Rebels, Radicals, and Revolutionaries in American History: An Arts-Integrated Graphic Novel Project


Graphic storytelling can be an evocative and powerful medium for exploring the past and representing historical narratives. In this presentation, I describe a secondary school graphic novel project that integrated the visual arts with history education. Co-taught by an art teacher and a history teacher, the project, funded by the Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant from Facing History and Ourselves, saw Grade 11 students enrolled in an American History class first study various ‘upstanders’ in American history and then express their newfound historical understandings by creating short graphic histories depicting the lives and achievements of significant change-makers in American history – those who risked everything for justice, equality and truth (e.g., Dolores Huerta, Harvey Milk, Fred Hampton, Billy Jean King, etc.). Arts integration, as an approach to teaching, is widely understood to help teachers meet national and state curriculum standards while deepening student learning. This presentation, therefore, illustrates the pedagogical potential for integrating the visual arts with History and offers an innovative way to engage students with History and express their knowledge and understandings in creative ways. The presentation will begin by situating the project within the specific context of our school environment and best practices in the field of arts integration. The bulk of the presentation will then be dedicated to walking the audience step-by-step through the project while images of the student work created will provide supporting evidence for the outcomes being presented.

Author Information
Agnieszka Chalas, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Teaching Experiences

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Virtual Presentation

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon