Thursday, April 2, 2009

Comics in the Classroom

Talk about a cool elementary school teacher. This is Andy Wales, art teacher for the Lynch Bustin School. We had dinner with his family and I did this sketch of him between the pasta and the cheesecake courses.

Andy Wales showed me his art room, which has a rack of comics that students are free to browse. He did his masters thesis on the value of using comics in the classroom, not only to tell stories, but to explain all sorts of topics. One of his heroes is Scott McCloud, the author of Understanding Comics.

In preparation for my visit, the K-5 students made a plaster dinosaur, clay maquettes, and drawings of scenes with people and dinosaurs interacting.

One dinosaur, called a Fraction Dinosaur helps out with math concepts.

9 comments:

Frank P. Ordaz said...

Great! Great! Great!!!!

Years from now, those kids will really grasp the honor and privilege they had of hearing you speak to them in class.

Jeremy Elder said...

Mmm. Pasta and cheesecake! The man knows how to teach and eat.

Erik Bongers said...

It's all in the book of etiquette.
You should never make bodily noises at a table. If the queen enters your house you should bow and if your guest is an artist, you should serve him pasta and cheesecake.

But I'm glad that someone made a masters thesis on comics in the classroom. After all it cannot be stressed enough that children should be warned about the dangers of comics, like there are illiteracy, unhealthy appetite for matters of indecency and even blindness and famine.

Andrew Wales said...

Our feet aren't touching the ground today!


Funny story: We had a great visit the night before. Here is this reknowned artist visiting us. I said, "Hey, do you want to have a quick tour of my school?" He says yes, I put shoes on, get them all tied. Stand up. "You ready?"

He replies, "You know, this is very funny, but you're wearing my shoes."

They looked just like mine and fit well! I gave him back his shoes and we left. But, at least I can say, I know what's like to be in his shoes!


PS- I have got to make a comic of this!

Drew said...

Awesome. You're definitely a top-notch teacher, Andy! What sort of comics do you put out for the kids to look through?

Andrew Wales said...

I try to provide anything kid-friendly I can find. Marvel and DC both have a line for kids, and the Archie comics have always been good. I have a link on my blog of which comics I think are best and for which grade level:

http://andrewwales.blogspot.com/search/label/Great%20comics%20for%20kids

Eerie Eric said...

you do realize your one of the luckiest guys around! gurney at your house for dinner! awsome man!

James said...

I teach elementary school art in Asheville, NC. Besides a shelf of graphic novels my room has a box of beat to heck comics. Any time my kids finish early (and I've checked their work) they can either "free draw", "take a slip" (strips of paper with quick art questions to be answered)or read a comic. I've also helped our media specialist choose graphic novels for the library. After her initial hesitation she was embraced the notion, and even given me a budget for choosing appropriate graphic novels for the school.
James

James said...

I should add that my local comic shop has been great in giving me kid friendly comics. If I am using a graphic novel or Disney Digest in the classroom he sells them to me at his discount cost.
James