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December 6, 2016

13 Big Ideas for Big Nate and Other Graphic Novels

By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Graphic novels are not new, but in the last few years, children’s authors have really capitalized on the appeal for young readers. Just because the book looks like a comic, don’t be fooled! Stories are rich in visual literacy and that can help students decode new vocabulary. In addition, there’s plenty of rich vocabulary to go around in graphic novels.

    Proponents argue that the relative quickness of a graphic novel can help reluctant readers become more fluid, scaffold with visual support, and make a bridge to chapter-book reading. Check out Scholastic’s Graphix Discussion Guide for even more powerful reasons to use graphic novels in the classroom.

    Big Nate books are a great example of what graphic novels can do for early readers. They tuck right into the sweet spot of “I know how to read” and “I’m ready for chapter books.” They include tons of idioms, rich characterization, and have the power of a series, which helps keep readers reading. In honor of Big Nate’s new 13 book box set, here are 13 ideas for use with graphic novels that can work your way through this new set, or serve you well with any graphic novel.

     

    Big Nate Character Web

    Characters and Traits

    Create a character web. Draw a character in the style of the book and then add what you know about the character. This also teaches inferences, pulling from the character’s actions.

    Shades of Meaning

    Shades of Meaning

    Graphic novels are often color-drenched. Capitalize on that symbolism by making “shades of meaning” strips. Use a paint chip of varying colors or color your own. Fill in the vocabulary word from the novel on a mid-level of the strip. Add synonyms that increase and decrease in intensity or meaning on the various shades in order.

    Big Nate Idioms

    Idioms and Expressions

    Big Nate books make particularly great use of idioms and common sayings. Draw a two-panel comic using an idiom. On one panel, illustrate the literal meaning, and on the other illustrate the inferred meaning.

    Big Nate setting

    Setting

    Big Nate stories happen predominately at school, yet other graphic novels have settings in futuristic or imagined settings. Redraw the characters or scenes using a whole new setting or build an entire diorama with the new backdrop. How does it change or affect the story?

    Big Nate dialogue

    Dialogue

    Understanding dialogue is easy with graphic novels. The words characters say are already on the page. Practice using quotation marks and writing dialogue by rewriting a page into traditional paragraph form. Include phrases like “Nate said…” or add supporting details to make the story make sense.

    Big Nate fonts

    Font Exploration

    Fonts in graphic novels are written in a visual format to emphasize the text. Look for ways that the author uses jagged, bold, or cursive words to illustrate the tone a character is using. Practice using vocabulary words in sentences and changing the visual appearance of the vocabulary word to help employ the meaning.

    Comic Books Kids

    Acting

    Show that the plot is understood with live action comic panels. Cut panels from black foam board or use an empty picture frame. Hold the panel and act out a scene from the story. Record action on a tablet or phone, then paste the scenes together to get a mini-movie of the book.

    Big Nate sequence

    Sequence

    Copy a few pages from the book and cut out the panels. Have students recreate the sequence to practice order and retelling. Older students can use complicated plot elements like flashbacks and can argue for rearranged sequence.

    Big Nate onomatopoeia

    Onomatopoeia

    Look for use of onomatopoeia throughout the novels. Create your own panels using onomatopoeia to enhance the story. Read the panels aloud as if they are a reader’s theater, assigning characters to each person. Then add the onomatopoeia for extra effect.

    Graphic webcast

    Meet the Authors

    Watch the Graphix Webcast: Words Are Only Half the Story with three authors talking about how they became illustrators and authors. Then use the inspiration to start your own graphic novel.

    Big Nate Collection

    Series Battle

    Big Nate’s Graphic Novel Collection is just one example of the power of series used often in graphic novels. Bone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and even Pigeon have many versions. Have a series battle. Assign different books in a series to groups. Each group will create a compelling argument as to why their edition is better than the rest. Create a comic-style poster to promote each book. Keep them on display in the class or school library to encourage other readers.

    Graphic organizer problem solution

    Cause and Effect

    Like any good story, there are causes and effects of character actions in the book. Talk about character motivations. Then have students relate the text to their life. Series like Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are great for this since they are school-age kids. Create graphic panels showing how readers would react to a situation in the story or draw out your own school problem and solution panels. Use a problem solution graphic organizer to get started.

    Comic frame template

    Novels into Graphics

    Once students are familiar with graphic novels and their unique characteristics, they can use the format to retell other stories. Create 5–6 panel strips showing the big scenes in a traditional novel or retell a classic fairy tale in comic strip form. Scholastic’s free Word Workshop can lend fun frames for your work.

    Graphic novels are a great way to get kids reading, but comprehension activities help the story come alive and truly get at the learning behind what’s been read.

    What ways do you use graphic novels in your class?

     

    Save an additional 25% Off Big Nate Graphic Novel at The Scholastic Store Online! Code: HSS1216. Offer ends 12/16/16. Shop Now!

