Project Members

Rebecca Oxley, Nedelina Tchangalova, and Amanda Waugh


Graphic novels and sequential art both represent a classic 20th Century art form that spread from the East to the West, treasured for its ability to reflect humanity and its dreams within a narrative that is both familiar and natural even when depicting the fantastic. In today's schools and libraries, graphic novels are a high interest genre across a wide age range. First credited as a literacy building tool, sequential art and graphic novels are taking their place as a legitimate genre of literature, non-fiction, and autobiography, to name a few. Embedding the visual media format of graphic novels into a traditional classroom lesson can not only actively engage learners but provide a powerful educational tool. The basic concepts and strengths of using comics in the classroom continues to be espoused by a growing number of educators, and elegantly so by Printz Award winner Gene Yang (MEd) both sequentially (Yang, 2008) and in plainer text (Yang, 2003). Educational content presented in a comics format lends permanence to the content, that is to say an engaging visual format that allows the learner to control the speed of which they read and learn the content. Graphic novels can also be a boon to ESOL/ELL learners in that they enable deriving meaning from universal visual cues and information that supercede language barriers while bridging comprehension to written words. K-12 lesson plans utilizing graphic novels are already being implemented in Maryland schools through the Maryland Comic Book Initiative (Yang, 2008).

Integrating multimedia and multi-modal technologies into teaching and learning are rising trends in 21st Century education, praised for their capacity to support authentic and engaging learning experiences that allow a shift from teacher to student for a more reflexive learning environment over more traditional methods of lecture, text, and rote memorization (Jenkins, 2006). Both educational trends, including educational applications of sequential art, intersect in that they use dual-encoding, which assists learners in a deeper comprehension and retention of the material and concepts. Graphic novels better reflect the 21st Century world where today's learners live better than plain text alone. Using graphic novels and technology to explore human issues in a common narrative will help learners to be knowledgeable about their diverse world and community, learn about concepts that they will confront in the real world, and provide grounding for problem-solving, spatial awareness, self-explaining, and creative exploration. By creating comics and graphic novels rather than traditional research papers and reports to express their process of inquiry and comprehension of a topic, learners can produce highly personalized work that varies widely in aesthetic and perspective to present not only their growing knowledge, but the affect of their learning.

This five week unit will address learning goals in the health and technology curricula. Planning will take place before the beginning of the unit. The first three weeks will be devoted to focused lessons, with a fourth week for student work, and visual presentation in the fifth week. This project represents a collaborative attempt between three teachers to find a more deeply engaging and technology-infused final project for authentic learning as students prepare to transition to the high school level. Students will build their projects from a list of health topics they create which directly impact tweens and teens and are relevant to challenges they may actually face during this formative time in their lives. They will research the history and current information including outreach and education on their topic using the AGOPPE method (Montgomery County Public Schools, n.d. a) and organizing their material with NoodleTools, and create a visual presentation to demonstrate their learning and comprehension. Students will work individually to make a short comic with the ToonDoo program, and finally display to and discuss with the class. The comics will be compiled into a graphic novel to be saved for the community, making an entire class's learning permanent in a format that is more engaging to future learners. A Flip camera will be used to document both the student and instructor perspectives, and students and educators will each make a short video reflection of their experience doing the project. After taking unit tests, test scores will be compared to the previous year to evaluate if the technology-infused unit has been more beneficial to learners than the previously utilized standard instruction. Successful results can then be shared with stakeholders on the school website and at the opening faculty meeting for the following academic year. This project will also serve as a pilot for promoting the rich benefits of collaborative teaching methods and attitudes.

The Topic & Standards

This is an end of the unit project for 7th graders, taking advantage of student knowledge gathered in health lessons throughout the current and previous school years. The Health unit is taught in place of Physical Education (PE) for one quarter, giving the project the ability to reach all students across the grade without overlap. The project will address multiple literacies including reading, writing, visual, technology and research skills, and require students to prioritize, assess, execute, and present. The unit lessons plans are a collaborative project between the Physical Education (Health Education) teacher, Technology teacher, and the Library Media Specialist (LMS). The three educators will co-plan, co-instruct, and co-assess the unit project. The planning period will involve input from the Special Education teacher to address concerns and customization for special needs students.

