I have been teaching science and math to at-risk youth for the entirety of my career as an educator, and during this time, I have learned a lot about modifying curriculum and delivering content in creative ways. I have studied center-based learning and inquiry-based learning, and I have gone as far as to write and perform raps for my students in hopes that they will enjoy the learning process. I believe learning is a fun and exciting process, and I want my students to feel the same.
While I can certainly say my students have had fun during the learning process, they were still avoiding reading. I was constantly struggling to get my at-risk students to read the content! My students hated reading, especially textbooks, and as a result, they were missing important information in their science curriculum. So, I decided to make short, one-page comics that addressed specific topics that I knew were going to appear on the Ohio Achievement Assessment. The Cool School Rap (CSR) began in, February of 2013, as supplemental reading material for my at-risk students. Each comic included key terms and illustrations to help make the content memorable. My students were guided through the learning process with friendly characters, word bubbles, examples and diagrams.
Right off the bat, my at-risk students were excited to read! Every time I entered the classroom with a new comic, my students would gather around to catch a glimpse. They love getting a new CSR, and they take pride in keeping them in their folders. Not to mention, my students were actually retaining the information!
As this project has developed, I have become more and more passionate about it. At-risk students are not the only type of learners that have an aversion to textbooks. The CSR can help a much larger population of learners, and the more I draw, the more I want to make this happen. My plan is to continue to draw comics that align with the Common Core content standards and to incorporate inquiry activities in as many as possible because inquiry has such an important role in the learning process. I am fully capable of drawing a comic for any topic and any grade level.
I have such a passion for education and I know these comics can reach so many more people. I know this is what I am meant to do, and this website is just the start of this journey.
Feel free to contact me with any comments, tips, or possible opportunities for growth towards this goal!
Thank you and keep learning!