Graphic Novel Lesson Plans




ESL: Comic Strip One.

This is such a simple idea that can be adapted for so many levels and purposes. Everyday comic strips have the dialogue bubbles blanked out and students have to create the dialogue.

All ages

Comic Book Characters

In this lesson, students look at how male and female characters are depicted in comic books. Using a Comic Book Analysis sheet, students will record the attributes of male and female comic book characters. As a class, students will record common attributes on a master sheet and discuss what messages about men and women are reinforced. In groups, students will be asked to design and create a non-stereotypical comic book character.


Flat Color Comic Book Activity

Have the students create a one page comic book using their family as the main characters. Discuss the use of flat colors not only in comic books but also in Katz's portraits. Hand out a sheet with boxes already made as a starter. Make sure they title the book.  This is also a good writing activity. Teach the students how comic books need to use fewer words or onomatopoeia to get an idea or emotion across. Challenge them to create an interesting story only on a one page comic book.


Book Report Alternative: Comic Strips and Cartoon Squares

Students tire of responding to novels in the same ways. They want new ways to think about a work of literature and new ways to dig into it. By creating comic strips or cartoon squares featuring characters in books, they're encouraged to think analytically about the characters, events, and themes they've explored in ways that expand their critical thinking by focusing on crystallizing the significant points of the book in a few short scenes.



Book Report Alternative: Examining Story Elements Using Story Map Comic Strips

Comic frames are traditionally used to illustrate a story in a short, concise format. In this lesson, students use a six-paneled comic strip frame to create a story map, summarizing a book or story that they've read. Each panel retells a particular detail or explains a literary element (such as setting or character) from the story.


Comic Makeovers: Examining Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Media

Students explore representations of race, class, ethnicity, and gender by analyzing comics over a two-week period and then re-envisioning them with a "comic character makeover." This activity leads to greater awareness of the stereotypes in the media and urges students to form more realistic visions as they perform their makeovers.


Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Genre Study

The combination of the simple, yet complex nature of comic strips and comic books make them an excellent source of teaching material, as they explore language in a creative way. In this lesson, students will be examining the genre and subgenres of comics, their uses, and purposes.


Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Narrative Structure

A strong plot is a basic requirement of any narrative. Students are sometimes confused, however, by the difference between a series of events that happen in a story and the plot elements, or the events that are significant to the story. This lesson uses comic strip frames to define plot and reinforce the structure that underlies a narrative, as students write their own original narratives.


Examining Transcendentalism through Popular Culture

Using excerpts from the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, comics, and songs from different musical genres, students examine the characteristics of transcendentalism. In the course of their exploration, students use multiple genres to interpret social commentaries, to make connections among works they've studied in class, and to develop their own views on the subjects of individualism, nature, and passive resistance.


To, Too, or Two: Developing an Understanding of Homophones

This lesson uses acting and music to reinforce the meanings and spellings of common homophones. Students listen to a song designed to help them remember the spellings and meanings of many homophones. They then work in small groups to write and create short skits depicting homophones, while their peers determine the correct spellings for the homophones. These skits are later made into comic strips.