students can Predict what will happen in the next chapter and craft a chapter from a character’s perspective in first person point of view. Be prepared to share the chapter with your classmates.
  4. Or, choose a significant incident in the book and write a journal entry from a character’s point-of-view
  5. You can ask them If you were given the opportunity to ask the author 5 questions what would they be? Write the questions below and explain why you want the answers to these questions.
  6. To assess setting students can create the setting in a drawing below. Be specific with details.
  7. Lastly draw a primary character and at least one secondary character in the box below. Be accurate in your drawing.
Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Reading Comprehension

  1. Visualize-I ask students to draw a symbol that best represents the book.
  2. Summarize-Students will summarize the book, a chapter, or a section of the book.
  3. Clarify-Students are to analyze where they lack an understanding of the book. They are to ask themselves, what do I need to re-read in order to fully comprehend the material?
  4. Connect-students ask themselves how the material connects to other material in the book and to other texts they have read.
  5. Respond-Students analyze how the author uses literary devices in the work and why.
  6. Question-Students are to make a list of questions they have for the author for further understanding.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Costa’s Question Cues

Next I have students create a list of high order thinking questions using Costa’s question cues. Some of Costa’s question stems begin with the following:

  1. Clarify
  2. Analyze
  3. Compare/contrast
  4. Evaluate
  5. Decide
  6. Interpret

You can collect these questions and answers and use them for a Socratic Seminar or a Four Corner Discussion. Pass out a list of the questions for students to work on at home. Have students return with their questions and answers. Elect two leaders to lead the discussion. Remain as an observer and allow for a meaningful discussion about the book.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Connections

I like to take connections with the book a step deeper because of the importance of engaging the students by connecting them with the material. I have students look up quotes of things that happen in the book that remind them of something from their own lives. They write the quote and begin a connection with something like, “This reminds me of a time that….” Students catalogue the quotes and connections as they read through the book.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Purpose of Reading

It is important to note the purpose of reading a text. Students are always asking “what is the point of this?” and there is only a positive outcome if a teacher takes the time to answer this question. Some purpose of reading questions can be:

  1. What are the characters’ motives or goals?
  2. What is the conflict?
  3. What am I visualizing?
  4. What is the message the author is trying to convey?
  5. What mood is the author creating?
  6. What problem is the character facing?
  7. How is the plot developing the story?
  8. Why did the author write this story?
  9. What themes are addressed in this text?
  10. What is your emotional response to the text?

Through analyzing and discussing the answers to these questions, you can come to a consensus as to what the purpose is of reading a text-even if it’s just for fun!

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Sentence Starters

The next assignment I have students complete throughout the reading are sentence starters. Sentence starters help students to analyze their own thinking and wonderment. Some examples of sentence starters are:

  1. I wonder…
  2. I was surprised that…
  3. I don’t really understand…
  4. I was reminded that…

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Exposition Writing

Some practice with writing an exposition can be done by simply using a statement and backing it up with evidence. For example, if we are to look at the statement “Parents should enocurage their kids to participate in a sport” then the evidence to back it up.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Compare/Contrast Characters

Another assignment worthy of a teacher’s attention is to compare contrast characters physical and emotional descriptions. You can utilize a graphic organizer to effectively list information.

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Close Reading Questions

It is highly effective to take a close reading passage from the book and have students analyze it by answering a list of carefully crafted sentences. A list of close reading sentences can look like this:

  1. What does this passage mean to you?
  2. Why do you think it is important to the text as a whole?
  3. What confuses you about the passage?
  4. Why is understanding this passage important to your response to the book as a whole?
  5. How does the passage connect to other ideas in the book?
  6. How does the author feeling about the ideas, characters or events they are presenting?
  7. Do the characters remind you of anyone else in fiction, history, or anyone else in your life?
  8. What is revealed about the characters you have read in this passage?

