Arranging, planning, and creating scenes from a Shakespeare play by creating graphic novel panels would add a layer of depth to my lessons as compared to having students create graphic novel panels based on modern day characters or their own characters. Hopefully a focus on moments in Shakespeare’s plays would make Shakespeare, a topic that most students view as difficult, easier to understand and to interpret. Scenes from
would present the opportunity to collaborate with the English teachers in my school who teach the play, and to offer students an opportunity to combine artistic and literary interpretations to produce a thought-provoking product.
The term “graphic novel” is generally used to describe books that resemble comic books in terms of format and narrative development. The graphic novel is a specific genre of comic book - a format that often helps to attract and motivate teens to read. Students at the Cooperative Arts Magnet High School need those interdisciplinary connections to achieve a well-rounded learning experience.
The Cooperative Arts school is divided into Arts concentrations: Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Music (band and choir), Theater and Dance. For Visual Arts students, in particular, the graphic novel format would tie into the drawing and design skills they have obtained as underclassmen (I teach mainly eleventh and twelfth grade students.) Analyzing and visualizing what a scene might look like can also be of benefit to the visual learner, helping him/her to better understand Shakespeare’s themes and meanings.
I believe visual arts can be raised to a different level if visual projects can be used to enhance academic learning. This can have a great benefit for students who are visual learners or for the visual learner and/or struggling student. As a high school student I struggled with science until one of my teachers took notice of my drawing skills. She explained to me that she needed drawings showing every step in some of the science experiments we would be working on in class, and asked if I could help. I would sketch out the steps initially and she would look them over and make corrections until I had all of the steps for her to hang up on the wall. As a visual learner this was very helpful to me. I could then walk into science class feeling prepared as opposed to fearful. I didn’t become an A student, but I did become a more confident student who was more willing to learn.