CBLDF at the Teaching with Comics Virtual Conference Next Week!

art by Leia L Huddleston

Next week, Reading with Pictures presents Teaching with Comics, a free three-day virtual conference for educators and parents. Join CBLDF’s Betsy Gomez (Coalition Director) and Karen Evans (Education Coordinator) for digital “Office Hours” during the LIVE event Wednesday, 3 pm Eastern. This is your chance to ask them any questions about defending free expression, using comics in the classroom, or express any concerns you have about books being challenged.

Teaching With Comics runs Monday through Wednesday, August 9–11. Not only will you have access to all the panels, but you will also gain access to free lesson plans and previews of graphic novels. Take advantage of this opportunity to prep for the next school year and add comics for any curriculum from preschool to higher education.

Registration ends Friday! Don’t miss out on this free event!

Register here.

Schedule of Events 

In addition to the following events, each day attendees will receive digital  resources such as book previews, educator guides, and learning materials  along with links to recommended resources including educational videos,  publisher sites, and organizations that provide resources for comics in  

education. Registration closes August 6. 

Monday, August 9 

LIVE event: Keynote by Dr. Lee Francis with Q&A to follow 

There’s Always Room for More Stories: The fight for dynamic representation in  pop culture 

3 pm EST via Zoom 

As we seek more ways to engage students and communities through Reading with Pictures, it  is important to recognize the ways in which historically marginalized communities have  struggled to have their authentic and dynamic stories recognized in comics and graphic novels.  Too often, we view the comic book world as a zero sum game (i.e., if you get your representation then it takes away mine). As such, the work needs to be about reorienting  audiences to understand that there is always room for more stories and the inclusion of  marginalized communities and cultures makes the entire industry richer, more vibrant, and  more resilient. 

Dr. Lee Francis is the founder of Native Realities, Red Planet Books and Comics, and the  Indigenous Comic Con and the current Executive Director of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers  and Storytellers. He is an award-winning performance artist and has been featured in  numerous publications throughout his career. His most recent comic book, Ghost River: The  Fall and Rise of the Conestoga, has received numerous accolades and has been previewed  throughout the country. His family is from the Pueblo of Laguna and he resides in Albuquerque  with his wife and son. 

LIVE event: Mixed Media Mixer 

Following the keynote, an opportunity for attendees to meet and share. Bring your favorite  graphic novel/manga you’ve used or want to use with students.

PANEL: Yes, We Are Still Having This Conversation: The Case for Comics in  the Classroom 

Okay, you’re on board, but there are other stakeholders involved who still don’t understand.  Join us to learn about the ever-growing mountain of evidence on the educational efficacy of  comics that is making comic converts out of even the harshest critics. Learn how research  shows that reading comics and graphic novels strengthens literacy and content learning for  students of all ages, interests, and levels of achievement and how creating comics can bolster  critical thinking and social-emotional skills. Our education and comics experts will share with  you all the rationale and research you need to prove that comics belong in the classroom. Panelists: Dr. Stephen Krashen (USC, Professor Emeritus), Dr. Theresa Rojas (Modesto Junior  College), Dr. Susannah Richards (Easter Connecticut State University), Tracy Edmunds (RWP  VP K-12 Education), moderator Alex Simmons (teaching artist, founder of Kids Comic Con) 

PANEL: The Educational Power of Creating Comics 

Join our panel of educators and creators to learn about the power of making comics with your  students. Kids who create comics learn to communicate more effectively, become stronger  storytellers and critical thinkers, and develop their visual literacy skills. Creating comics  challenges advanced learners as well as supports English learners and students who struggle  with writing; furthermore comics can be a powerful evaluation tool that allows kids to show  what they know. From pencil and paper to online digital tools, learn about the many ways to  bring the power of comics creation to your classroom. We’ll provide plenty of tips you can use  with your kids tomorrow! 

