mangaI’m a learn-by-doing kind of guy.  As a teacher, when it came time to planning my lessons I was not someone who could just wing it.  I always had to complete my own version of the work in which I was going to ask my students to engage.  Doing so allowed me to better understand the big picture and decide what to scaffold.

When it came to production pieces, I followed the show-don’t-tell philosophy.  I had to model what I wanted the students to produce.  My funny line (at least I thought it was funny) was, “do something like this, but better”.

Last month I was shown a learning situation called the Story of Manga. Many years ago I taught in Japan and saw young and old readers devouring these stylized graphics novels on trains and in parks.  Anything that gets young people excited about reading and writing piques my interest.

Recognizing that the English Language Arts (ELA)  program emphasizes the reading, writing and production of multimodal text.  I thought The Story of Manga resource had some great potential to get students researching the manga genre, combining both photo and text and using technology to create their own comic. But before promoting the resource, I thought it only fair to create my own Manga using the Story of Manga process. Overall, it was a good experience and I encourage you to check the resources out.  Tell your students to “do something like this, but better”.

This is my story:

Like a good student, I read the teacher guide and student booklet.  I watched some of the videos showing how to use the apps.  I realized if I were to use this project with students, I would ask one student per group to become an expert in using specific apps and helping troubleshoot with others.  But then, for some reason I went off on my own direction and started, playing with the tools. I came up with a story, snapped pictures with my ipad and produced a manga comic that was not really that great.

But in my efforts, I learned something.  Stick to the plan.  While experimenting has value, I probably should have paid attention to the scaffolding laid out for me.  My first draft had too much dialogue in each panel. I did not take the right pictures,  I had to pull the whole thing apart and start again.

Take 2:

Read the The Story of Manga- Teacher Guide

As the guide says… “This Learning and Evaluation Situation is designed to allow students to produce a digital, Manga style comic strip using an iPad and digital software. The students will demonstrate their understanding of the LES by appreciating, creating, editing and publishing their own digital comic book”.

The guide provides an overview of apps and digital tools that students will use to create a manga.  It includes an annex of videos that show how to use the apps (in French).

The Story of Manga – Student Booklet

A booklet taking students through stages that lead to a great manga.  It provides a chance to research the genre, develop characters, story-boarding and exploring different emotions.  The learning situation culminates in editing and publishing a comic.

Check out the Story of Manga.  Maybe the resource will engage your students in reading, writing and producing their own manga. Shazzam!

I would love to read any manga your students produce.  Please share them.  If there is interest, we can create a student gallery.

You can read my manga here.  What do you think?  Peer feedback?