Various information literacy standards are in place to assist us in the planning of this project.

Since this is a collaborative project between three teachers, the following standards will be met:
3.0 Instruction
3.02 Establish partnerships with teachers to provide for students meaningful learning experiences that include information, communication, reading, and technology skills.
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:
a) demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
b) collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
c) communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
d) d. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning
This unit addresses multiple literacies including reading, writing, research, technology and visualization skills. We focused on standards that address the above mentioned literacies:

1. Reading (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010, p.62). The students will use NoodleTools software to collect and organize their resources. They will be able to draw conclusions from the text in their readings.
1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
2. Writing (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2010, p.64). The students will develop their writing skills on a health related topic and support their arguments with facts found in their readings.
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
a) Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
b) Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
c) Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
d) Establish and maintain a formal style.
e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
3. Research skills (American Association of School Librarians, 2007). The students will research health topics from the school curriculum that they have already studied over the quarter. Using this background knowledge, they will make a final research project in which students will find connections between the theory and the real life application of what they have researched.
1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge
1.1 Skills
1.1.1 Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make the real-world connection for using this process in own life.
1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.
The students will apply critical thinking through their research process while investigating resources in various media and will meet the following standards:
1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.1.1.6. Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g. textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning.
The students will be required to connect their findings to real world applications. Since the school has a highly diverse student population, the students will be exposed to research dealing with a variety of diversity issues. They will be required to organize their citations using the bibliographic management software, NoodleTools. They will meet the following standards:
2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
2.1 Skills
2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful.
2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
2.3. Responsibilities
2.3.1 Connect understanding to the real world.
2.3.2 Consider diverse and global perspectives in drawing conclusions.
2.3.3 Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions.
At the end of the research, students working individually will be required to present their research findings using ToonDoo, for the purpose of collaboratively producing a digital graphic novel to share with the community. They will meet the following standards:
3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
3.1 Skills
3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively.
3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
3.2 Dispositions in Action
3.2.1 Demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both formal and informal situations.
3.2.3 Demonstrate teamwork by working productively with others.
Guidelines will address respect for diverse groups, including: appropriate language and attitudes, and no nudity in creating their graphic novels. The students will meet the standard:
3.3. Responsibilities3.3.1 Solicit and respect diverse perspectives while searching for information, collaborating with others, and participating as a member of the community.
4. Technology skills (International Society for Technology in Education, 2007). The students will present their findings using technology tool, ToonDoo. They will meet the following standards:
1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
d. identify trends and forecast possibilities

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
a. plan strategies to guide inquiry
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
d. process data and report results

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:
a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
c. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
d. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship
5. Visualization skills. The final project involves using the technology ToonDoo to create visual representation of the research the students will research. The students will convey the results of their findings using nonverbal visual means, such as drawing and computer graphics. For students with visual impairments, this communication of research findings might also include communicating by means of tactile drawings or diagrams. By discovering and practicing visualization skills, the students will understand that creating images or graphics while reading and researching will help in understanding and comprehending the text. Our goal is to cultivate visual literacy in our students by linking to:
4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
7. Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

The Setting and Context

Silver Spring International Middle School (SSIMS) is a diverse middle school located in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. It serves students whose families are wealthy along side the 43% who receive Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS). The racial and ethnic composition of the school is:
  • 6.3% Asian
  • 29.9% Black
  • 35.1% Hispanic
  • 25.9% White
  • 2.7% Multiple Races

Total enrollment at SSIMS is 775 students in the 2010-2011 school year (Montgomery County Public Schools, n.d. c). The parent body is moderately involved, as would be typical for a school of this profile. Since the school is part of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), it receives substantial financial and professional support. SSIMS also participates in the Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB), which emphasizes working across disciplines toward unified IB Learner Themes. Despite this, the school faces the challenges inherent in the high level of socio-economic diversity and a mobility rate of 11.3%. Additionally it houses two partial immersion magnet programs, one in French and one in Spanish, which result in the need for resources in three languages.

