Sunday, June 28, 2009

Session Cancellations

A nasty cold has managed to knock me out for this week. As a result, the 6/29 & 6/30 Collegiate YMCA sessions, 7/1 Northland Library session, and 7/2 Allegheny YMCA sessions are all cancelled. I'm not canceling the 7/1 Western YMCA sessions because they're my hardest working group.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

6/23/09 Session Postponed

Due to a change in the site's schedule, the 6/23 session at the Collegiate YMCA is tentatively scheduled to take place Thursday, 6/25, in the afternoon. This is a one time alteration.

Monday, June 22, 2009

6/22/09 Collegiate YMCA Session Report

As expected, the round robin writing activity went well. There were 13 kids in all, as I only had 1 group of the older kids. There were too few younger kids to have their own group, so I didn't work with them this time. Stats will be posted soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

6/22/09 Collegiate YMCA Session

This session takes a break from the normal routine and has the kids doing a Round Robin Writing activity. The activity has kids only doing one panel of a comic, then passing it to the right for the next person to finish, and so on. The idea is to tell a story as a group. I've used it before with success and I think the kids will enjoy some group work.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

6/10/09 Western YMCA Session Stats

Here are the stats from the three Western Area YMCA groups on 6/10.

10 year olds:

Comics collected: 248
Attendance: 12
Student efficiency: 20.67
Maximum possible: 108
Lesson efficiency: 2.30

11 year olds:

Comics collected: 170
Attendance: 14
Student efficiency: 12.14
Maximum possible: 140
Lesson efficiency: 1.21

12-14 year olds:

Comics collected: 217
Attendance: 16
Student efficiency: 13.56
Maximum possible: 160
Lesson efficiency: 1.36

These are phenomenal numbers, especially from the 10 year olds. The 11 year olds were the poorest performers, which agrees with their ambivalent attitude toward the project. The older and youngest children seemed to earnestly enjoy themselves, in comparison.

Friday, June 19, 2009

6/18/09 Allegheny YMCA Session Report

The 6/18 session went well. There were two groups: 8-9 and 10-12 year olds, with 9 and 10 kids in each, respectively. I may have made the difficulty a little high for them, so I'll ratchet that back next week. I also made contact with the Citipark's Roving Art Cart, who expressed interest in adding the comic project to their program. Hopefully I can find the time! I'll post stats soon.

6/19/09 People's Oakland Session Canceled

Due to the high probability of inclement weather, the 6/19 session at People's Oakland has been canceled. Most of the members will be staying home, so it's unlikely anyone would be there for it. Like Baierl, the first session will be next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

6/18/09 Allegheny YMCA Session

The 6/18 session at Allegheny will focus on layouts. Unlike the other YMCA sessions, Allegheny uses a building owned by the Pittsburgh city parks instead of their own.

Comics used:

Diesel Sweeties
Geeks Next Door
Nothing Nice to Say
Penny & Aggie
Scary Go Round
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Tsunami Channel

6/17/09 Northland Library Session Report

The 6/17 Northland Library session was plagued by inclement weather: I had to drive through a severe thunderstorm on my way there, causing a delay to the beginning. Fortunately, 12 students were still waiting for me. I lead them through a simple layout activity. Unlike my other groups, most of the kids were artists, not writers. I'll be adjusting future lessons to work more on art and storytelling over comic mechanics and basics.

6/17/09 Western YMCA Session Report

The 6/17 Western YMCA session was even larger than anticipated! Originally, I was told to expect 15, 20, and 25 as the maximums for the three age groups. However, in this session, I had 17, 21, and 23 students, respectively. I'll be adjusting my preparations to account for these large numbers. The kids all enjoyed the activities; the younger kids adapted very well to the multi-page comics, so I'll be continuing that next week. I'll post stats soon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

6/17/09 Northland Library Session

The Northland Library will be with my oldest group to date: teenagers of 13-18. I'm going to start them out on layouts, see how they are, and then go from there.