Panelists: Dr. Kerry Freedman (Northern Illinois University, RWP VP of Academics), Kristina  Maldonado Bad Hand (teaching artist), Cathy G. Johnson (teaching artist), Dr. Michael Bitz (Ramapo College, founder of The Comic Book Project), moderator Tom Racine (cartoonist) 

Tuesday, August 10 

LIVE event: Workshop with Teaching Cartoonist Cara Bean 

3 pm EST via Zoom 

Join cartoonist Cara Bean for this hands-on, mindfulness workshop that explores visual  expression and communication with both doodling and comics. Cara believes that there are  good reasons why you should draw even if you don’t like what you create. What matters more  is how drawing can make you feel. 

In this workshop, we will learn about some great research demonstrating why drawing is so  beneficial for the brain. Mark making, personal metaphors, and positive neurochemicals will all  be part of this guided drawing experience. Participants will walk through a series of creative  exercises intended to lessen anxiety, build confidence, and grow creativity. Together, we will  go over the basics of communicative drawing (stick figures allowed!) and develop the skills  needed to make a simple comic. No prior art experience is required. 

Suggested workshop materials: 

• 5-6 pieces of paper for doodling, notes, and cartooning. Any type of paper you have on  hand will do. 

• Your favorite doodling tool pens, pencils, markers, etc. 

PANEL: Get Your Mind in the Gutter: Sequential Art as Inference Tool While some dismiss comics as less intellectually challenging than “real” books, the reality is  that graphic novels offer an opportunity to think abstractly in a way few other storytelling media  can. The space between panels – the gutter – requires readers to make connections on their  own, while the art portion of the media demands patience and attention that isn’t guided by 

words lined up on the page. Listen as seasoned educators share their use of comics as a tool  for all types of inferring: determining causes, solving problems, predicting likely outcomes, and  connecting dots. 

Panelists: Jana Tropper (speech-language pathologist, RWP Director of Literacy), Shveta  Miller (author of Hacking Graphic Novels, RWP Director of Curriculum), Ronell Whitaker (high  school administrator, RWP VP of Community), Rachelle Cruz (UC Riverside, RWP Director of  Engagement and Collaboration), moderator Dr. Isabel Morales (middle school history teacher,  LAUSD Teacher of the Year) 

PANEL: Dynamic Duos: Effectively Using Graphic Novels as Mentor Texts When teachers bring graphic novels into their classrooms, there are multiple ways that they  can be effectively implemented. For those new to the medium or for those looking to build  inroads into other books, short stories, plays, or poems, pairing graphic novels with other texts  works quite well. Join the LitX educational cohort as they and a bunch of their colleagues each  provide tried and true examples of pairing comics or graphic novels with other types of texts  and how they tie them together with their students. 

Featured Teachers: Michael Gianfrancesco, Eric Kallenborn, Ronell Whitaker, Adan Alvarado,  Deborah Benjamin, Jill Gerber, Kaitlyn Roach (with Brook Williams), Taylor Burmeister, Meryl  Jaffe, Adam Ebert, Jason Nisavic 

Wednesday, August 11 

LIVE event: Teaching with Comics “Office Hours” 

3 pm EST via Zoom 

Participants can pop into various breakout rooms to chat live with experts in the field.  Scheduled experts include creator Tony Weaver, Jr., Tapas Media Chief Content Officer  Michele Wells, teaching artist Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand, history teacher Tim Smyth,  keynote speaker Lee Francis, and speech-language pathologist Jana Tropper. Programming  will also feature other teachers from a wide range of grade levels and subjects. PANEL: Graphic Novels & Manga: Art and ELA Cross-Content Collaboration Meet English teacher Adan Alvarado and art teacher Debby Philbin, who have collaborated to  create exciting cross curricular experiences for their high school students using Graphic Novels  and Manga. In this endeavor, these teachers found the best common ground in their  curriculum: visual literacy. Join us for a panel discussion about how we proposed the new  course and worked to get the school community on board to recognize the power of visual  literacy as an exciting teaching tool for students.