Graphic Novels

20 Mar

I had a crazy idea back in December when I was out for surgery that I wanted to do something fun during Romeo and Juliet. Reading Romeo and Juliet would definitely present some challenges for my ninth graders, and I had planned on photocopying some acts from the Spark Notes graphic novel version. A graphic novel is basically like a comic strip format with character dialogue and pictures. It made it way easier for students to understand the story.

To introduce Romeo and Juliet, I had students study different types of love. I then decided that they would create their own graphic novel based on one of the types of love- unrequited love- since Romeo and Juliet had unrequited love. Originally I wanted to make the groups myself, but I figured this project really needed students to open up and share ideas and I wasn’t sure if they would participate as much as if I let them make their own groups. I also thought if I grouped on heterogeneous behavior and ability I’d have one or two people in each group doing the whole project while everyone else just sort of ‘hitchhiked’ along.  So……I allowed them to make their own groups for the project. It worked out fine. Obviously there were some issues, but for the most part students cooperated. I had one group in one class that didn’t complete the project…not bad.

Going along with new common core standards, students had to create a narrative with all parts of a fictional narrative plot (setting, characters, conflict, climax, resolution) in which two people couldn’t be together for SOME reason. Students were allowed to be creative with WHY the two people couldn’t be together. I allowed probably about three half-class periods for them to work. At the end, they had to do a group evaluation to grade each group member’s participation and effort. I thought it was a fun project that the students actually enjoyed. Here are some samples….

 The above story was about two characters who were going to different colleges after high school….but then in the end they ended up together again!

This one was about two people who couldn’t be together because their parents wouldn’t let them….similar to R&J.

My favorite one, which was too long to take pictures of, was about a girl who fell in love with an illegal alien from Canada. He got caught in Minnesota without a Visa and was taken to jail. In the end he learned his lesson not to sneak into the U.S illegally. And she was happily in love with her 17 cats.

I don’t know if I’ll do this project again. I don’t think it was rigorous enough for all the time it took. It was fun, of course, but I’ll have to brainstorm different ways to make it more challenging. I was thinking of replacing the narrative in the beginning of the year with a project like this while we’re doing short stories. Or maybe making it an individual project. I thought overall the project was a success. I really just want to find different ways for students to enjoy my class and be motivated.


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