SchoolArts Magazine

January 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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their dialogue first to make sure their writing wouldn't be squished. Most sketched their drawings in pencil, but that was not a requirement. Students had full access to any drawing or painting material. Many colored their comics, but a few did not. Black and white seemed to suit some of the art - ists better, such as Walt Disney. Breakthroughs We had a few breakthroughs with this assignment. Several teachers commented that they had never seen their students write so legibly. One student specifically told me that he could not write letters at all, and that it wasn't worth trying. So, we worked together to break each letter down into a simple shape, the same way he would draw a cartoon in my class. After one sentence of frustrated assistance, he realized that he could letter the remaining talk bubbles by himself. It was fortunate for all of us because he is a funny writer. Another teacher asked a student why he couldn't write so neatly all the time. "Because it's art class," was the answer. "It has to look good." Reflections The most important thing about these comic strip biographies is that they are really fun! Once their read - ing was done, every single one of my fifty fourth-grade students was fully engaged in their work. They walked around the room to compare and contrast their ideas. Mickey Mouse explored the Walt Disney Museum in one strip. Saul Steinberg drew himself into another. Even some of the less passionate artists found unique ways to share what they had learned. Two of those students finished early, but instead of saying "I'm done," they asked if they could create another comic strip. I honed this lesson over the past three years. I knew it was a hit this year when the fourth-graders asked if they could do it again in fifth grade. I replied, "I think we can manage that. You did the work." Rama Hughes is an art teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy in Los Ange - les, California, and a contributing editor for SchoolArts. rama@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Presenting: Interpreting and sharing artistic work. W E B L I N K S Sheyna Kohanbash, Steinberg comic bio. Students were free to explore their own st les, narratives, and interests. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 19

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