Comics used:

Cool Cat Studio
Kastle Comics
Octopus Pie
Questionable Content
Skin Horse
Verses Versus

6/17/09 Western YMCA Session

I've decided to do something unorthodox with the Western Area YMCA kids: instead of having all 3 groups on the same track, one of them (the 10 year olds) will be on a faster track then the other two. I'm doing this since the 10-year olds seem extremely capable and fond of the activity, so I want to push them harder than I would normally to see if I can get them to excel.

For the younger kids, I'm going to start them on personalities and multi-page stories, starting with tiny 2-3 page arcs. The other two will be covering word bubbles and symbolia.

Comics used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Awkward Zombie
Diesel Sweeties
Geebas on Parade
Geist Panik
Hookie Dookie Panik
No Pink Ponies
Okashina Okashi
Paradox Lost
Piled Higher and Deeper
Questionable Content
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
Sticky Floors
Tea Club
Venus Envy

6/16/09 Session Report

As with the 6/15 session, the kids were in two groups; I had 10 in one and 13 in the other. I altered the warm-up template set for the younger kids and this worked well. The main activity templates were still a bit difficult for them. The quantity was good for both groups, as slower kids could still finish them while faster kids would often complete 2 or 3 whole sets. Stats will be posted soon.

6/17/09 Baierl Session Canceled

The 6/15 Baierl session that was supposed to be tomorrow will be delayed to 6/22. They're currently understaffed and unable to accommodate the project. The other two at Western Area and Northland Library will proceed as planned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

6/16/09 Session

The 6/16 session will focus on Symbolia. As a fun activity, the kids will draw their own symbols and then have their neighbors use those symbols in their comics. This will help provide some increased between-student interaction that may get them more energized.

Comics used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Ghost Hunters
Mac Hall
No Pink Ponies
Questionable Content
School of Rejects
Zombies Calling

6/15/09 Session Report

The 6/15 Collegiate YMCA session went well. This time there were two sessions of different age groups; I had 9 in the first and 12 in the second. The first group was younger than planned (8-10 instead of 9-10) due to the low numbers this early on, so I'll need to adjust the difficulty in later sessions, especially in the type of warm-up templates I use.

Stats will be posted soon. As mentioned before, I can't take pictures or video of the children.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

6/15/09 Session

The 6/15 session will be split into two groups at the Collegiate YMCA, similar to summer 2008. I'll be going over word bubbles, as I noted the kids struggled to identify special bubbles - especially spiky ones - as ones to fill in.

Comics used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Kastle Comics
Lil' Mell
Mystic Revolution
Piled Higher and Deeper
School of Rejects
Sticky Floors

Saturday, June 13, 2009

DJ Coffman Joins!

DJ Coffman, creator of comics such as Flobots and Hero by Night, has given me permission to use his comics in the program! He's a Pittsburgh resident, so this is yet another local artist I'll be partnering with.

Friday, June 12, 2009

6/12/09 Session Canceled

As expected, no one showed up to the after school program on the last day of school. The scheduled session was canceled. From here on in, it's summer time!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

6/10/09 Western Area YMCA Session

The Western Area YMCA will be broken into three groups by age: 10, 11, and 12-14 year olds. Like the first Collegiate YMCA session, I'll be teaching them about layouts first as an easy introduction to the project.

Comics used:

8-Bit Theater
A Girl and Her Fed
And Shine Heaven Now
Awkward Zombie
Chugworth Academy
Devil's Panties
Geebas on Parade
Hate Song
I Come From Mars
Mac Hall
Nothing Nice to Say
Piled Higher and Deeper
Planet Karen
Questionable Content
Seasons of Constancy
Simulated Comic Product
Sticky Floors
Sugar Bits
Tea Club
Tsunami Channel
World of Orenda

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

6/8/09 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 6/8 summer camp session.

Comics collected: 119
Attendance: 10 + 3 kids who made a couple comics each = 10.6
Student efficiency: 11.23
Maximum possible: 106
Lesson efficiency: 1.12

A good start to the summer camp season! I hope these triple digit totals continue.

