Neuse Charter School second graders are larger than life these days.
In fact, some of their stories rival those of Superman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman...literally.
As a way to bring art and writing together this year, NCS Elementary Art Teacher Sue Wilson designed a year-long project that has 7- and 8-year olds creating their own comic books.
“I wanted to have a project that would work over a nine week period and included writing, so a comic book was perfect,” said Wilson.
There are four, second grade classrooms at the charter school and each class has a nine-week period in which to complete their project before display.
Wilson explained that each student is required to design a comic book character based on their self. The students are expected to create a background story that might include other characters and a setting and then pair illustration and creative writing to tell a story based on their main character.
“There have been a lot of great ideas,” Wilson said. “There are several superhero stories that save the day, many stories that feature the writer as an animal…from horses to dogs to dinosaurs. Some of the stories teach lessons or depict an event that was important to that student.”
Ryder McClelland, a second grader in Mr. Knight’s class, has always wanted to be an author and illustrator, so this project piqued his interest and helped with further his goals.
McClelland already had a series in the works and this project allowed him to complete his third comic book.
“It is about a thief that wants to steal the ultimate diamond,” said McClelland. “Bob and Joe capture the thief and send him to jail. They saved the ultimate diamond and the day!”
In addition to completing the three-page assignment, students also bind the book, make a poster to promote it and give up to a two-minute presentation to their peers about their book.
“It was fun because you could really feel what it is like to be an author and illustrator,” said Wynston Daughtry, a second grader in Mr. Knight’s class who wrote a story about a bat daughter who got a scary cat she later traded for a dog.
While letting their classmates see the finished product is part of the experience, the real treat comes from being able to publicly show their hard work.
The Smithfield Public Library is featuring these budding authors and illustrators throughout the school year by displaying their finished projects. Ms. Hanafin’s second grade class goes on display in February with Ms. Knapp’s class displaying in April. Other classes displayed earlier in the school year.
Alice Boyd, Ryder’s mom, loved how this project combined art, creativity, reading and storytelling. She was thrilled to see the final piece on display in such a public setting.
“As a parent I was so proud to see his hard work displayed at the library,” Boyd said. “The library is one of our favorite places to go. So to be able to see his art work there every time we went was very special for us.”
“The students have really enjoyed this project and many of them have put in a lot of extra time,” Wilson said. “All of them have been very interesting and creative.”