Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 In Review, Part 2

Now let's look at how the CCP sessions did during the course of their twenty-some meetings. I tracked both the number of comics collected and the averages over time:

Graph 1 shows how many comics were collected with each session, a rough approximation of attendance. Graph 2 monitors the average number of comics made per session. Each point on the line takes the total number of comics collected divided by the number of sessions up to that point.

The first session - 11/29/06 - was more typical of the early days of the CCP than the second (12/6/06). Attendance early on was small due to the holidays and poor weather of January and February. As a result, the average comics produced per session tended to be between 30 and 40.

March and April (sessions 13 - 20) were the best months. Several factors came together at this time: articles on the CCP were published in the New Haven Advocate and New Haven Register, the weather had warmed but outdoor activities (such as intramural sports) hadn't begun, and school was still in session. This two months produced so many comics that the average comics per session rose to their highest points since the very beginning.

During this period the CCP acquired a new set of regular attendees who were very committed to learning and practicing. Among them was Krystal, who wrote the two Shortpacked guest comics. There was also a 6-year old girl who could read and write several years ahead of her level.

May (21 - 24) should have been better overall, as the month had 4 sessions scheduled (there could have been 5, but I had to travel in the middle of the month), but 2 sessions were canceled. Session 21 (5/2/07) was canceled due to a water main break that ruined the Children's Department. Session 23 was canceled due to an unexpected party that the library's founders had. There were comics collected on those days only because a couple students gave me comics they'd brought home to work on.

Another consequence of the canceled sessions is that the session following one that's canceled will always tend to have poor attendance. Session 22 (5/10), for example, only had 4 children. I'd observed this tendency twice before: session 8 (1/24/07) and session 11 (2/21/07), both of which occurred after the session before was canceled.

Session 8 has the record as producing the fewest comics, as I only had 2 students. In that case, it was a combination of the previous canceled session and bad weather that week. Session 11 fared better: 2/14 had been canceled because of a burst pipe (the same pipe that would act up again in May), so when the Children's Department reopened there were many parents who wanted to get their kids back there.

Another few data points that indicated that May is also a good month for the CCP are the numbers from the workshops I held at Dixwell-Yale. The 4 workshops had an impressive overall average of 95 comics per meeting, with the first two producing ~120 comics each.

However, there was a downward trend that grew worse as June approached. This was due to decreasing attendance because of intramural sports: given the choice between soccer or comics, kids choose soccer. The beginning of summer is also when families take vacations as children get out of school. This implies that had the CCP at the library continued into the summer, the upward trend of March and April would likely not have lasted.

It should be possible to get around this summer trend by partnering with a summer program, such as the 10-week program at the Human Services Center. They have guaranteed attendance, as opposed to the library where it was limited to whoever walked in. It'd be interesting to have a regular weekly session at a library while also doing a summer program and comparing the results.

Winter tends to have low attendance due to the holidays and weather, spring tends to bring high attendance, while summer can be mixed. I don't yet have experience teaching regularly during the fall, which I'm hoping to rectify in 2008.

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