15 Ways to Teach Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Have Fun With Learning! Roll the Dice Activity

It is crucial that students have some fun while learning. A simple way to create some fun is by creating a “roll the dice” activity sheet. On a sheet of paper create the following activities:

  1. Paraphrase learned information in one sentence.
  2. Create a bookmark for today’s learning.
  3. Write original lyrics to a song that relates to today’s topic.
  4. Write four what if questions about the topic
  5. Create vocabulary cards for the five most essential terms
  6. Write an acrostic poem about the topic
  7. Write a letter to a family member or friend about the topic
  8. Create an analogy for today’s topic and an image
  9. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information
  10. Summarize what you learned today to three classmates

Have students role dye and whichever number they land on they will complete as a group. If you only have once set of dye, you can roll for the whole class.

A One-Pager Assignment Project

The purpose of the one-pager assignment is to take a close look at the novel and analyze its themes, characters, quotes, etc.

The top half should focus on symbolism and themes using words and images. The bottom half should focus on key characters from the text and how they develop.

You may also use other symbols, drawings and words as you wish.

The border is themes. Students can get creative and maximize their efforts with a one-pager assessment.

Create a Plot Structure Diagram

Create a plot structure diagram using the mountain analogy with the following:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising action
  4. Climax
  5. Falling action
  6. Resolution

6-Panel StoryBoard

Students can get a little creative and create a six-panel storyboard where they illustrate and write about a scene. They can also do an extension of a paragraph or the book.

Philosophical Chairs Discussion

Philosophical chair discussions are important in that they not only teach students to take a critical look at a topic but they learn how to express their opinions and evidence about the topic effectively. A great philosophical chairs discussion topic for this book is how our actions affect others. Have students choose a side, write about their opinions using evidence from the text and share their work in an articulate manner.

The Essay

A thorough final assessment can be the essay. For this particular book I would do a literary analysis or if you want to extend the philosophical chairs discussion, you can use the same topic from the philosophical chairs discussion.

However you teach “Inside Out and Back Again” you are doing your students a service as it is a book worthy of attention and analysis. Get this full lesson in my TpT shop HERE

15 Fun Ways to Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

What it’s about: Click HERE for the full lesson

15 Fun Ways to teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba is about The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba is a memoir about the author’s struggle to build a windmill in his village in Malawi. It’s a story about sacrifice, perserverance, and hope. The book begins with a prologue that shows William starting up his windmill for the first time. With this success in mind, the reader is then thrust into a world of superstition and government corruption that creates difficulties for the innovation of the windmill.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Vocabulary

I start by passing out a vocabulary sheet in which students have the page number and the vocabulary word. Students are to write a simple synonym for the definition. I like to keep definitions as simple as possible because when you use long definitions there is a low chance of student retention.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Journal Responses

Second, I have multiple journal responses that I use throughout the unit that are engaging and assess student comprehension.

  1. Some of the examples are to write a letter to a character. Tell them how you are similar or different. Tell them something you admire about them and why. This puts the students through the thought process of what empathy is like.
  2. Another journal response can be to Create a mock interview between yourself and a character. Create interview questions, practice and be prepared to present in front of the class.
  3. Students can Predict what will happen in the next chapter and craft a chapter from a character’s perspective in first person point of view. Be prepared to share the chapter with your classmates.
  4. Or, choose a significant incident in the book and write a journal entry from a character’s point-of-view
  5. You can ask them If you were given the opportunity to ask the author 5 questions what would they be? Write the questions below and explain why you want the answers to these questions.
  6. To assess setting students can create the setting in a drawing below. Be specific with details.
  7. Lastly draw a primary character and at least one secondary character in the box below. Be accurate in your drawing.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Reading Comprehension

  1. Visualize-I ask students to draw a symbol that best represents the book.
  2. Summarize-Students will summarize the book, a chapter, or a section of the book.
  3. Clarify-Students are to analyze where they lack an understanding of the book. They are to ask themselves, what do I need to re-read in order to fully comprehend the material?
  4. Connect-students ask themselves how the material connects to other material in the book and to other texts they have read.
  5. Respond-Students analyze how the author uses literary devices in the work and why.
  6. Question-Students are to make a list of questions they have for the author for further understanding.
Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Costa’s Question Cues

Next I have students create a list of high order thinking questions using Costa’s question cues. Some of Costa’s question stems begin with the following:

