Summers off. It’s something that a lot of teachers cite about liking their job. It’s something those outside of education cite to us teachers essentially saying, “like you have anything to complain about.” Well, if you’re in education then you know that although students are not in class, teachers are still involved in activities related to their classrooms.
That’s where I found myself last week. Being hired into a new district, I was required to attend a week long professional development event. Honestly, I didn’t care. I figured it would help me get into the swing of things again and give me an opportunity to meet other faculty members of my district, which it did.
What I was told beforehand was that the PD focused on reading strategies, particularly use of graphic novels in the classroom. This was something I first ran into about seven years ago and I, admittedly, dismissed the concept as a gimmick, a flash in the pan of educational trends. However, against the back drop of the Civil Rghts Movement, I walked away at the end of the week sold on the idea.
Throughout the week, we used and were required to read John Lewis’s graphic novel, March, as a resource when analyzing the CRM. What I liked about the PD was that we took an in-depth look at the technical side of graphic novels: layout, thought and dialogue bubbles, use of shade, sound effects, etc. Everything with a purpose.
By the end of the week, I also was informed that through my attendance at the PD I was also committing myself (and at least 10 of my future students) to the National History Day competition held sometime in Feb/March. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand.” Easy enough. History enthusiasts like me can think of a good many cases of individuals or groups of people taking a stand. So I’m not too worried about it. As a new experience for me, I’ll give it my best shot and see what happens.
But in the meatime, while the days of summer break are dwindling down, I’ll continue getting ready for the new academic year. I have to decorate and organize my classroom as well as begin some lesson planning.
Before signing off, I would like to know if you have used graphic novels in your classroom and which ones. I’d be particularly interested in anything related to World History....as that is 5 of the 6 classes I’ll be teaching :)