Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes (590 Words)
Primary Audience: K-8 Classroom Teachers and Literacy Coaches
A Back Story
Graphic novels are still really hot in our elementary school. Popular titles fly off our library shelves and kids are often seen walking through the halls reading, not able to take their eyes off the pages. A few years ago, we introduced graphic novels as a mini-unit in one of our second-grade classrooms. During that mini-unit, there wasn’t a day that went by when the teacher didn’t stop by to tell me about how excited the students were for writing time. “I love teaching this unit!” she often exclaimed.
Why It Matters
When engagement is so high reading graphic novels, writing graphic novels only makes sense as a way to celebrate and end the school year. It’s also a prime opportunity to show students how they can transfer all they’ve learned about writing over the course of the school year to learn how to write a new genre.
How It Works
- Immersion: Studying a mentor is always a good way to launch a unit. Students can browse the pages of some of their favorite graphic novels and notice how the pieces are organized and structured. They may also begin to notice the ways in which the authors and illustrators tell the story or teach about a topic using pictures and words. It may be helpful to guide students to notice the size and shape of different cells. Graphic novelists often give more space to parts that are more important.
- Planning: This is the time to pull out your favorite planning tools and show students that the story mountains they used to plan their fiction stories earlier in the year can also be used to plan graphic novels. The same goes for the table of contents they used to plan the subtopics for all about books.
- Drafting: You can remind students of charts from previous units of study. Your lessons can include ways that the strategies students learned earlier in the year can also apply to their graphic novels. For example, when thinking about elaboration, students can look back at their mentor texts to notice the ways that graphic novelists bring their characters to life through both their words and pictures. Students can emulate those craft moves in their own pieces.
- Revision/Editing: Once again, lean on strategies and routines taught in previous units. Pulling out your elaboration charts and encouraging writers to try new strategies is one way to encourage revision. Editing checklists that students have become familiar with all year long can also be used to fix up graphic novels.
These texts are also fun for writers to explore and learn different techniques and strategies that are specific to writing comics and graphic novels.
The Bottom Line
The fun of writing graphic novels doesn’t have to be just for your students. We know the power of writing for and alongside the children we teach. This unit may give you just the break you need this time of year, to be creative and find the joy in teaching writing.
4 thoughts on “Graphic Novels: The Perfect Way to End the Year”
This is a great idea! Can you send a link for the elaboration menu? Thanks!
Can we do this in K?! Love the little seed that could!
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Yes! Let’s give it a try! ❤️
What a fun way to engage students at the end of the year, Jess! Thanks for sharing the link to your own demonstration text. It was helpful to see that!