  1. Clarify
  2. Analyze
  3. Compare/contrast
  4. Evaluate
  5. Decide
  6. Interpret

You can collect these questions and answers and use them for a Socratic Seminar or a Four Corner Discussion. Pass out a list of the questions for students to work on at home. Have students return with their questions and answers. Elect two leaders to lead the discussion. Remain as an observer and allow for a meaningful discussion about the book.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Connections

I like to take connections with the book a step deeper because of the importance of engaging the students by connecting them with the material. I have students look up quotes of things that happen in the book that remind them of something from their own lives. They write the quote and begin a connection with something like, “This reminds me of a time that….” Students catalogue the quotes and connections as they read through the book.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Purpose of Reading

It is important to note the purpose of reading a text. Students are always asking “what is the point of this?” and there is only a positive outcome if a teacher takes the time to answer this question. Some purpose of reading questions can be:

  1. What are the characters’ motives or goals?
  2. What is the conflict?
  3. What am I visualizing?
  4. What is the message the author is trying to convey?
  5. What mood is the author creating?
  6. What problem is the character facing?
  7. How is the plot developing the story?
  8. Why did the author write this story?
  9. What themes are addressed in this text?
  10. What is your emotional response to the text?

Through analyzing and discussing the answers to these questions, you can come to a consensus as to what the purpose is of reading a text-even if it’s just for fun!

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Sentence Starters

The next assignment I have students complete throughout the reading are sentence starters. Sentence starters help students to analyze their own thinking and wonderment. Some examples of sentence starters are:

  1. I wonder…
  2. I was surprised that…
  3. I don’t really understand…
  4. I was reminded that…

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Exposition Writing

Some practice with writing an exposition can be done by simply using a statement and backing it up with evidence. For example, if we are to look at the statement “Parents should encourage their kids to participate in a sport” then include the evidence to back it up.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Compare/Contrast Characters

Another assignment worthy of a teacher’s attention is to compare contrast characters physical and emotional descriptions. You can utilize a graphic organizer to effectively list information.

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Close Reading Questions

It is highly effective to take a close reading passage from the book and have students analyze it by answering a list of carefully crafted sentences. A list of close reading sentences can look like this:

  1. What does this passage mean to you?
  2. Why do you think it is important to the text as a whole?
  3. What confuses you about the passage?
  4. Why is understanding this passage important to your response to the book as a whole?
  5. How does the passage connect to other ideas in the book?
  6. How does the author feeling about the ideas, characters or events they are presenting?
  7. Do the characters remind you of anyone else in fiction, history, or anyone else in your life?
  8. What is revealed about the characters you have read in this passage?

Teach The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Have Fun With Learning! Roll the Dice Activity

It is crucial that students have some fun while learning. A simple way to create some fun is by creating a “roll the dice” activity sheet. On a sheet of paper create the following activities:

  1. Paraphrase learned information in one sentence.
  2. Create a bookmark for today’s learning.
  3. Write original lyrics to a song that relates to today’s topic.
  4. Write four what if questions about the topic
  5. Create vocabulary cards for the five most essential terms
  6. Write an acrostic poem about the topic
  7. Write a letter to a family member or friend about the topic
  8. Create an analogy for today’s topic and an image
  9. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information
  10. Summarize what you learned today to three classmates

Have students role dye and whichever number they land on they will complete as a group. If you only have once set of dye, you can roll for the whole class.

A One-Pager Assignment Project

The purpose of the one-pager assignment is to take a close look at the novel and analyze its themes, characters, quotes, etc.

The top half should focus on symbolism and themes using words and images. The bottom half should focus on key characters from the text and how they develop.

You may also use other symbols, drawings and words as you wish.

The border is themes. Students can get creative and maximize their efforts with a one-pager assessment.

Create a Plot Structure Diagram

Create a plot structure diagram using the mountain analogy with the following:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising action
  4. Climax
  5. Falling action
  6. Resolution

6-Panel StoryBoard

Students can get a little creative and create a six-panel storyboard where they illustrate and write about a scene. They can also do an extension of a paragraph or the book.

Philosophical Chairs Discussion

Philosophical chair discussions are important in that they not only teach students to take a critical look at a topic but they learn how to express their opinions and evidence about the topic effectively. A great philosophical chairs discussion topic for this book is how our actions affect others. Have students choose a side, write about their opinions using evidence from the text and share their work in an articulate manner.