Approximately 10% of the students receive Special Education services. Consequently, in each class we can expect that a handful of students will need extra support to complete the project and meet the learning objectives. We will involve the Special Education teacher in the planning process to ensure that the students' needs are met.

The Media Center has access to many online databases due to the support of MCPS and has access to technology in the forms of Flip cameras, still cameras, computers, laptops and Promethean boards.

In planning this lesson, we were mindful of the wide range of student ability. There are students who have just moved to America and there are students accelerated many grades above their own age group. With this in mind, we scaffolded the final project using simple but creative technologies to allow for a wide range of complexity. This scaffolding will allow students who are less facile to focus on the information and those who are ready to take the information to the next level.

Health is taught daily for one quarter in place of Physical Education. As a result, there is a lot of class time available. The Library Media Specialist (LMS) will teach with the Physical Education (Health) and Technology teachers in the Media Center for several sessions. Teaching within the Media Center with several instructors will not only allow for effective classroom management, but also keeps the space open throughout the school day for under-served students whose primary point of access for media and technology is their school's Media Center. In addition, we will keep the Media Center open after school to allow for greater access for children without technology in their home. The county runs activity buses three days a week which will allow children who require buses to stay late. Because this unit is part of a quarterly class that ALL 7th graders take during one of the four quarters, this unit will be repeated four times during the school year in order to reach all the students. The advantage is that we will have multiple opportunities throughout the year to reflect on and refine the unit.

Scheduling at SSIMS is flexible, allowing for relative ease of accommodation in implementing the unit. The lessons will take place during the Physical Education period and within the Media Center space with the Computer Lab as a back up. The Technology teacher has her planning period during the same time slot as the Physical Education class so that she is free to co-instruct. The initial planning period will take place after school hours in the Media Center.

Students in this school vary widely in their technological capabilities and access. There are students with their own laptops and wifi networks whose parents are very savvy, and there are students whose only access to computers is through the school and the public library. To reach those students with limited access, the library will remain open every day after school to provide extra support. Additionally, because this unit is a culminating project, we will begin exposing students to the central questions, the research process, and the technology early in the quarter to give them time to consider their topic and play with the technology before the project is due.

The teachers also vary in their technological sophistication. Health is taught by the Physical Education team. This is not a group of teachers who use technology a great deal in their daily teaching. However, they are very knowledgeable about their subject and typically younger than their other teaching colleagues, and therefore are more likely to fall within the spectrum of digital proficiency. Several teachers will need support in learning the technology required to create a ToonDoo comic. As a result, the LMS will focus on co-teaching the technology with support from the Technology teacher. The LMS will also teach the research and citation components of this unit. The Health teacher will primarily teach the content which leads into this project.

The school has a Computer Lab, as well as computers in the Media Center. The class size is approximately 21 students. There are 25 Dell computers with Windows 7 software in the Computer Lab, and 10 Dell computers with Windows 7 software in the Media Center. In addition, there are 15 Dell laptops with Windows 7 software available in the Media Center to accommodate larger classes, and each instructor already has their own identical school-issued laptop. The Computer Lab and the Media Center both have an LCD projector, a Promethean board, a whiteboard, and wireless Internet access in the room. The Dell computers were purchased in 2005, and the software was upgraded in 2009 courtesy of a grant. The Dell laptops were purchased in 2009 through the aforementioned grant and both have Windows 7 software. Each student ideally needs their own computer for research and for using ToonDoo. Students will utilize MCPS research databases as a starting point, and supplement as needed with information from the web including fair-use media through Creative Commons search.

The Materials and Technology Tools You will Need

  • Hardware: Computers, Laptop, Promethean board, projector (for presentations), wireless Internet access, a flashdrive
  • Software: Windows 7, ToonDoo, Make Beliefs Comix!, NoodleTools, MS Word, MS Paint
  • Databases: Encyclopedia Brittanica Online, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Issues and Controversies, MasterFILE Premier, and SIRS Discoverer
  • Whiteboard and dry-erase markers
  • Worksheets, blank paper, and pencils for all students
  • Folders for all students

Computers will be needed for student research and execution of their comics, and this work will take place in the Media Center. If up to 4 computers or laptops fail, those students can utilize the computers in the Computer Lab with the Technology teacher supervising while the Physical Education teacher and LMS remain with the majority of the class. If an instructor laptop fails, a laptop can borrowed from another teacher within the project's collaborative circle. This community method can be activated for other hardware failure, such as projectors and Promethean boards, and additional material needs, such as dry-erase markers or pencils.

