I am in the midst of planning out our Webcomic Camp for middle school students. The camp takes place next week at our local vocational school and there are about 15 young comic artist/writers signed up. My colleague, Tom, and I ran the camp for the first time last year and it was quite interesting.
Like last year, we will mix in the use of traditional paper and pen for making comics along with using a few webcomic sites: Make Beliefs Comix, Bitstrips for Schools and ToonDooSpaces. We also have invited a few visitors who are local folks who work in the field of comics and graphic novels, and I am hopeful they can come in to work with our students.
The camp runs for four days, for four hours each day, so there are some limits to what we can do. But I am going to use elements of Barbara Slate’s You Can Do a Graphic Novel as a place to develop some lessons for the camp kids. (Listen to the podcast interviews I did with Barbara earlier this year at The Graphic Classroom).
Essentially, I want the camp kids to create a character they believe in and can develop, and then use that character in a series of activities throughout the week as they work on traditional comics and then, a longer graphic story format. Last year, we did not have an end product in mind but this year, I am trying to come up with something they have to complete as a comic showcase. I am trying to envision the backwards design principle here.
Here is a glimpse of some of the comics from last year:
Peace (in the camp),