The Essay

A thorough final assessment can be the essay. For this particular book I would do a literary analysis or if you want to extend the philosophical chairs discussion, you can use the same topic from the philosophical chairs discussion.

However you teach “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” you are doing your students a service as it is a book worthy of attention and analysis. Get this full lesson in my TpT shop HERE

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

13 Fun Ways to Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei

Teach They Called US Enemy by George Takei

Teach What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

They Called US Enemy is about George Takei’s memoir of growing up in Japanese internment camps during World War II. On December 7, 1941, as the Takei family decorates their Christmas tree, a news bulletin interrupts music on the radio. It tells listeners that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. will declare war on Japan. George began this journey living in horse stable barracks in California and ended this journey on the streets of Skid Row. It was a harrowing experience that is barely acknowledged today. It’s a story that needs to be told. This blog post outlines the best and easiest ways to teach They Called US Enemy in the classroom.

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach They Called US Enemy George Takei: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create They Called US Enemy discussion questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for They Called US Enemy lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. I also show the They Called US Enemy Ted talk. I have students watch the video and answer questions. There is a They Called US Enemy question and answer section with chapter by chapter questions. I finish the unit off with a They Called US Enemy essay.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

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15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

What it’s about: Click HERE for the full lesson

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes is a timely, intelligent and well-executed novel for children and adults. Rhodes masterfully captures the pain of racial injustice for a 12-year-old black boy attending an all-white prep school outside of Boston. It is also a story about hope, believing in yourself, and choosing a higher path.

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Vocabulary

I start by passing out a vocabulary sheet in which students have the page number and the vocabulary word. Students are to write a simple synonym for the definition. I like to keep definitions as simple as possible because when you use long definitions there is a low chance of student retention.

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Journal Responses

Second, I have multiple journal responses that I use throughout the unit that are engaging and assess student comprehension.

  1. Some of the examples are to write a letter to a character. Tell them how you are similar or different. Tell them something you admire about them and why. This puts the students through the thought process of what empathy is like.
  2. Another journal response can be to Create a mock interview between yourself and a character. Create interview questions, practice and be prepared to present in front of the class.
  3. Students can Predict what will happen in the next chapter and craft a chapter from a character’s perspective in first person point of view. Be prepared to share the chapter with your classmates.
  4. Or, choose a significant incident in the book and write a journal entry from a character’s point-of-view
  5. You can ask them If you were given the opportunity to ask the author 5 questions what would they be? Write the questions below and explain why you want the answers to these questions.
  6. To assess setting students can create the setting in a drawing below. Be specific with details.
  7. Lastly draw a primary character and at least one secondary character in the box below. Be accurate in your drawing.

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Reading Comprehension

  1. Visualize-I ask students to draw a symbol that best represents the book.
  2. Summarize-Students will summarize the book, a chapter, or a section of the book.
  3. Clarify-Students are to analyze where they lack an understanding of the book. They are to ask themselves, what do I need to re-read in order to fully comprehend the material?
  4. Connect-students ask themselves how the material connects to other material in the book and to other texts they have read.
  5. Respond-Students analyze how the author uses literary devices in the work and why.
  6. Question-Students are to make a list of questions they have for the author for further understanding.

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Costa’s Question Cues

Next I have students create a list of high order thinking questions using Costa’s question cues. Some of Costa’s question stems begin with the following:

  1. Clarify
  2. Analyze
  3. Compare/contrast
  4. Evaluate
  5. Decide
  6. Interpret

You can collect these questions and answers and use them for a Socratic Seminar or a Four Corner Discussion. Pass out a list of the questions for students to work on at home. Have students return with their questions and answers. Elect two leaders to lead the discussion. Remain as an observer and allow for a meaningful discussion about the book.

15 Easy Ways to Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Connections

I like to take connections with the book a step deeper because of the importance of engaging the students by connecting them with the material. I have students look up quotes of things that happen in the book that remind them of something from their own lives. They write the quote and begin a connection with something like, “This reminds me of a time that….” Students catalogue the quotes and connections as they read through the book.

