Integrating Sequential Art into an English Language Arts Curriculum


Comicbook.jpgAbout This Course

The focus of this course is the training and instruction of New York State English Language Arts teachers at the secondary level in the sequential arts medium. The participants in this mini-course will be English Language Arts Educators at the Secondary Level from New York State. They will be of a mixed demographic in terms of grade level within the secondary heading, years of teaching experience, gender, age, and education (i.e. participants will be mixed between those with Bachelor's degrees and those with graduate degrees). They have all had experience operating under the NYS ELA Standards and have developed curriculum accordingly. Additionally, the participants are motivated and will be readily engaged.

This is an entirely on-line course, facilitated primarily by the course wiki, although participants will be required to view some web pages that occur outside of the wiki context.

Also, although it is not a requirement, I highly recommend getting a copy of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. It his been an indispensable resource for me in creating this course and I reference it often.


Upon accessing this page, many of you are likely to be instantly familiar with the character adorning the top of the page - Superman. Superman is a comic book character created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster in 1932. In the years since, comics have had an uncanny ability to become part of the mainstream cultural consciousness as icons of popular culture. However, although comics were at one time thought of as frivolity associated with childhood fantasies, they have, in recent years, become respected as much more than that - including as a valuable educational tool!

Hang on! - if this course is about sequential art, why am I talking about comics? What exactly are comics, anyway? Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, and manga could all be considered different forms of comics. Thus to avoid ambiguity, for the purposes of this course, we will be referring to all of the aforementioned forms as "sequential art" - but more on that in Unit One. Additionally, Unit One will also focus on defining key terms for you, as well as the historical context of sequential art.

Unit Two of this course will focus on why, as a teacher of English Language Arts, sequential art is or is not relevant to you(Hint: It is!!!) Sequential Art can be an excellent gateway to multiple types of literacy in the classroom and can be an excellent motivational tool. You will learn why in this unit.

In Unit Three, you will move from focusing on vocabulary and why sequential art is relevant to a focus on exactly how to implement it in your classroom. So without further ado, gentle reader, please begin the course by clicking the link for Unit One!

Comicbook.jpgPerformance Objectives

General Outcomes: In this mini-course, you will learn about what sequential art consists of, why it is beneficial in the classroom, and some methodologies of incorporating it into your instruction. Ultimately, your goal for the end of the course will be to create a one-week unit plan that successfully uses sequential art in classroom instruction.

Specific Outcomes: After taking an online mini-course using a Wiki format, the participants will be able to:

  • identify the distinguishing features of sequential art
  • identify the benefits of sequential art in an English Language Arts classroom
  • generate a lesson plan that integrates sequential art into an English Language Arts curriculum

Comicbook.jpgA Note about Navigation

Please note that each page for this unit will have navigation links at the bottom to help you get through the course. Also, if you get lost look for the superman icon Superman.jpg - click on it and it will take you back to the homepage!

Comicbook.jpgUnits of Instruction

Unit One: What is Sequential Art?

Target Objectives - Participants will:

1. Define, recall, understand and apply key vocabulary items

2. Identify vocabulary items when analyzing a page of sequential art

3. Develop a rudimentary understanding of the history and cultural significance of sequential art

Unit Two: Why is Sequential Art Beneficial in the English Language Arts Classroom?

Target Objectives - Participants will:

1. Identify, recall, and explain the motivational, linguistic, and literacy benefits of sequential Art

Unit Three: Methods of Integrating Sequential Art into NYS English Language Arts Curriculum

Target Objectives - Participants will:

1. Identify the NYS ELA Learning standards that a sequential arts curriculum applies to

2. Become familiar with existing resources for sequential arts instruction

Summative Assessment: Sequential Art Lesson Plan

Target Objectives - Participants will:

1. Using knowledge gained from the previous units, develop a lesson plan focused on sequential art that is in line with the previously stated benefits, appropriately addresses the NYS ELA learning standards, and properly utilizes at least five sequential art vocabulary items.


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