Avatars in the Classroom
The Cross-Section of Visual and Analytical Learning Eleventh and twelfth grade students in a Multicultural Graphic Novels elective class taught by Molly Gotwals have focused on Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. The book is narrated by an illustrated avatar who explains the elements of comic and sequential art through scholarly narrative to the reader.
After becoming familiar with this art form students read a true graphic novel called Persepolis. This is Marjane Satrape’s story of an Iranian girl in the Islamic revolution in the 1980s. They then created avatars like McCloud and responded to nightly reading assignments using their avatars as narrators. These avatars are now showcased in comic-style analytical essays which students created using a program called ComicLife. The assignment enabled them to highlight and showcase their analytical understanding of the novel in a visual manner. The example panels attached to this story are portions of these essays completed by Aurora Prescott ’22, Jonah Ball ’22, Sophia Molander ’22, and Theo Herbert ’23.