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Purpose of Reading

It is important to note the purpose of reading a text. Students are always asking “what is the point of this?” and there is only a positive outcome if a teacher takes the time to answer this question. Some purpose of reading questions can be:

  1. What are the characters’ motives or goals?
  2. What is the conflict?
  3. What am I visualizing?
  4. What is the message the author is trying to convey?
  5. What mood is the author creating?
  6. What problem is the character facing?
  7. How is the plot developing the story?
  8. Why did the author write this story?
  9. What themes are addressed in this text?
  10. What is your emotional response to the text?

Through analyzing and discussing the answers to these questions, you can come to a consensus as to what the purpose is of reading a text-even if it’s just for fun!

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Sentence Starters

The next assignment I have students complete throughout the reading are sentence starters. Sentence starters help students to analyze their own thinking and wonderment. Some examples of sentence starters are:

  1. I wonder…
  2. I was surprised that…
  3. I don’t really understand…
  4. I was reminded that…

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Exposition Writing

Some practice with writing an exposition can be done by simply using a statement and backing it up with evidence. For example, if we are to look at the statement “Parents should enocurage their kids to participate in a sport” then the evidence to back it up.

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Compare/Contrast Characters

Another assignment worthy of a teacher’s attention is to compare contrast characters physical and emotional descriptions. You can utilize a graphic organizer to effectively list information.

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Close Reading Questions

It is highly effective to take a close reading passage from the book and have students analyze it by answering a list of carefully crafted sentences. A list of close reading sentences can look like this:

  1. What does this passage mean to you?
  2. Why do you think it is important to the text as a whole?
  3. What confuses you about the passage?
  4. Why is understanding this passage important to your response to the book as a whole?
  5. How does the passage connect to other ideas in the book?
  6. How does the author feeling about the ideas, characters or events they are presenting?
  7. Do the characters remind you of anyone else in fiction, history, or anyone else in your life?
  8. What is revealed about the characters you have read in this passage?

Teach Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: Have Fun With Learning! Roll the Dice Activity

It is crucial that students have some fun while learning. A simple way to create some fun is by creating a “roll the dice” activity sheet. On a sheet of paper create the following activities:

  1. Paraphrase learned information in one sentence.
  2. Create a bookmark for today’s learning.
  3. Write original lyrics to a song that relates to today’s topic.
  4. Write four what if questions about the topic
  5. Create vocabulary cards for the five most essential terms
  6. Write an acrostic poem about the topic
  7. Write a letter to a family member or friend about the topic
  8. Create an analogy for today’s topic and an image
  9. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information
  10. Summarize what you learned today to three classmates

Have students role dye and whichever number they land on they will complete as a group. If you only have once set of dye, you can roll for the whole class.

A One-Pager Assignment Project

The purpose of the one-pager assignment is to take a close look at the novel and analyze its themes, characters, quotes, etc.

The top half should focus on symbolism and themes using words and images. The bottom half should focus on key characters from the text and how they develop.

You may also use other symbols, drawings and words as you wish.

The border is themes. Students can get creative and maximize their efforts with a one-pager assessment.

Create a Plot Structure Diagram

Create a plot structure diagram using the mountain analogy with the following:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising action
  4. Climax
  5. Falling action
  6. Resolution

6-Panel StoryBoard

Students can get a little creative and create a six-panel storyboard where they illustrate and write about a scene. They can also do an extension of a paragraph or the book.

Philosophical Chairs Discussion

Philosophical chair discussions are important in that they not only teach students to take a critical look at a topic but they learn how to express their opinions and evidence about the topic effectively. A great philosophical chairs discussion topic for this book is how our actions affect others. Have students choose a side, write about their opinions using evidence from the text and share their work in an articulate manner.

The Essay

A thorough final assessment can be the essay. For this particular book I would do a literary analysis or if you want to extend the philosophical chairs discussion, you can use the same topic from the philosophical chairs discussion.

