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SP: Graphic Novels 101

Andrea Dalland, M.Ed, MLS
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In this Self-Paced course, readers will dive into the world of graphic novels and learn about text features and elements of these books that will help to improve their comprehension and enjoyment of ANY graphic novel they read!

Class experience

US Grade 1 - 4
5 lessons//5 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Introduction to Graphic Novels
This lesson will introduce learners to what a graphic novel is, how they are different from regular novels and most importantly, how they are different than comic books. We'll also see examples of some of the different genre types we find graphic novels in and review the differences between those genres (realistic fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, biography, etc.)
 Week 2
Lesson 2
The Parts of a Graphic Novel
This lesson will introduce vocabular specific to what we see in graphic novels; panel, frame, gutter, speech bubble, bleed, foreground, midground and background. We will look at examples of pages from graphic novels to identify these parts and discuss how they impact our reading of the books.
 Week 3
Lesson 3
This lesson will focus on Characters in particular and how close study of the characters' facial expressions, body positioning and the use of emanata (new vocabulary!) can help us understand what characters are doing, feeling and thinking.
 Week 4
Lesson 4
Setting and Panels
We'll take a closer look at Setting in this lesson, to understand how the use of different size panels and of elements like color and shading can help us understand what's happening in the story and give us important information about the story's setting.
 Week 5
Lesson 5
Text Types and Other Elements
In the final lesson, we'll examine the actual text types in use in graphic novels and see how things like capitals, bold print, tiny print, asterisks, onomatopoeia, and speech bubble types can all help us have a better understanding of what characters are thinking and feeling.
  • Students will learn key vocabulary and reading strategies that will help improve and deepen their understanding of stories and characters in graphic novels.
I have taught units on graphic novel reading and writing for several years in an elementary school setting. 
Homework Offered
After each lesson, students will be asked to find examples of the elements and vocabulary we learned about in the graphic novels they are reading independently, take pictures of those examples, and post them to share. I always give feedback on any posted work.
0 - 1 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Learners are asked to bring a graphic novel of their choice (or more than one is even better!) as we will be hunting for examples of the elements we are learning.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
The following texts will be referenced in this course. Note that we will not actually read these texts in their entirety, we will be looking at small clips from them to serve as examples of the elements we are studying.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer, Adapted by Michael Moreci, Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, retold by Jacqueline Morley, Illustrated by Penko Gelen
Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale
Friends Forever by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
The Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes by Kate Hannigan and Alex Graudins
Babymouse: Skater Girl by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Battle for the Atlantic: by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Terry Riley
Amulet: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Dollhouse by Stefan Petrucha and Sho Murase, based on the series by Carolyn Keene
The Baby-Sitters Club: Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye by Ann M. Martin, retold by Gabriela Epstein
Big Nate: Aloha! By Lincoln Pierce
Tales of the Dead: Ancient Greece by Stewart Ross
The Titanic Disaster by Adam Stone Illustrated by Tod Smith
Helen Keller: From Darkness to Light by Megumi Sugihara, Illustrated by Naoko Takase
Guts by Raina Telgemeier
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, retold by Carl Bowen
Joined July, 2022
Teacher expertise and credentials
Master's Degree
Master's Degree in Education
Bachelor's Degree in Education
NorthCarolina Teaching Certificate - Elementary Education
I love being a teacher and have wanted to be one for as long as I can remember! 

I have 22 years of experience teaching elementary school and I hold two Master's degrees; one in Literacy, Curriculum and Instruction, and one in Information and... 
Self-Paced Class


weekly or $40 for all content
5 pre-recorded lessons
5 weeks of teacher support
Choose your start date
1 year of access to the content

Completed by 41 learners
Ages: 8-13

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