ToonDoo is a free web-based program using a drag and drop interface. It is easy to use and navigate, as well as customizable to arouse student creativity and produce a wider range of aesthetic results. ToonDoo allows for limited frames, but multiple comics can be put together to create a longer and more complex narrative. If the ToonDoo program is not working, there is the last-ditch option of using Make Beliefs Comix!, another free web-based program. Make Beliefs Comix! is recommended by educators, has extremely simple controls, but lacks the more complex customization of ToonDoo, which is why it was not a primary choice for this project. The LMS and Technology teacher are familiar with both programs, although the Physical Education teacher may not be. The technology demonstration during the planning period and the simple interface and usability will facilitate swift adaptation for this instructor.

SIRS Discoverer, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and other research databases geared for learners below the high school level are subscription based and provided by MCPS. If the databases are down, tangible media (such as books, encyclopedias, video materials and DVDs) in the Media Center can be consulted. All students and teachers will be familiar with using the databases. NoodleTools is a standard program used in and provided by MCPS, so students and teachers will be familiar with its use. If there are technical issues with utilizing NoodleTools, organizing of research materials can be done with pencils and paper.

If the Internet or network is down, many of the activities including concept mapping, storyboarding, research, and even the comics themselves can be done with paper and pencils. In the event that the comics would have to be executed on paper, the Art teacher could be consulted for additional materials like rulers and color mediums and the LMS can use the school's scanner to convert them to digital. A flashdrive will be kept on hand with all documents relating to the lessons in case of technical or internet difficulty. With many classes throughout the Health unit, classes hindered by a situation where everything goes wrong with the technology, all instructors are out sick, or by something as simple as an unplanned fire drill, work time can be easily allotted to another lesson and the planned material usurped by the scheduling change will be incorporated into other Health classes.

Additional materials like the Promethean board, paper, and pencils will be utilized to map out core concepts and for storyboarding. If no Promethean board is available, a whiteboard may be used instead. Students are likely to have their own paper and writing/drawing implements, but the project will account for a situation where they do not.

SSIMS represents a school within our region that embraces diversity in its community, an interdisciplinary approach in its scholarship, and an openness to integrating technology into teaching and learning. It is a well-equipped school that made AYP last year. This project represents our hopes in maintaining and increasing the momentum of educational success at schools like SSIMS by creating a more authentic and engaging learning environment. By augmenting existing lesson plans with collaborative instruction, rich applications of technology, and the incorporation of new media that connects learner personhood with the academic material, this unit strives to deepen the potential of 21st Century learners and attract more educators to the benefits of collaborative teaching.

The Implementation & Assignments

The Physical Education teacher, Technology teacher, Special Education teacher, and LMS will meet at the start of the school year to review the project outline and goals. Identifying special needs students, coordination of learning spaces and scheduling, and assessment criteria and methods should be amongst critical topics for dialogue in the planning period. The LMS and Technology teacher will demonstrate the technology for the collaborating instructors.

Concerns regarding implementation will be discussed during this period. Having three instructors present in the classroom for each lesson will make it easier to address student questions and need for guidance more quickly, as well as spend more time with special needs students. In addition, stronger teacher presence makes it less likely for student behavior to potentially disrupt the class work flow, and intervene successfully when and if it does. Because of the visual nature of the projects, students will need guidance as to what is appropriate to create. The lessons are also an opportunity to reaffirm skills in verifying, fair use materials, proper citation, and avoiding plagiarism. Guidelines will address respecting of diverse groups, avoiding foul and/or hostile language, and no nudity in creating their sequential narratives. There is potential for parental push back in diversity education identifying Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons as a respected group. We will therefore address this group in terms of civil rights within the context of bullying.

