The trend of blending comic books and graphic novels into academic textbooks is now crossing the threshold into the math disciplines, Education Week reports. There are still only a few options through larger publishers, but smaller and independent vendors are beginning to stock the topic.
Comic books are typically used to complement a district's curriculum. The books, with names such as "The Cartoon Guide to Algebra," provide a more light-hearted take on math that gives the text a student-friendly feel.
The comics trend gives teachers a fun way to enhance their instruction. Comics are not a genre, but a medium and another way of conveying information, the article says.
Students relate to pop culture, so infusing curriculum and learning lessons with these modern icons can truly engage students. Tracy Edmunds, a curriculum specialist, believes comic books can enhance learning in all topics. Teaching from both the pictures and words is critical, she said, adding that research shows processing both words and pictures together leads to better recall and transfer of learning.
If students are having fun, they can forget they are doing schoolwork. That was former teacher Andrea Ferrero’s philosophy when she developed Pockets Change, a financial literacy program that includes students making their own hip hop music. Starting with beatboxing, facilitators use that as a platform from which to start talking about money. An uncomfortable topic for some, the beatboxing opens students up as they find their “personal rhythm.”
Teaching history through music lyrics is another way to get the attention of high school students. David Reiff teaches a class at Hauppauge High School in New York that looks at 1960s counterculture through its rich trove of songs. Reiff believes students are more willing to learn when they are interested in a topic, so he draws parallels between today’s pop artists like Beyoncé and Charles Dickens’ weekly series. Today’s pop culture will one day be taught as history. What will tomorrow’s students think of the Kardashians?