Cross-curricular Comic Creation

Etherington Brothers with Ladywell Primary School
Category: Tours & Events

We applied for the Etherington Brothers to visit our school so they could act as an inspiration to the children. Throughout the year, we have tried to use a variety of approaches to introduce the children to different and often tricky genres. Earlier in the year, we had a representative from the Poetry Association come and run a workshop for our P3 and P6 pupils and this was well received by pupils and teachers alike. Therefore, when we saw comic book authors the Etherington Brothers' advertised tour, we jumped at the chance to apply, as we saw this as another great opportunity to introduce the children to a different type of literacy in a fun and unique way. We thoroughly enjoyed Robin and Lorenzo's visit and would definitely recommend that other schools invite authors or illustrators to meet their pupils

Prior to the brothers' visit, the children were given the opportunity to research their background using their website and also read one of their books, "Monkey Nuts". This gave the children an idea of who they were going to meet and the type of work that the brothers produced. This caused great excitement and many children were eager to buy a book on the day of the visit.

As soon as the Eteringtons arrived, the atmosphere in the gym hall became electric. Their personalities, attitudes and the way they interacted with the children were superb and far exceeded our expectations. All of the P4-7 children became engaged in what was happening and were ecstatic when Robin or Lorenzo chose one of their ideas for a storyline. The fun-filled hour passed very quickly but not before the children had been given a masterclass in how to create their own comic strip. Afterwards, the school corridors buzzed with excitement as the children discussed their ideas for their own comic strip.

In the weeks that followed, the children initially used the useful

Etherington Brothers Ladywell Primary
handouts that SBT had left to help them focus on particular aspects of comic strip writing. Then, once the children became more confident, they had a go at writing their own strips. Some of the classes also used their art time to focus on drawing their characters in more detail. The children loved these sessions because it not only allowed them to develop their writing skills but also allowed those children who had an artistic flair to see how their talent could be used in a different way, particularly if they found language more challenging.

In addition to this, some other classes used ICT programmes such as Comic Life to try and create their own comics electronically. This allowed them to further develop both their literacy and ICT skills. One of our senior classes also used an animation programme to try and bring their comic strip to life.


Nathan's Feedback Comic

The project gave our pupils personal choice in their comic strip's subject matter as well as in how they created it. This was particularly well received by the pupils as, due to the structure of the language programme, it is not always possible for every child to read different class novels or write about different things at the same time. It was also fantastic to see children being given the opportunity to develop their levels of creativity, really tap into their imaginations and see what they could do with it! The cross-curricular activities showed the children that there are real links between literacy and ICT or literacy and art. We found that this actually helped to change some of the children's attitudes towards language and show them how artistic talents or technology could be used in different ways, therefore providing them with food for thought for when they are older.

The visit allowed the children to put faces to names and understand the journey that that person had make to become successful. This inspires pupils to have a go themselves and try and make their dreams a reality – in our opinion, that is definitely worthwhile!

Paula Jeffreys

Paula Jeffreys is primary teacher at Ladywell Primary School in Motherwell.