Teaching Ideas

Please see individual entries for suggestions on incorporating various texts into instruction at all levels. 

A Great Variation on Readers’ Theater:

This video by Flix and some other performers presents a very creative way to combine the newer concept of graphic novels with the tried and true readers’ theater.    This method could also serve as an effective way not only to introduce graphic novels but to bring them to life.

On a linguistic level, the type of dialogue found in graphic novels can help students learn a more conversational German that would benefit them when they embark on study abroad experiences.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oxQYZXLgHU&w=640&h=390]

Variation on this Idea

Einfach, a one page comic story from Ulli Lust’s Fashionvictims, Trendverächter would be a wonderful complement to the short film Schwarzfahrer.  It also takes a place on public transportation, but the story is much different.

Students can get the script first, read it in small groups, and then answer the questions.   Einfach Minireportagen

They could even be asked to illustrate where the scene takes place, as well as all the answers to the questions.

As a second step, students can perform the variation on readers’ theater presented above by reading the script while they view the frames.  They can then discuss how the illustrations have changed their impression of the story.

Einfach Rahmen (powerpoint showing the individual frames that match the printed dialogue)

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 1.03.15 PMcomixene.com

Comixene, the oldest German magazine about comics, is no longer being published.  If you visit comixene.de, however, you can link to Becker Illustrators, a site that indexes the work of numerous German illustrators by genre and style.  Not only can visitors to the site learn a lot about the current scene in Germany, they can also view a treasure trove of culturally-authentic images for use in all levels of language learning.  The pictures lend themselves particularly well to teaching culture.

These are just samples: many more genres and illustration styles available on the site. The site is so rich that even a web quest or independent project might be a possibility.

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 1.12.08 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 1.14.13 PM

Rhue, Morton and Stefani Kampmann. Die Welle. Ravensburger Buchverlag, 2007.

ISBN 13: 978-473-58381-2

This is a German graphic novel version of the American novel, The Wave (Delacorte Press, 1981).  The novel discusses the question “How does fascism come about?” A young teacher decides to conduct an unusual experiment.  He wants to prove to his students that vulnerability to fascist actions and thoughts are always present.  But his experiment spins out of control.

Although this is not an original German graphic novel, I include it here because of the German feature film Die Welle, released in 2008. The graphic novel and the film can be taught together (which I plan to do this fall).  In addition to the plot and thematic matter, the two forms of visual media allow for a discussion of artistic choices and adaptation.

13053747_13053747_xl9783473583812_big From the Graphic Novel

1Film Poster from 2008


Media Comparison of Similar Scenes


An opinion piece about the inappropriateness of the medium for the subject matter

E for everyone

Please also see individual entries for suggestions on incorporating various texts into instruction at all levels. 

Presentations on Teaching Ideas:

  • Presentation at NeMLA 2013, Corbeyran, Die Verwandlung.  Rewards and Dangers of Using Graphic Novel Adaptations.

Kutch NeMLA 2013 Presentation

NeMLA Verwandlung Presentation

  • Presentation at ROMOCOCO 2012, Badouz Christophe. Klee.  Using graphic art to discuss traditional or classic art.   

Examining the Boundaries Between Classic Art and Comic in the Graphic Novel

Accompanying PPT