     

    Graphic novels are not new, but in the last few years, children’s authors have really capitalized on the appeal for young readers. Just because the book looks like a comic, don’t be fooled! Stories are rich in visual literacy and that can help students decode new vocabulary. In addition, there’s plenty of rich vocabulary to go around in graphic novels.

    Proponents argue that the relative quickness of a graphic novel can help reluctant readers become more fluid, scaffold with visual support, and make a bridge to chapter-book reading. Check out Scholastic’s Graphix Discussion Guide for even more powerful reasons to use graphic novels in the classroom.

    Big Nate books are a great example of what graphic novels can do for early readers. They tuck right into the sweet spot of “I know how to read” and “I’m ready for chapter books.” They include tons of idioms, rich characterization, and have the power of a series, which helps keep readers reading. In honor of Big Nate’s new 13 book box set, here are 13 ideas for use with graphic novels that can work your way through this new set, or serve you well with any graphic novel.

     

    Big Nate Character Web

    Characters and Traits

    Create a character web. Draw a character in the style of the book and then add what you know about the character. This also teaches inferences, pulling from the character’s actions.

    Shades of Meaning

    Shades of Meaning

    Graphic novels are often color-drenched. Capitalize on that symbolism by making “shades of meaning” strips. Use a paint chip of varying colors or color your own. Fill in the vocabulary word from the novel on a mid-level of the strip. Add synonyms that increase and decrease in intensity or meaning on the various shades in order.

    Big Nate Idioms

    Idioms and Expressions

    Big Nate books make particularly great use of idioms and common sayings. Draw a two-panel comic using an idiom. On one panel, illustrate the literal meaning, and on the other illustrate the inferred meaning.

    Big Nate setting

    Setting

    Big Nate stories happen predominately at school, yet other graphic novels have settings in futuristic or imagined settings. Redraw the characters or scenes using a whole new setting or build an entire diorama with the new backdrop. How does it change or affect the story?

    Big Nate dialogue

    Dialogue

    Understanding dialogue is easy with graphic novels. The words characters say are already on the page. Practice using quotation marks and writing dialogue by rewriting a page into traditional paragraph form. Include phrases like “Nate said…” or add supporting details to make the story make sense.

    Big Nate fonts

    Font Exploration

    Fonts in graphic novels are written in a visual format to emphasize the text. Look for ways that the author uses jagged, bold, or cursive words to illustrate the tone a character is using. Practice using vocabulary words in sentences and changing the visual appearance of the vocabulary word to help employ the meaning.

    Comic Books Kids

    Acting

    Show that the plot is understood with live action comic panels. Cut panels from black foam board or use an empty picture frame. Hold the panel and act out a scene from the story. Record action on a tablet or phone, then paste the scenes together to get a mini-movie of the book.

    Big Nate sequence

    Sequence

    Copy a few pages from the book and cut out the panels. Have students recreate the sequence to practice order and retelling. Older students can use complicated plot elements like flashbacks and can argue for rearranged sequence.

    Big Nate onomatopoeia

    Onomatopoeia

    Look for use of onomatopoeia throughout the novels. Create your own panels using onomatopoeia to enhance the story. Read the panels aloud as if they are a reader’s theater, assigning characters to each person. Then add the onomatopoeia for extra effect.

    Graphic webcast

    Meet the Authors

    Watch the Graphix Webcast: Words Are Only Half the Story with three authors talking about how they became illustrators and authors. Then use the inspiration to start your own graphic novel.

    Big Nate Collection

    Series Battle

    Big Nate’s Graphic Novel Collection is just one example of the power of series used often in graphic novels. Bone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and even Pigeon have many versions. Have a series battle. Assign different books in a series to groups. Each group will create a compelling argument as to why their edition is better than the rest. Create a comic-style poster to promote each book. Keep them on display in the class or school library to encourage other readers.

    Graphic organizer problem solution

    Cause and Effect

    Like any good story, there are causes and effects of character actions in the book. Talk about character motivations. Then have students relate the text to their life. Series like Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are great for this since they are school-age kids. Create graphic panels showing how readers would react to a situation in the story or draw out your own school problem and solution panels. Use a problem solution graphic organizer to get started.

    Comic frame template

    Novels into Graphics

    Once students are familiar with graphic novels and their unique characteristics, they can use the format to retell other stories. Create 5–6 panel strips showing the big scenes in a traditional novel or retell a classic fairy tale in comic strip form. Scholastic’s free Word Workshop can lend fun frames for your work.

    Graphic novels are a great way to get kids reading, but comprehension activities help the story come alive and truly get at the learning behind what’s been read.

    What ways do you use graphic novels in your class?

     

    Save an additional 25% Off Big Nate Graphic Novel at The Scholastic Store Online! Code: HSS1216. Offer ends 12/16/16. Shop Now!

     

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