In the first week, the Physical Education teacher and Technology teacher will partner with the LMS to co-instruct a lesson on teen health issues. This lesson will take place in the Media Center. The class will brainstorm health issues that are relevant to teens like themselves in real life. Each students will choose a topic for their project, and are encouraged to choose a topic that is personally interesting to them. Giving learners the power to identify crucial teen health concepts as a group, and choose a research topic that personally engages them reflects the constructivist principle of learning. These topics will reflect the MCPS 7th grade Health curriculum (Montgomery County Public Schools, n.d. b, d). Here are a few possible topics that the instructors may suggest to get the ball rolling:
  1. Effects of tobacco use and prevention strategies
  2. Effects of marijuana use and prevention strategies
  3. Long and short term effects of alcohol use and abuse and prevention strategies
  4. Analyze contributors to harassment and intimidating behaviors (media, Internet, email, websites, instant messaging, telephone/cell phone, peers)
  5. Effects of media messages and strategies on consumer choice and body image
  6. Causes and symptoms of eating disorders
  7. Treatment and prevention of a sexually transmitted disease (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, HIV/AIDS)

Although students have a choice of topic, certain topics may unexpectedly be more popular than others. Teachers should exercise their discretion at how many learners may choose the same topic so that multiple issues will be covered for the final graphic novel.

As a class, learners will plot out a sample topic with instructors integrating the Promethean board to complete a concept map. Students will then individually utilize a concept map to help organize the most important concepts behind their own research topics. Students will pair together before the end of the class to review each other's concept maps using the "Think, Pair, Share" method to deepen and expand comprehension. This method of peer mentoring promotes collaborative 21st Century skills and self-explaining. The LMS will conclude the lesson by introducing the project and conducting a brief technology demonstration of the ToonDoo program. Learners will be encouraged to explore the technology at home or after school on the Media Center computers and laptops. Student topics must be finalized and approved before the beginning of the next lesson.

In the second week, the Physical Education teacher and Technology teacher will partner with the LMS to co-instruct a lesson on research skills. This lesson will take place in the Media Center. The lesson will utilize the AGOPPE method (Montgomery County Public Schools, n.d. a) as a template for teaching and activating effective research behaviors. Students will utilize NoodleTools to organize their resources and guide their citation forms. Using this technology for bibliographic work helps to guide students in proper citation forms and stimulate self-explaining for better student results in this area. The instructors will guide students to review their concept maps and ask probing questions that promote self-explaining: What do I know, What do I need to know, and Where can I find this information? Instructors will integrate the Promethean board and use class participation to model and activate database research methods and skills. Each student will begin researching their topic on the computer using databases and supplementing with fair-use material found on the web as needed. Students will pair together before the end of class to review each other's research and citation results to help fill in gaps in information. If a student's concept map or research is incomplete or needs improvement by the end of this lesson, they will be required to complete it as homework before the next lesson.

In the third week, the LMS, Physical Education teacher, and Technology teacher will partner to co-instruct a lesson on storyboarding and beginning teen health issue comics using ToonDoo. This lesson will take place in the Media Center. Students will learn fundamentals of sequential art, narrative storytelling, visual cues, spatial awareness, and developing an editor's mind (judgement). Instructors will perform a comprehensive technology demonstration of ToonDoo, and integrate the Promethean board and use class participation to storyboard a teen health issue example. Each student will draw out a storyboard of their narrative using the provided paper worksheet and pencil, and then begin executing their design using the ToonDoo program. Multiple worksheets can be used to storyboard longer and more complex narratives. Students will pair together before the end of class to review each other's storyboards and ToonDoo work-in-progress to help fill in gaps in information. If a student's storyboard is incomplete or needs improvement by the end of this lesson, they will be required to complete it as homework before the following work period. Students are invited and encouraged to stay after school to continue work on their ToonDoo comics on the Media Center's computers and laptops, as well as at home or at the public library during off hours.