However you teach “Black Brother, Black Brother” you are doing your students a service as it is a book worthy of attention and analysis. Get this full lesson in my TpT shop HERE

11 Must Have Ways to Teach Stargazing Jen Wang

Teach Stargazing by Jen Wang

What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

Teach When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson is about Omar, a boy of about 11 who’s been living in a refugee camp in Kenya since he was about 4, when soldiers came to the farm where he was born in Somalia. Omar’s father was killed, and while running from the danger Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, were separated from their mother. It is a coming-of-age graphic novel about empowerment and how this young boy eventually made it all the way to the United States.

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach Stargazing Jen Wang: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create reading comprehension questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “Stargazing” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

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Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

15 Easy Ways to Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson

Teach What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

Teach When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson is about Omar, a boy of about 11 who’s been living in a refugee camp in Kenya since he was about 4, when soldiers came to the farm where he was born in Somalia. Omar’s father was killed, and while running from the danger Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, were separated from their mother. It is a coming-of-age graphic novel about empowerment and how this young boy eventually made it all the way to the United States.

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create reading comprehension questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “When Stars Are Scattered” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

Teachers Pay Teachers Shop

5 Best Ways To Teach Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Foleman, You Must Know!

Teach Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Foleman

What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

Teach Anne Frank’s Diary is about a young girl who scribes her experiences in the Holocaust on a regular basis. Anne’s diary begins on her thirteenth birthday, June 12, 1942, and ends shortly after her fifteenth birthday. At the start of her diary, Anne describes fairly typical girlhood experiences, writing about her friendships with other girls, her crushes on boys, and her academic performance at school. Because anti-Semitic laws forced Jews into separate schools, Anne and her older sister, Margot, attended the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam.

The Franks had moved to the Netherlands in the years leading up to World War II to escape persecution in Germany. After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Franks were forced into hiding. With another family, the van Daans, and an acquaintance, Mr. Dussel, they moved into a small secret annex above Otto Frank’s office where they had stockpiled food and supplies. The employees from Otto’s firm helped hide the Franks and kept them supplied with food, medicine, and information about the outside world.

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach “Anne Frank’s Diary” by Ari Foleman: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create reading comprehension questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “Anne Frank’s Diary” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

Teachers Pay Teachers Shop

How to Teach New Kid Graphic Novel Structures by Jerry Craft

Teach New Kid by Jerry Craft

Teach New Kid by Jerry Craft: What It’s About? Click HERE for the full lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft is a 2019 graphic novel and winner of the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. Jim Callahan is responsible for the coloring. Craft focuses on an artistic middle school student who makes friends and builds confidence in himself as he navigates race and class issues at a prestigious private school.

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels

5 characteristics of graphic novels are essential to teach students prior to reading the graphic novel. What is a graphic novel? A graphic novel is a compilation of graphics and text structured on pages at the length of a novel. How long are graphic novels? Anywhere from 100-500 plus pages. The difference between a graphic novel and a novel is that the graphic novel has graphics (images). The difference between a graphic novel vs comic book is the length. Graphic novels text features are different than a novel just like nonfiction text features. The 5 characteristics of a graphic novel are: shapes, perspective of frame, angles, structure, and layout.

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Arguments Against GN

There are arguments against graphic novels. However, I have found that I can refute those arguments. The main argument is that students are not able to use their imagination to picture characters and setting. However, there are activities that can be supplemented to fulfill this standard. For example, providing text for a scene in a graphic novel and having students create an image of the scene based on text description. Another argument is that the length of words is to short in the graphic novel. However, Students can read more graphic novels, which beats the alternative of not reading at all.

Graphic Novel Basics

How do graphic novels work? When teaching a graphic novel, it is essential to teach students the basics. I pass out a graphic organizer and use a PowerPoint to go over the 5 characteristics of graphic novels

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Characteristics of Graphic Novels

The first out of the 5 Characteristics of Graphic Novels is:

Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)

Basic Shapes

1. Basic Shapes

Vertical=signals strength 

Horizontal=a calm and stable atmosphere 

Circles=signal unity 

Movement Triangle=a stable and unified atmosphere

Whole Diagonals=signal action

The second of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Perspectives of Frame

2. Perspectives of Frame

Close ups=establish an emotional relationship between the viewer (you) and represented subjects or characters

Medium Shot=establishes objective (without judgment) relationship between viewer (you) and represented characters or subjects.

