When I think back to my school days when my friends and I would hide our comics in our desks or lockers so that teachers wouldn’t confiscate them or we would get a lecture on how comics would rot our brains.
“These books have no educational value!”
But I can tell you that the comics actually improved my learning in subjects like: English and grammar, the teachers always thought there were a lot of slang words and a lot of spelling mistakes, however the comics were and continue to be corrected and checked for errors spelling. grammar and punctuation. Also, while there are a few slang words, this might be a good topic to mention, as the comics may reflect the language of the time.
The comics showed my interest in reading, and they also helped me in the subject of English,
It was through the comics that I discovered words like “Adamantium”, a word that I not only learned to spell, but also piqued my curiosity, so I did my research and, although it turned out that Adamantium was a fictional element, I learned that the root word ” Firm.”
The definition is: unbreakable, or adamantine combined with the neo-Latin suffix “ium” that resembles the naming of many chemical elements.
This was part of the fun of reading comics for me as a kid, to find a new word and then research to see if there really was a real meaning behind the word, by doing this process it increased my vocabulary and also helped me learn to investigate information.
This is just one example of how comics added to my education, and after many years it seems that teachers, schools, and even libraries are beginning to see the benefits of using comics and graphic novels as a tool for communication. additional teaching.
Most of the grades that use comics in the classroom are from 5th to 12th, which shows that the age range covers a wide area of interest.
Grades and subjects
Teachers of all grade levels and subjects are using comics in their classrooms, the grade range is from fourth to fifth grade, then from middle school to high school.
Comics can be applied to many subjects such as: English, foreign language, science and even in Spanish and ESL classes, and can be used to match lesson plans that can be created by the teacher or can be provided by websites, or teachers can even get advice from comic book distributors or retailers.
Comics span many genres, making it easy to find a comic or graphic novel. Here are some themes that may match the comics:
- English and Literature 5th to 6th Grade: Classic Illustrations (many publishers have printed these titles from the recommended 1990 series) and a newer series called Marvel Illustrated is ideal for these grades and age groups, these titles can be used to enhance the story or novel that the student is reading, problems can also bring more life to the material, also problems can help students who may have difficulty reading or understanding by matching words with pictures.
- Grades 7-12 English and Literature – Classic illustrated titles are still good, however, in many classes in this grade group, many teachers are using a series of Marvel titles from the “Ultimate” line, These titles include: Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four.
These topics have been well received in both classrooms and libraries, the most popular being Ultimate Spider-Man, the title covers Peter Parker’s early days in a more modern setting than conventional books, teachers sing these titles to discuss not just the stories. but they also have discussions about the characters and the choices that were made through the comic.
The Ultimate titles have become pocket books and include a combination of topics in a single book, it seems that students like this format.
The secondary level also enjoys these books, but some of them may be too intense for this grade, it all depends on what the teacher is comfortable with.
- Science: While there are no comics or graphic novels that can be used in the same context as English and literature, some comic book titles can, but there are some titles that can be used in discussing science.
The comics that I think can improve this topic, are books that focus on the Fantastic Four, discussions can be raised about the powers of the Fantastic Four, such as the Invisible Woman who uses the ability to bend light to make herself invisible, or a discussion on the Human Torch, discussing the properties and capabilities of fire and combustion.
Also, space exploration can be used throughout the Fantastic Four travels, while some of the planets they visit are fictional, plant environments can be mentioned in some discussions.
The best recommendations are the regular Fantastic Four and Ultimate Fantastic Four titles, both of which appeal to 5th-12th grade levels.
- Geography and Social Studies: Heroes and Villains come from all over the world, from Union Jack (UK) Wolverine (Canada) Colossus (Russia) teachers can discuss and point out where the students’ favorite hero lives.
Teachers can use examples of where heroes live and also compare where they live with where students live, teachers can also show students mythical locations using comic characters like Namor The Sub-Mariner (Atlantis).
- Foreign Language – Foreign language teachers can find comics from all over the world, many of the comic book publishers like DC Comics and Marvel Comics also print their comics for foreign readers.
Comics from different countries can be found online, comic shops, bookstores and some educational catalogs, the two that come to mind are:
- Astix – A comic that follows a group of Vikings in their misadventures. (French and Italian) I would recommend this book to middle and high school readers.
- Tin-Tin – This character is as well known as Mickey Mouse in Europe and around the world and is printed in many languages around the world. (French, German, Italian) This book is for younger readers, but high school students like this book too.
- Smurfs – These Belgian characters started in comic strips, but have also appeared in comic books and graphic novels.
- Spanish and ESL – Many publishers such as Marvel and DC have started publishing some issues in Spanish, in recent years publishers have seen the need and have started publishing some titles in both Spanish and English.
Major publishers such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics published single editions in 2008 that were in both Spanish and English, publishers could print more editions like this in the future.
Marvel Comics The Fantastic Four Island of Death – This issue presents the Fantastic Four going to an island, while there they visit a rainforest, while there they meet a mythical creature and try to save it and the rainforest, this issue was published in English and Spanish. Middle and high school students would be best suited for this title.
Many of the Ultimate titles (Ultimate Spider-Man) come in paperback and are printed in Spanish, although these topics can be for more advanced students, these books can also be used to engage students more in learning the language or to help to ESL students. .
DC Comics Blue Beetle 26 – Jamie Reyes, a Hispanic teenager, recently became the new Blue Beetle, this character had a history becoming one of the few Hispanic teens in comics, teens enjoy this character as he deals with problems so much as a teenager as a hero. In 2008 Blue Beetle 14 was published in both Spanish and English. This number would also be suitable for middle and high school students.
Owly – Owly is a lonely but adventurous owl who does not speak, ESL teachers use this comic by allowing students to fill in the blank word balloons, this helps the student not only to use language but also to express themselves. These books are primarily for elementary students, but can be used for any ESL grade as they can be used for the basics.
Comics can be expensive, and teachers are on a budget. Here are some tips for buying comics for your class.
- Paperbacks – If you are buying comics for a classroom, I recommend that teachers purchase the commercial paperbacks as they contain multiple stories, are more durable and cheaper in the long run, as buying each individual comic may cost more due to wear. and tear.
- Class Sets: When shopping, talk to the retailer about the class sets, if the retailer does not know the term, please explain them to them, the comic book retailers will be more than happy to help you.
- Discounts: When buying comics, graphic novels, or paperbacks, always ask distributors about discounts and don’t be afraid to haggle.
These are just some of the ways that comics can be used to enhance a classroom, in no way should comics replace novels or classics, but they can enhance the learning experience, which can create both a fun but educational environment. for students and teachers.