Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Comic Books in History Classes? Yes!

A fun way to grab the attention of all students is to bring in comic books to supplement a lesson.  Yes, comic books such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Ironman etc. motivate even the most reluctant student to wake up and pay attention:) 

Some of the comics are tied to building patriotism in World War II.  America felt the need to rid the world of terrorism and restore peace world wide.  Superman helped nurture that belief that America was the world's defender.  He stood for "truth, justice, and the American way."  Granted some propaganda was involved here, but he helped America enter the war to stop evil dictators and correct the evils of the world.  Wonder Woman was more of the same.  She defended the downtrodden and improved the life of humanity.  Captain America still was another example.  He fought the Nazis and once again made Americans proud.  Students could research the authors of these comics and what their inspiration was in creating them.  They would then write a paper, do a presentation, create a group project, develop a "screen play," etc. 

Ironman also fights for justice, but what I find even more intriguing is his external super armor.  I think of him as a cyborg at times.  Students in robotics classes would probably find many tie-ins here.  In fact, some of this "super wear" is already being used in the military.  Students here could create on paper new features and then not only describe what they look like, but also go into detail on its purpose and use in the military.  Then, what about writing about WHY their adjustments would be needed. 

Using comic books in class has other benefits for ELLs also.  There are the visual layouts which provide context.  Though language is limited, there are still some very high level academic vocabulary words included (along with visual context).  Why not have students create comics as a class project in the content area you working in?  Your students will really appreciate it. 


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