The syllabus is coming soon. Class is limited to 15 students.
By bringing together words and pictures, comics and graphic novels merge art and storytelling to create an accessible, compelling medium. In this course, we’ll consider sequential art as a form of literature. We’ll look at the history and roots of comics. We’ll consider how to interpret graphic novel stories and how the visual element impacts storytelling. Along the way, we’ll focus on all the core skills of literary analysis.
We’ll begin our study with the classic graphic novel about graphic novels, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. From there, students will read a wide variety of different types of graphic novels, including memoirs, nonfiction reporting, fantasy stories, and superhero comics. Shorter works, as well as full-length graphic novels, will be considered. We’ll also read authors from several countries.
Discussion is a cornerstone of the course and a core part of the course assessment. As a core English course, writing is also an important part of the course. Writing focuses on developing student voice and clarity of communication. Assignments include thesis-based literary analysis, personal narrative, and creative writing.
This course will be organized thematically, with four different units:
- Sequential Stories
- Heroes and Villains
- Fantastic Tales
Each unit includes one polished longer assignment, including a literary analysis paper, a creative writing assignment, and a graphic memoir assignment (students do not need to be great artists to succeed in this one).
Who should enroll?
Students in grades 10-12 who would like an alternative core English course or an English elective. At heart, it’s a course for students who like comics and graphic novels or students who would like to expand their reading to include graphic novels.
Please note! I welcome students who struggle with reading and would appreciate an alternative English course as a result. I also welcome lovers of literature who want a different type of English class or an elective. The volume of reading for this course is steady. Students will read more than a dozen graphic novels during the course. Students are asked to participate in discussions without exception (via chat or microphone are both acceptable). Writing assignments are core to the course but not the primary focus, which is why discussion is a required element of the course.
This is a high school course for students grade 10 and up. All students should understand the basics of how to write an analytical essay.
- High-speed broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures and films
- Students may be asked to scan or take pictures of certain assignments for submission
Evaluation and Feedback
My goal as an educator is always to help your student move forward in their skills with reading, writing, and critical thinking. Students start in different places. This is why I give extensive feedback on key writing assignments and make myself available to talk students through tricky assignments if they ask for help. The back and forth of the classroom is a big part of how we learn.
Classes are live and interactive. Participation is part of the grade for this course. Assignments are marked and returned in a timely fashion. I respond to student messages promptly and make myself available for students to schedule short help sessions for assignments and try to reach out to students who are struggling with work.
Rubrics are provided for all writing assignments. Grades reflect completion of all work as well as quality. Revision is a focus of the writing in this course and students will be expected to revise all major assignments.
I communicate with students via Canvas and email. I usually respond quickly to questions and I urge students to reach out any time they need help.