Long shot=a long shot establishes a relationship between represented figures or characters and surrounding environment

The 3rd of the 5 characteristics of graphic novels is angles:

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Angles

3. Angles

Vertical Angle=situates the reader (you) and the subject/character on an equal level.

Low angle=situates represented subjects or characters in position of power. Imagine being down low, looking up high.

High angle=situates the reader in a position of power, omniscient view-point. Imagine being up high looking down as we are in the image above. We are situated as the “all-knowing” figure to what is happening on campus.

The 4th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is:

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Structure

4. Structure

Left-Right Structure

Given=information that is known to the reader, and taken for granted or not given much thought. An example would be the main character in “Smile” having braces in her mouth. This is not a surprise because we/the audience accompanied her to the dentist.

New=information that is previously unknown to the reader and therefore catches the readers attention. For example, when George Takei’s family is picked up by the American police and placed in a concentration camp in, “They Called US Enemy”. This would be new information in the book.

The 5th out of 5 characteristics of graphic novels is

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Layout

5. Layout

Layout Panel:

A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in variety. Most graphic novels have consistent panels with mixed-in-single panels.

Teach “New Kid” by Jerry Craft: Panels

Panels: offer a different experience than simply reading text:

-The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. On one page we can see a character thinking about the past while being in the present, and looking forward to the future.

-Unlike other- visual media, transitions are instant and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed. In the traditional novel we have foreshadowing and hints of what is to come in the future, whereas in a graphic novel, at times we can see what is coming right around the corner, even when a character cannot. This is really helpful for struggling or young readers.

Frames

Frame:

The lines and borders that contain the panels; akin to a picture frame that lines around a picture.

Gutter

Gutter:

The space between framed panels. The thin space that separates the frame or metal from the actual picture. In the case of an actual picture, this would be the cardboard space.

Bleed

Bleed:

An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page, this can include a single image on one page.

Foreground

Foreground:

The panel closest to the viewer. The author may structure the foreground in relation to importance of what he wants the audience to focus on. The background may contain the small details, less important to the plot.

Midground

Midground:

Allows centering of image by using a natural resting place for the reader’s vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image.

Background

Background:

Provides additional, sub-textual information for the reader. For example the way characters may be described by how they look in the background. A class-clown wearing a hat sideways, a unique character holding a dummy, etc.

Graphic Weight

Graphic weight:

A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page.

Figures Faces

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story.

Examples:

Hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise or confusion.

The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort, or confusion.

-Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, shyness or surprise.

Turned in feet may denote embarrassment-think Goofy in most pictures.

Feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed, example, Speedy Gonzalez.

New Kid” by Jerry Craft: in this image the author uses a malapropism of a movie, as a light-hearted way to introduce each chapter. Note the character on the right. She is floating which is an indicator of her as a very flakey, unique, really out there character. She also has one palm up and open facing upward which suggests surprise. Meanwhile her puppet which makes her a “weird” student on campus lies heavily and exaggerated on her left hand. A student that is considered “cool” and collected, has his feet firmly planted on the ground with hands in fists.

Text Captions

Text Captions:

These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech Balloons

Speech balloons:

These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects Lettering

Special-effects lettering:

This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow.

After Filling Out Notes on Graphic Novels

Upon completion of the graphic organizer to fill in the graphic novel information above, we use this organizer to analyze various scenes in the graphic novel. In addition I create reading comprehension questions to keep students on their toes. You can practice inference, you make copies of a scene and block out the dialogue asking students to fill it in. You can give a scene cut out and mixed up and have students put it in chronological order. There are so many things you can do with a graphic novel! And it’s so much fun! Click HERE for the full lesson for “New Kid” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In Conclusion

By teaching some basics: basics of shapes, perspectives of frames, angles, hands and faces, structure, layout panels, and text captions, students and teachers alike can effectively complete a graphic novel unit. If you teach students and teachers the basics the graphic novel experience can be a great one!

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels! I’m always looking for the next graphic novel read. Please share in the comments below! To learn more specifics about the popular graphic novels mentioned above check out my blog on the top 15 teen reads.

Teachers Pay Teachers Shop
Homepage | Novel Study School (teachable.com)