STEAM | 14 August 2015Cartooning in the Classroom: Lesson Plan Ideas Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Art is one of the most important building blocks of a child’s development. Working and learning in a creative manner has been shown to benefit a child’s motor skills, language development, decision making, and so many other skills sets. According to Americans for the Arts, young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than children who do not participate. Essentially, art encourages kids to think outside of the box, to consider different perspectives, and to invent ideas instead of simply following directions, which leads to happier and more confident kids in and out of the classroom. Unfortunately, leaner budgets of late have forced schools to cut unnecessary programs, and art is often one of the first to go. Thankfully, our world is stocked with wonderful teachers determined to give their students the best education possible. Enter: Cross-curricular lessons. When we meet teachers at ALA, ILA, and other conferences, we regularly hear stories of how educators integrate drawing and painting into core subjects such as writing and science. Instead of assigning a worksheet on categorizing marine plants, a teacher will have students draw the different plant forms and use watercolors to express different sea levels. For a lesson on Tall Tales, students go beyond the traditional book report to include illustrations to express their thoughts. The possibilities are endless, and we’re constantly on the lookout for new ideas – check out our Lesson Plan board on QuartoKids Pinterest to gather inspiration or to share some of your own plans! Walter Foster Jr. has a wide selection of books perfectly suited to help teachers bring art into the classroom. From the Learn to Draw series to Art Lab for Kids, our books provide lessons in drawing, painting, and crafting, along with prompts to spur kids’ individual creativity. One of our goofiest new additions, Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters teaches kids how to draw and develop their own cartoons such as Henry the Horse and Alien Bob. There’s also a Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters Drawing Book & Kit that comes with all the essentials to get started with cartooning — colored pencils, pencil sharpener, drawing paper, markers, and stickers. Take a look at our cross-curricular idea below on how to incorporate cartooning into a creative writing lesson! Lesson Plan: Create Your Own Comic Strip Pictures excerpted from Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters Write a Story: Have students choose one of the cartoon characters from the text. Using this cartoon character as the protagonist (main character – new vocabulary word!), have students create a short story. For a prompt, encourage students to follow a story arc – the protagonist should first exist in a normal situation, then encounter a conflict that changes her/his situation, find a way to solve the conflict, and finally come to realize a moral learned from the experience. The story should easily split into 6-8 scenes. Identify Characteristics: Because comic strips consist mostly of monologue and/or dialogue, have students find individual voices for each character. To begin, have students make a list of of characteristics for each character using both the picture and their imagination. Have students incorporate these characteristics into the dialogue by assigning a catchphrase, tone of voice, or accent to different characters. For example, Henry the Horse’s catchphrase could be “Hay there!” and Perky Penguin might use a lot of exclamation points. When you write speech bubbles, it should be obvious which voice belongs to whom! Add Illustrations: Now that students have a story and dialogue, it’s time to illustrate the comic strip! Each scene needs a picture, so students will draw 6-8 cartoons (on 3×5 pieces of paper). Have students follow the basic drawing guidelines in Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters, and then alter facial expressions (ex. turn a smile into a worried expression) and accessories (ex. add some cool shades if the character goes to the beach!) depending on the scene. Use other cartoon characters from the book for secondary characters, and encourage students to create some of their own once they feel comfortable with the basics of cartooning. Once the scenes are complete, add color with pencils, crayons, markers – anything works! Don’t forget to add the speech bubbles to each scene. Put it Together: On a large piece of construction paper, glue the pictures in their corresponding order. Underneath the now completed comic strip, have the students staple their original story, so both can be read together! Discussion Questions: What is your favorite character, and why is it your favorite? What was the hardest part of the story to write, and why? Imagine that one of the secondary characters becomes the protagonist. How does this new perspective change the story? Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.