Today during break, lunch and after-school zines/comics created by every student in my school will be out and available to read in the library. Students will be encouraged to take these home, interact with the zines, (some have QR codes, others have areas for the reader to fill in) and to have conversations about them, especially with the creators.
Although the school I teach in is pretty much paperless, I wanted to do a unit where students could create zines/comics, because it is something I am interested in, it shows them the importance of being a creator and not just a consumer, and it shows them they can create something wonderful with very little.
Grade 6 and 7 made mini comics about superheroes they invented. During this unit they filled in character sheets and brainstorms, took part in a hot seating activity and then created storyboards, before making their finished comics. As they went through different stages to build and add depth to their characters, their stories are truly wonderful! They superheroes each personified a different attribute of the IB Learner Profile, (different skills such as being knowledgeable or a communicator, which lead you to being a life long learner). In their reflections they were also asked to think about how their show the skill and also what they would include if their created their own Learner Profile. They all came up with some really lovely ideas and I encourage other IB educators to do a similar unit!
[Reflective - Captain Obvious was dropped in to a cauldron of Reflectivity Liquid as a child-which turned him into a superhero. In the comic he is fighting his obnoxious enemy Birdman on the roof of a skyscraper and pushes him off...He stops time and reflects on his action...then saves Birdman!]
[Knowledgeable - Mr. Q Cumber - a cucumber sent to school in a lunch box...but jumped out and joined in the lessons, getting top grades! He now creates new software and shares his knowledge, by being a news reader!]
The last unit of the year with grade 8 was getting them to take on the persona of a famous mathematician and blog as that person, (I will show off their amazing blogs in another post). As this was an interdisciplinary unit with maths and technology we had to start it on a certain date, which gave me one week free - this meant I was able to do a one week zine challenge! I introduced zines, told them about the history and culture, described how to get involved in London and showed some zines I, my friends and even my mum had contributed to. They spent the first lesson looking through a selection of zines I bought in. During the second lesson they each designed an A5 page about happiness, which fed into one zine. Their pages included reviews of SLN skits, recipes, illustrations of pugs and flowers and a platypus...
Grade 9 had a lot more freedom with their zine and could choose any format they wanted. We had self-care zines, zines about basketball, football, tea, pranks and even a colouring book. A couple of students even brought in goodies to give away with their zines.
I am excited to do similar units in the future. I want to build up my library's zine collection and continue to add student made content to it! I also plan on making these all available as PDFs and adding them to our library's collection as e-books.