Cody Pickrodt – Comics in the classroom

This is one in a series of posts supporting my article in the curriculum supplement to New Zealand Education Gazette, out on June 18th. Find more resources, interviews and features on comics in education via my site’s comicsedu tag.

Cody Pickrodt is an American indie comics creator and educator who runs comic book workshops for Brooklyn kids through the non-profit organisation Uproar Art.

Poster for Chicago Alternative Comics Expo
Cody Pickrodt will be attending CAKE – Chicago’s Alternative Comics Expo – this weekend.
Image by Laura Park.

Cody joined me for an interview on my site back in February 2011, and features in my upcoming piece for the Gazette.

Today, Cody shares some of his top tips for getting students to create their own cartoons, comics and graphic narratives.

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The Petrie Museum, University College London: Using comics to bring ancient Egypt to life

This is the first of a series of posts supporting my article on comics in the classroom, which appears in the June 18th curriculum supplement to the New Zealand Education Gazette. Find more posts on comics and education under the comicsedu tag on my site.

One of the most exciting comic book education projects I’ve discovered takes place in the Petrie Museum, where University College London holds its collection of archaeological findings from ancient Egypt.

Supergods workshop flyer from the Petrie Museum, University College London
Image property of University College London.

It can be a tall order attracting children and young people to an academic museum, especially with a capital city’s attractions on your doorstep. Since 2010, artist and educator Kel Winser has run workshops at the Petrie, using ancient Egyptian culture as an inspiration for children and young people to create their own superhero characters.

Kel and the Petrie Museum’s education officer Debbie Challis joined me to discuss their innovative use of comics as an education tool.

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“We’re here for five-year-olds, grandmas, and everyone in between”: Community outreach at Bookmans, Arizona, Part 2

The Cat in the Hat at Bookmans, Arizona

“We’re here for five-year-olds, grandmas, and everyone in between.”

For Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Arizona, community outreach is more than just being a good corporate citizen – it also makes great business sense.

Last time on the blog I spoke with Bookmans Marketing Director Sheila Kressler-Crowley about their recent Schools Challenge. It’s just one element of a fun, creative vision of community partnership which stretches from sponsoring a rollerderby team to themed events aimed at teens (a Scott Pilgrim dating night) and toddlers (Dr. Seuss storytelling sessions, pictured above).

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“Ads are fine, but we’d rather hang out with our friends”: Community outreach at Bookmans, Arizona, Part 1

In the arid, traditionally conservative state of Arizona, the Bookmans chain of second-hand stores promotes a progressive community spirit

Regular visitors to this site know my passion for community partnerships, bringing together the best of the business, public and non-profit sectors.

I’ve worked with media distributors, mining companies and a range of public and non-profit schemes to address social need and deliver business benefits.

This is why I got excited when a chance Tweet by Zoe Toft, showing a cute video of books in a domino chain, led me to Bookmans Entertainment Exchange. They’re an unusual Arizona retail firm which sells everything from books to musical instruments, housewares and video games – unusual because these second-hand dealers stand out for their sense of mission and commitment to community values.

This week, Bookmans awarded over $20,000 to school development projects in their region – offering no-strings funding to worthy educational causes in Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix.

Sheila Kressler-Crowley, a community outreach co-ordinator turned Marketing Director at Bookmans, joined me on the day of the award for a chat.

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New Zealand Libraries: Quiet Innovation

Over on my Tumblr page there’s a new post with a brief interview.

Corin Haines of Auckland Libraries – whose Central Library recently hosted an impromptu gig by alternative cabaret act The Dresden Dolls – took the time for a quick chat about notions of what libraries, and literacy, can be.

See the post here:

Diane Wolkstein – Storytelling across cultures from Australia to NYC

Is the universe made of stories? Human beings can’t keep from telling tales, or listening to them – whether it’s creation myths or the “grand narratives” of science and politics, flights of fantasy or just an answer to the question, “So what did you do today?”

For more than four decades, one woman has sustained the tradition of oral storytelling in the heart of Manhattan. In 1968, Diane Wolkstein began an official role with New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation which has brought stories from around the world to life through her passion and craft.

Diane Wolkstein

Diane caught up with me recently to discuss her career, the challenges of drawing on stories from other cultures, and the business of telling tales in the modern metropolis.

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New York Harbor School: Interview with Founding Principal Nate Dudley

Back in October, I got in touch with the folks at New York Harbor School on the eve of their First Annual Regatta, a nautical event to celebrate the school’s work bringing a unique brand of maritime education to the city’s students.

Harbor School students at work in the waters of NYC

I discovered the Harbor School while auditing a course for Special Education leaders at New York’s Bank Street College back in February. I was impressed to encounter a US institution which brought together public education with a strong community commitment and a fearsome range of practical training including marine technology, commercial diving and aquaculture!

In my teens I was keener to skive off kayaking lessons and sneak out to Birmingham for shopping and pizza than get on the water. Now, at 31, I can only dream of the kind of maritime opportunities the Harbor School offers its students.

Nate Dudley, the founding principal, got in touch with me by e-mail to discuss the educational adventure currently taking place on Governor’s Island in New York.

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