Friday, January 30, 2015

A Very Special Super Bowl PSA

This weekend millions of viewers will watch a game pitting humans with abilities far above those of the average person against equally super-strong, uber-fast peers. Among the spectators will be English Language Arts teachers and professors.

They'll marvel at seemingly heroic feats from men in brightly-colored uniforms and protective gear. They'll note a "good vs bad" mentality develop among some fans who see the adventure as a quest to vanquish a nemesis and claim glory for their principality.

Someone will illustrate skills so glorious, he will earn top superlative in a conflict with a superlative in the name.

He and his fellow supermen will have honed both natural, innate talents, many of which will have manifested in puberty, produced years of hard work, and utilized amazing advances in technology to become as optimized as they can in their quests to earn their ultimate goal.

Most likely, the skirmish between these two super-powered teams will be exciting, stimulating, engender myriad conversation points and access points to bring people together and form social situations rife for all sort of joy and even learning.

Then, these ELA teachers and professors will return to their classrooms on Monday and continue to hold to the belief that the case for comics in the classroom hasn't yet been made, that superhero comics especially have no social value.

Don't be one of them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays 2014

Image from http://graphitestudio.deviantart.com/art/Christmas-Wolverine-303873828 

Who knows what 2015 holds? From this blog, reviews of This One Summer, The Wrenchies, and Bitch Planet #1 (maybe) are in the works. In the meantime, may your holiday season be one of merriment, hope, rekindling of loves and passions, and renewed beneficence to your fellow beings. See you in 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Message from Electric Literature On Comics and Reading

Star Lord and Rocket aren't the only space cowboys who thing comics are serious literature. Regular cowboys think so too, according to this great cartoon from Electric Literature, a site you should check out.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Peter Quill and Rocket Know Comics Reading is Real Reading!

Need a quick holiday gift idea?: Walmart has $5 Marvel Graphic Novels! As well, if you pick up the store's Guardians of the Galaxy-themed trade, you'll see a nod to all of us working in comics and literacy and to all of us who know the power of comics:

That last panel might have been doctored. ;) 

Thanks to Brian Michael Bendis for writing this pertinent dialogue. And remember, no one likes a Scrooge when it comes to gifts and no one likes a Krutacking Flaaknard when it comes to elitist notions of pleasure reading! ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Review: Cece Bell's *El Deafo*

El Deafo is the imaginary super-hero persona of young Cece Bell, an upper-elementary student who identifies herself as deaf/hearing impaired. While Cece is shy, anxious about her hearing and how people will view her, exceptionally eager to make friends, and contemplative in her relationships, El Deafo exudes confidence and charm and encourages Cece to take the big chances and see things from alternative, can-do viewpoints.

Perhaps given her super stature, El Deafo earns the eponymous title for the book which details her and Cece's story. But, Cece isn't too far behind. Grown-up Cece is the author!

Endearing and accessible to its intended young audience, El Deafo has a rolling pace which can get tedious after seeing Cece again and again over-analyze things which she can't control. Furthermore, as someone previously corrected after sharing his assumptions about deaf culture and accepted terminology, I worried about the blurring of definitions regarding "deaf" and "hearing impaired," which I'd come to see as a faux pas.

Had I read the short essay after the comic narrative, however, my worries would have been waylayed and my reading experience more enjoyable. For those interested in accepting the book into their classroom collections or gifting it to a reader, reading that section first may make for a less turgid reading experience an is my recommendation. And as for Cece's anxieties, how much more empathy can be built for her by realizing as tedious as those analysis sessions may be for us (but surely made less tedious once understanding Bell's own take on deafness as construct), they must have been torture for a young girl growing up decades ago when people weren't taught to be as accepting of "difference" and when signifiers of such difference took the form of bulky, testy technology?

Cece and El Deafo eventually merge when Cece, who has long framed her hearing in terms of a super power, has her social circle embrace the metaphor on their own -- with hilarious results guaranteed to tickle (or is that "tinkle?") young readers.

What is one of El Deafo's tech-assisted super powers? Let your imagination wonder. ;)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Comics and Post-Secondary Pedagogy Issue ImageText Now Live!

Click here to read essays from folks teaching comics across a broad array of fields and disciplines. Thanks to co-editor Najwa Al-Tabaa for asking me to guest edit the issue. I'm thrilled with how it turned out and know -- whether you're a K12 teacher, a teacher educator, a librarian, a graphic designer -- you'll learn from this issue.

Great essays; great reviews, and great resources for all interested in comics and education! What are you waiting for? Read! Read! 

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eval Has a Name...

As I eagerly await the arrival of my Spring 2014 evals at Washington State University to see if what my students told me in person -- that they enjoyed the classes, felt comfortable with me, etc. -- matches what they put on paper and correlates with quantitative equivalencies, I note a previous employer still has me listed on one of its major faculty info pages.

While I'm a little loathe to post it here since I know I have readers from El Paso check in from time to time, and I sort of like having access to the page and don't want anyone to get it removed, you can see basic eval data for every class I taught there from June 2008 to Spring 2013 by looking for the "Previously Taught Courses" here.

I'm happy to say they illustrate a sincere, reflective educator who learned how to navigate the best and worst of that campus & departmental/program culture. I hope for 3 things from my evals from Spring 2014:  1. They do indeed match up with anecdotal comments from students 2. They show how I quickly navigated that new campus/department culture after a tough, shell-shock of a first semester experience (possibly designed that way, as I reflect) and 3. They have not been unduly influenced or tampered with by outside influences.

Once I have the info and can see which of my hypotheses are correct or wrong, I'll post another reflective statement. I hope it'll be one in which I can detail changes made between Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 which paid quantifiable dividends in my teaching.

In the meantime, you can view some qualitative feedback on my courses via my Google Drive public folder (especially in the "Appendix" document).

Labels: , , ,