In the fourth week, students will continue working on their ToonDoo comics, and will be co-supervised by the LMS, Physical Education teacher, and Technology teacher. This work will take place in the Media Center. Instructors will help students in using the technology, refining their narratives and visual choices, and reviewing and meeting the checklist. Students are invited and encouraged to stay after school to continue work on their ToonDoo comics on the Media Center's computers and laptops, as well as at home or at the public library during off hours.

In the fifth week, students will present their ToonDoo comics, and will be co-supervised by the LMS and the Physical Education teacher. The Technology teacher has the option not to attend student presentations during her planning period, but is invited and encouraged to do so. The presentations will take place in the Media Center. The LMS will compile the student work into a complete graphic novel for future learners and the community, and will post it to the school's Media Center website.

The Lessons

(Lessons are excerpted from Standards for the 21st-Century Learner in Action by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association, 2009).
Students will examine health issues that affect teens. The Technology teacher and LMS will conduct a ToonDoo technology demonstration. Project introduced and topics chosen.
  1. Lesson 1 Concept Map.pdf
Students will learn research methods using AGOPPE, identify core concepts, and create a concept map. Rubric introduced. NoodleTools introduced.
Students will learn the fundamentals of storyboarding in sequential art and begin using the technology (ToonDoo). The following materials will assist the students in their organizational skills:
  1. Lesson 3 Student Checklist.pdf
  2. Lesson 3 Storyboard Worksheet.pdf
  • Independent work (Week 4): ToonDoo comics
Students will continue working on their comics.
  • Presentations (Week 5)
Students will present their projects and teachers will begin work on the compilation of students works. Student and instructors will record their reflections of the unit using Flip cameras.

The Lesson Plan

Creating a Digital Graphic Novel to Explore Teen Health Issues
Grade Level:
7th Grade
Content Area:
Health Teachers, Technology Teachers and LMS. Special Education Teacher will be brought in as needed for individual situations.
Library Context:
Multiple Lessons in a Unit
Collaboration Continuum:
Estimated Lesson Time:
3 class periods; 45 minutes/lesson
Final Product:
The final product of this collaboration will be a ToonDoo graphic novel addressing teen health needs. The ToonDoo will include appropriately cited images and references, as appropriate. Students will use the knowledge they have gained from the first five weeks of the curriculum and from 6th grade health to launch their research. These graphic novels will be added to the Media Center website for future students use. The entire project will be documented and student and instructor reflections captured on film for presentation purposes.
The time in the library will consist of three lessons and a period of work in the library. The first lesson will include brainstorming teen health issues, being introduced to the project and creating a concept map for their project. In between the first and second lesson students will complete their concept map and be encouraged to experiment with ToonDoo. The second lesson will review AGOPPE method and conduct research on their topic. In between the second and third lesson students will be required to complete their research. The final lesson will address storyboarding and ToonDoo itself. Students will have a fourth session in the library to work on their project with assistance as needed from the LMS, Physical Education, and Technology teachers. Ultimately students will present their completed projects to their peers. Please see embedded Glog for additional links to complete lesson plans.
  • Product: The final product will be graded summatively based on a Rubric.pdf:
  • Process: Students will receive ongoing formative assessment in multiple ways:
  1. All teachers will observe and assess students for their understanding in an informal manner during work sessions
  2. The Concept Map will be turned in and reviewed as a formative assessment
  3. The Storyboard will be turned in and assessed as a formative assessment
  • Student self-questioning: Students will use the provided with a Lesson 3 Student Checklist.pdf to fill in any gaps of information in their narrative, and then apply these concepts to the paper storyboard activity to ensure that no information has been lost in the translation from text narrative to visual story-telling composition. Throughout the process students will be periodically using the Media Center's Flip camera to reflect on their learning about the issue they have chosen, their research experience, their grasp of the new technology and their final product.

Resources Students Will Use:
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Online subscription database(s)
  • Web sites
  • Books
  • Reference
  • Non-print
  • Periodicals/newspapers
  • Flip camera
  • ToonDoo
  • NoodleTools
  • Make Beliefs Comix!
  • MS Word
  • Concept Map Worksheet
  • Student Checklist
  • Storyboard Worksheet
  • Folders
  • Pencils

Sample ToonDoo: "Smoking Stinks"



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Supplemental material - our class presentation