Matt Bunce tells Hannah Sackett all about the Awesome Comic Club at Kingsholm Church of England Primary School, in Gloucester.
Your Comic Club is run as part of the ‘Kingsholm University’ – a university teaching comics sounds like a lot of fun – how does it work?
The university works like this:
- Teachers/teaching assistants/outside experts decide on a ‘module’ that they would like to run for 6 sessions. Each session lasts approximately an hour and a half. The modules can be about anything, and have ranged from sports, to art, to cooking, cleaning and decorating, to gardening and crafting skills, even hairdressing at one time.
- The module leader plans a 6 week unit of learning covering the skills that will be taught to the children, and the end result.
- The modules are then presented to the children in a (very long, exciting) assembly.
- We then have the 6 weeks of university, on a Friday afternoon, from 12:30.
- At the end of the 6 weeks, we have a celebration assembly where the children share some of their learning, and see a power point slideshow of all the units. They receive a certificate to show they have completed their chosen module.
- Then we do it again next term!
Why do you run the Kingsholm University in your school?
One of the benefits of the university it that it enables children to share and develop skills that may not come through in a traditional curriculum. Some of our children are very practical, and are able to use these skills in university modules. Some modules (such as ‘Go, team. Go!’ and ‘Going Wild’) have focussed on team and leadership skills, and have allowed children who may not normally display those skills in a class setting, to take a more active role in a team/leadership situation given the practical nature of the tasks. Finally, it allows children to develop new skills, and perhaps discover something they will love doing, and find their path in life.
Why did you choose to run a comic club module?
So, comics! I love comics, always have, always will! I have drawn a few in my life, and feel that they are underused in education. However, I recognise that they are not readily understood by all teachers, and therefore perhaps shied away from during literacy sessions (apart from the ‘storyboard’ style comics used in story planning etc). I wanted to communicate this love to the children, and also slyly get in some English learning in the 6 weeks I had. It has been a very popular module with 25 children involved.
What did your Awesome Comics sessions involve?
We covered character development, basic storytelling and dialogue in a visit from Neill Cameron, and then went on to look at drawing different poses, drawing faces and lettering. The final two weeks were spent on drawing and expanding the basic strips and finally publishing the comic. In addition, I hope to encourage the children to get into reading and making comics, as I know that comics can have a huge benefit to literacy skills – they certainly helped teach me to read!
Will you run this group again?
As a module, it is one I have enjoyed planning and delivering, I will certainly run it again next year. I will also be running a comic club as an afterschool club next academic year.
Huge thanks to Matt for telling us about his club and for inviting Neill and Hannah to visit his group – which was full of awesome cartoonists! Their finished comic looks amazing – and was one of the comics to be featured over on the Comic Swap website.