Monday, June 8, 2009

6/8/09 Session Report

The 6/8 session was only a single meeting with 10 kids. Normal sessions will be two groups of 10-15. The difficulty of the warm-up and activity were fine, but there may have been too many total. I'll try and shorten it in future lessons.

A couple of the kids were from last summer, but many were new, so it's a good thing I'm starting from the beginning. They seemed able to focus on the tasks with minimal acting up, so it's a good group. I'm looking forward to working with them.

Stats will be posted soon.

6/8/09 Session

The first session at the Collegiate YMCA Summer Camp is expected to have lower attendance than later sessions. According to those in charge, attendance will be lower than normal until around the 3rd or 4th week. I decided to start with a lesson on Layouts, since it's simple and not critical to later activities.

I won't be able to take pictures or videos of the kids this year. While last year all the parents signed photo release forms, this year many of them have decided not to allow pictures possibly out of increased privacy concerns.

Comics used:

And Shine Heaven Now
Geebas on Parade
Ghost Hunters
I Come From Mars
Kastle Comics
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
World of Orenda
Zombies Calling

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer Schedule Update

Here's the (so-far) final version of the comic project's summer schedule:

Monday & Tuesday, 1 - 3 PM - Collegiate YMCA Summer Camp
Wednesday, 9 - 10 AM - Baierl YMCA Summer Camp
Wednesday, 11 AM - 2 PM - Western Area YMCA
Wednesday, 3 - 4 PM - People's Oakland
Wednesday, 6:30 - 8 PM - Northland Library
Thursday, 9:30 - 11:30 AM - Allegheny YMCA

Wednesdays are the big day as you can see. This isn't the schedule for this week, as only Collegiate and Western Area YMCA's start this week. Next week the full schedule begins, though People's Oakland start date and time is still in the air.

Friday, June 5, 2009

5/29/09 Session Stats

Here are the stats from the 5/29 session.

Comics collected: 24
Attendance: 3
Student efficiency: 8
Maximum possible: 30
Lesson efficiency: 0.80

Create a Comic Project at APHA 2009!

The comic project has earned another major academic opportunity: I've been invited to present not one but two presentations on the project at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 137th Annual Meeting!

The first will be a 30-minute roundtable focusing on picturevoice. This style is not only longer than the presentation at SOPHE, but will give me a greater chance to interact with my audience. The focus will be less on picturevoice as an educational tool and more how it can be used in the context of health research. Hand outs are encouraged, so I'm going to work on assembling a "picturevoice packet" people can take home with them. It will give them all the equipment they need to do a picturevoice project of their own.

The second is a normal 15-minute oral presentation focusing solely on Healthy Holidays. I'll use it to focus less on the theory and more on the practical applications of picturevoice/comicvoice.

Picturevoice and comicvoice are the theoretical underpinnings that enable my work with art to not only be a useful educational tool, but a powerful mode of research and data collection. The Create a Comic Project is but one of many possible applications of picturevoice and I'm grateful to have a chance to share my ideas with the broader academic community.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Create a Comic Project at SOPHE 2009!

In a significant move, the Create a Comic Project has earned its first invitation to a major academic conference: the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) 60th Annual Meeting!

I'll be doing a 15 minute oral presentation on the concept of "picturevoice:" recording the thoughts and perspectives of individuals in a population using art. I'll be discussing two comic project events: the National Public Health Week April 2008 events and Healthy Holidays from December 2008. As the conference is geared to health education, I'll be focusing on the known educational benefits of the comic project.

The concept of "picturevoice" is an expansion on the idea of "photovoice," which relies solely on photography. Picturevoice can use any visual art, such as painting, though I've used it mainly with sequential art; I call this subset "comicvoice."

With any luck, this first introduction to the broader academic world may help the project expand its reach to education researchers across the country. I'm especially hoping to establish some collaborations with other educators.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Create a Comic Project at Otakon 2009!

The comic project will be holding a panel at Otakon this year! "Manga, Literacy, and Children" will be a panel/workshop demonstrating several of the project's techniques. This will be similar to the one I held at Tekkoshocon in April (and hopefully with better attendance). The exact date, time, and location are pending; more info when they notify me.