Friday, February 9, 2007

Transferring skills from visual to writing

I have been very interested in Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. My main question, and one of my near future classroom applications, is how to transfer knowledge of writing skills (such as organization or style) from observing less threatening genres (comics, for example) into writing. I started this with the movie - see my last post - and working with content. Here's my idea. I want to discuss the art and literature of comics with students. Specifically, I'd like to focus on organization to start. With organization, I don't just mean beginning, middle, and end, I'm looking more at the idea of pacing and transitions. If we study the organization of comics, looking at pacing and transition, could we transfer some of that knowledge to prose writing? I'm noticing the difficulty with organization to be especially prominent the past few years. Our district scores show this to be more prevalent with boys. I'm curious about the response to this - both in class discussion and in their writing. Has anyone tried this? Any ideas on transferring these skills from the different genres? I will be looking for articles on this topic - hopefully I can include information on this in future posts.


Louann said...

I have an assignment on style that I'd like to have someone try out and tell me about, but that's not what you're asking for here. So, let me spin a possible assignment on sequence and coherence. You'll have to fill in details, of course.

Part I. Start by whiting out the words and then cutting apart the panels in a comic. Give a student or small groups of students the pieces. Ask them to put them in order. When they have an order, ask them to use just the visual images to justify their order. Do they see repeated elements from one panel to the next? Do they see how a picture in one panel overlaps the gutter to the next panel? And so forth.

Part 2. Then, give them the original with the words. Ask how the words help establish sequence and how any devices for coherence are used.

In essence, what I would try is to begin with the familiar--visual images--and move to the less familiar--print. I'd try to have students make sense and then think about how they made sense of the sequence. That should lead to their better articulating the tools that the artist/writer used.

Do you see any potential in that? If you do try something like it, I'd like to know how it goes.

A.M. Strzyz said...

I will try that! What is your assingment on style. I might like to try it as well.