Educator Scott Williams contacted me, as he is looking for a cartoonist for a project to create a comic book for teachers. Details from him are below.
Who am I?
Scott Williams, elementary ESL teacher, Apple Valley, MN. scottwilliams83(at)gmail.com
Who will benefit?
Students, teachers, and the broader community
Why this project?
Who would have thought that K-2 students could learn some of the most challenging skills and concepts that are taught in elementary school just by talking with their classmates and playing with Legos. A simple teaching method and three learning tools can be used to do just that, albeit in a very structured way. Iâ€™ve presented the ideas at numerous meetings and conferences and have received comments and emails from teachers praising the ideas. For example:
â€¢ â€œExcellent, quick, easy strategy for building from simple to complex sentences.â€
â€¢ â€œThe more I think about and see the application of this method, the more I see it’s potential.â€
â€¢ â€œThe â€˜blocksâ€™ idea is like the wheel! Why didn’t I think of that before?â€
â€¢ â€œYou made a complex topic concrete, tangible, and easy to implement!â€
â€¢ â€œSo far the sharing procedure has been a blessing in first grade in my co teaching room. I’m thinking about videotaping it the next time we do it because it has been so awesome.â€
While the instructional ideas are simple, straightforward, and practical, the learning that results is deep and the consequences, far reaching. This is particularly true for students who are learning English as a second language, and for students who lack foundational literacy skills. Through the use of the method and tools, students develop Speaking,
Listening, Writing, Research, and Social skills. Additionally they learn the concepts of sentence, paragraph, complex sentence, clause, and subordinating conjunction. And they do this by talking with their classmates about their lives, then summarizing what their peers say using color-coded blocks that represent sentences in a paragraph.
No more lecturing students about subject and predicate, run-on sentences, or paragraphs that sound like lists of loosely related events. Any thoughtful teacher can trick them into doing these things well with surprisingly little effort.
In short, I want to make these ideas as widely available as possible because I truly believe that they have the potential to improve the academic and social lives of children.
What do I hope to achieve?
I hope to create a comic book for teachers. The book will show how to implement the method and use the tools over the course of one school year (just nine conversations). I am convinced that the medium for the projects must be comics because the instruction is as much about what the teacher is doing as what they are saying. Cartoons will create a classroom observation like feel that is ideal for the project.
Because I believe these ideas are unique and important, I want to maximize the audience for the comic book. I have been collecting email addresses of teachers who would like to pre-order a book and help fund the project through Kickstarter.com. Weâ€™re approaching 80 email addresses and counting. If I reach my fundraising goal and am able to hire a cartoonist and print the book, I plan to sell the book either at cost, or for an free-will donation, using any profit for additional printings.
I believe this unconventional sales plan will make the ideas as widely available as possible, potentially draw media/social-media attention increasing the audience, and encourage donors and educational organizations to support the effort.
Where will the project take place?
I have been collecting writing samples at school. I plan to contact families and get written permission to use writing samples after spring break. I am not yet sure whether it would be a good idea to ask for parental permission to use student names of take a picture of each student for the cartoonist to use as reference. These decisions will be made with the help of my principal, school district personnel, and other project collaborators.
I have begun writing the script. Much of the script is based on real conversations that have taken place in my 2nd grade classroom. Other parts of the script are based on parts of the presentation Iâ€™ve been giving around the metro area. I plan to take pictures of the classroom for my cartoonist to reference. Also, it would be wonderful if the cartoonist could visit the classroom this spring so they could see us in action!
When will it take place?
I would like the Kickstarter campaign will begin in mid-April or early May, ending at the end of May. The final copy of the script would then be ready sometime in June. The cartoonist and I can map out a reasonable timeline for completion of the book.
Iâ€™ve modeled my project after the Kickstarter project for Poorcraft written by IronSpike. $6,000 was her fundraising goal. About half to the cartoonist and half for printing, plus some for shipping. Any funding over the goal could be split the same way (this may serve as an incentive for the cartoonist to assist in the fundraising effort). We would work that out and write up a contract. Also, Iâ€™m applying for a grant from the National
Education Association and will look for other grants. That money wonâ€™t be awarded untillater in the year. Grant money would be used for printing.
Thanks for reading. If you are a cartoonist and would like more info, please send me an email.