Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 9, 2008

Filed under: comic/graphic texts — Mandy @ 12:47 pm

Keith’s visit last week was incredibly inspiring and it was a relief to see a teacher who thinks and teaches outside the box, so to speak. Not only was he a wonderful speaker, but I was thoroughly engaged in his discussion of graphic novels. I was so impressed with the writing samples from his students, and it is evident that doing “real” work reaps “real” results, as seem with the novels that are being published and sold, and with the production of the t-shirts. I was also surprised that he teaches phonetics and semantics in his graphic novel class, proving that the work can be meaningful and fun at the same time. Everything about this class seems so legitimate and fun, and Keith is so enthusiastic that I think he is the epitome of how a teacher’s reading life can have a tremendous impact on their teaching life. I look forward to reading the graphic novels on my list, including Maus, Hugo Cabaret, Blankets, Pride of Baghdad, and Electra.



February 8, 2008

Thank you, Keith!

Filed under: comic/graphic texts — Joyce @ 4:30 pm

I also enjoyed our class last night, and Keith’s warm and thoughtful visit.

 One thing I really appreciated was his ability to show that not all his students are enthusiastic A plus-ers. Among the tests he passed out I saw one student write a message that said “down the elite!” which was an incredibly positive review for his teaching style, his class, and the quality of his school. But, in the same stack I also saw one student write the message “I hate you” and it felt so real to me that Keith shared this not-so perfect student’s message with us. It reminded me that not every student is initially receptive, even to the most excited teachers, even to the most fun courses, even to Keith (a man who I’d love to sit in with, as I’m sure all of you would.) It also reminded me that it’s okay to meet with opposition, and even that Keith seemed happy to show us the “real” experience of teaching. I appreciated that.

Second, my experience with the graphic novel is limited, but after last night I am quite taken with the genre. Concepts that Keith talked about such as Hero Theory, and the use of philosophical thought to help articulate discussions really affirmed for me the classroom validity. Graphic novels seem to be deceptively “easy” in that they allow the reader the pleasure of visual representation, but the foundation for the plotlines of a lot of what I saw last night was in no way “simple.” It was very eye-opening to realize that teens who are already reading this genre are wrestling with amazing ideas already, on their own, and that all a teacher has to do is realize this to tap into a wealth of topics for discussion. 

Additionally, I have a list of graphic novels that I am putting on my MUST read list, including MOUSE, IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS, and PRIDE OF BAGHDAD.

 Thank you so much, Dr. Stearns, for setting up Keith’s visit. And thank you to Keith for coming, and sharing.


Thank you Keith!

Filed under: comic/graphic texts — kariredmond @ 4:35 am


Thank you so much for taking the time to come and speak with our class! I know that I am not the only one who was excited by the idea of discussing your course on the graphic novel, and you did not disappoint us! After meeting you it is no wonder that you were able to make this happen at ESM and we have no doubt that you will continue to have success with your students in this course (and others!). I look forward to seeing your students in action, and after tonight my list of “must read” graphic novels has considerably grown.

Thank you again!


February 4, 2008

On Comics…

Filed under: comic/graphic texts — keithward @ 12:30 pm

This is my first post… my nerves will inevitably show… my god, it is as if we have been friends for a long time you and I, and it is only now that we are able to discuss the joy of comic books together. My name is Keith Ward and I am an English teacher at East Syracuse-Minoa high school. Karen has asked that on Thursday we meet, finally, and figure out how the comic book relates to both Y.A. and canonical literature. It is rather exciting isn’t it? Please feel free to bring all questions to the table. I am happy to discuss method, standard relevance, technique, and even apologetics if need be. I will bring several texts with me and share my approach to teaching the comic book/graphic novel and how these texts serve high school students in in ways that have been truly unexpected. I would be remiss not to mention that while the genre is itself as worthy as any other i know, my course is not strictly about comics. Rather, it is a study in semiotics and the comic books connection to ancient writing systems including the Egyptians, Mayans and a few Asian scripts. While the cultural value of ancient language seems a heavy weight compared to Superman and Maus,it is my contention that the comic book helps to preserve a contemporary connection to the semantic determinitives of early linguistics (Specifically Egypt). Subsequently, my students must wrestle with these before we ever crack a comic together. It seems this is always our quest… to understand language in a way that we (you and I here) are compelled to share its value with those who are and will be our students.

In closing I must say that teaching, reading, and loving comics/sequential art is quite like loving film; no matter how much of the medium is digested there is always more to read/see and completing the task is quite frankly new friend an impossibility. I have read many graphic novels, but not all- I know a few things about the topic, but not everything, so please forgive me for the occasional blank stare, “I don’t know” or “let me look into that”. And if by some miracle I am able to make a lick of sense then we will know that it was only by the power of Greyskull. Until Thursday… keith ward

feel free to check out the class website, it is all use with permission. (Although if you steal from me I will never know…)  

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