How to Write a Comic Book Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to create a narrative in the form of a comic book. They will practice visual storytelling and compose a short story in comic book format.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe how comic book authors craft a narrative
  • Assemble a short story containing multiple characters, conflict, and resolution
  • Present a narrative through a primarily visual format

Length

90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.A

Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.C

Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.E

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

Materials

Instructions

  • Ask students, by a show of hands, how many of them enjoy comic books. Discuss this. It may be helpful to have some slides of pages from comic books to aid the discussion.
    • How do comic books tell a story? What makes this unique from other forms of storytelling?
    • What is the ratio between text and image in comic books? How do you tell a story with little dialogue or direct narration?
  • Hand out printed copies of the lesson How to Write a Comic Book Script. Select three students and have each read aloud one of the paragraphs of the section ''Start With the Story''. Pause here and tell the class you are going to build a basic story together.
    • What will our story be about? Aliens, zombies, superheroes, adventurers, space travel, daily life in the suburbs? (Have the class vote on a subject).
    • Who are our main characters? (Have the class brainstorm two main characters, one villain, and two supporting characters. You may want to tell the class that the first ideas you hear are what you're going with.)
    • What motivates these characters? What do they want out of this story?
    • What are some emotions that we could work into a story arc?
  • Tell students that you're going to come back to this a little later. Resume the text lesson, reading the section ''The Comic Book Script Format'' aloud as a class, with one person reading aloud at a time and switching with every paragraph. Continue with this same method for the first two paragraphs of the section ''Show, Don't Tell''. Pause here.
  • Ask students to take out a single sheet of blank paper. Tell them they will have five minutes to draw the three panels described in this section. Ask them to think about how the three panels will interact- will they be the same shape or size? Will they be horizontal or vertical? Will they be evenly spaced around the paper? After five minutes, ask students to talk about the choices they made and how they got there.
  • Continue reading the lesson as a class, and complete it. You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

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