Sunday, May 16, 2010

Comic Books and Second Language Learners

I was toying of the idea of calling this post "Oh, happiness the very pith" due to the sweet fact that I have completed another semester at Fordham University, but thought that might be a tad too esoteric, hence, a more straightforward approach.

After an truly intense three weeks with my head in the books, the onslaught has subsided. And although the work was relentless, it was also quite interesting.

The first of three major projects was a poster presentation for a class entitled Second Language Proficiency. I chose to present on how comic books can be used to promote interest and development in reading with second language learners.

As I read the main article I thought "how brilliant if I could get George O'Connor to draw some pictures on this for me".

George O'Connor is a New York Times best selling children's book author whose books Kapow! and Ker-Splash! were inspired by his love of comic books. The main character is a boy with an active imagination who becomes the superhero American Eagle when a crisis arises.

I envisioned that American Eagle, in my poster, could signify the power of comic books as well as highlight the main point in the research which is the appealing fact that comic books present material in both words and pictures (the significance of this is supported by the Dual Coding Theory). A speech bubble (words) and a thought bubble (pictures) over American Eagle's head would provide a nice visual from which to begin my presentation.

I asked George and he was willing to help me out with whatever I wanted. Brilliant!

So, in addition to the American Eagle centerpiece I also asked him if he could draw the hand of Zeus holding a lightening bolt to signify the spark of interest that ignited this exploration in the first place.

"No problem" says George.

This would also tie in nicely with my presentation because I wanted to provide some examples of excellent graphic novels teachers could use in their classrooms.

George's Olympians Series is a perfect fit. The first two books in the series Zeus: King of the Gods and Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess are already available and they are AMAZING!

We chatted the whole time he worked on the poster about our shared love of Greek Mythology, about his art (which is perfected only after hundreds and hundreds of drawings have been created for each character) and about many other things.

Before long he was done and I had a the beginnings of a poster I was very excited about.

Lauren was kind enough to color it for me (thanks) so all I had to do was organize the research (overview, methodology, findings, implications) on the poster and prepare hand-outs.

Now that the presentation is finished I think we are going to frame the centerpiece of this poster and hang it in the classroom.

Thank you George!


Barbara said...

You get an A+ in my opinion! You seem to take every assignment so seriously and come up with something so off the charts. I hope you shared this whole process with your kids.

Arielle Lee Bair said...

Cool! You are the most creative teacher ever.

Gary said...

Thank you Barbara. You got it right, I am a perfectionist. I could probably get away with doing much less but I simply don't have it in me. The grades for the two classes I took this semester are in and there were A's all around. Just one more class left before I start writing the dissertation!

Arielle you are too sweet. xoxo


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