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Sandy Journal

Crescent Elementary comic strip sparked imagination intertwined with skills

Aug 11, 2023 09:45AM ● By Julie Slama

Crescent Elementary fourth-grade students practiced their communication skills while creating their own comic strips. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Crescent Elementary fourth-grader Braylon Pritchett may not be outside for hours upon hours this summer. Instead, he may pick up a pencil to write part three of his imaginary story about Goose Kingdom.

In the spring, his teacher, Cindy Carling, assigned students to create a one-page comic strip.

“I like I can do whatever I want, and write any story I wanted,” he said. “So, I wrote this story with imaginary creatures. It starts with everyone cheering on this king goose who ruled the Goose Kingdom, but then it introduces a new creature I created called the Growler, and he robbed the general store. The people set traps to get him, but those fail. When they find him, they put him in jail.”

Did happiness return to Goose Kingdom after the Growler was imprisoned?

“We don’t know. I filled all the comic squares, so I didn’t have enough room on my page. I adding to it during the summer. Maybe I can make it a whole book. I wrote one before when I was younger. I can add this one, which is part two, and when I write part three over the summer, I can put all of them together,” he said. “I like creating the characters and writing stories. I’ve been told I have a ‘big boy imagination.’”

This was the first time Carling has assigned this project, which they completed within a week. They were to develop a main character and come up with a storyline.

“I like that it’s engaging so I’ll do it again,” she said. “Many of the students wanted additional pages to expand their comic strip into a comic book. By doing this assignment, they’re learning structure sequencing, the order things happen, and the amounts things happen, so it makes sense. They’re learning character, setting, climax, story parts. They also work on their spelling and grammar and practiced their verbal skills when they share their comics with the class.”

Carling appreciates that the assignment was creative.

“Anytime you can throw creativity into a project or make it an activity where it’s a hands-on and engaging, then they will learn more,” she said, adding that several of her artistic students added their own elements to the project.

Fourth-grader Kyoko Yamaoka centered her story around a villain who set a bomb and the hero, who tried to defuse it.

“I liked that this included a lot of drawing so I could improve both my writing and drawing and make it the best I can,” she said. “I have never made a comic before, so I learned how the story goes from one scene to the next.”

Her classmate, Ava Newby, developed her comic around Zack trying to steal magic powers from a school. 

“I like the adventure and the excitement I was able to create in my comic and that it all came from my brain,” she said. “I got a lot of energy from it, and I wanted to keep going.”

The span of comics ranged from Olivia Wilson’s comic centered on friendship to Emmy Fidler’s attempted jewelry heist. Each of the 23 comics’ student-authors and illustrators produced their own vision.

“The students were really able to use their own imaginations to create these comics with original storylines and fun characters,” Carling said. “They really got excited and took a lot of ownership in these comics.” λ