Streetside Stories


This fall, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in Streetside Stories workshops at Cesar Chavez Elementary School are learning the art of graphic novels! Local artist and activist Chelsea Carl is working with students to express how everyday heroes can make positive change in their communities. Chelsea is exploring this theme using graphic novels because they’re approachable and engaging to read, and because many of her students are English Language Learners. The process of combining words with images helps students make connections in the language they are working to acquire. “As someone who loves making narratives and films, creating stories with images is right up my alley”, Chelsea says. “ I appreciate the way that words and images relate on a page: how one can translate, juxtapose, or further explain the other.”

Early on, Chelsea's students examined sample graphic novels including One! Hundred! Demons! and "Si Se Puede", participatd in role playing games, experimented with a series of short exercises designed to teach the core elements of graphic novels, and brainstormed story ideas in their jouornals. Her students are now working on their own graphic novels tackling topics that range from family traditions, to bullying, to favorite pets. They are putting their newly acquired comic skills to the test while creating illustrations, speech bubbles, captions, and considering important finishing touches in their layout and cover design. A student named Dexire is most excited about drawing the different scenes of her story, while Araceli is focused on perfecting her layout. Their classmate Mariana says she liked writing her story the most. Whichever aspect of this dynamic medium captured their interest, graphic novels are proving to be an effective tool for telling student stories and we can't wait to see the finished products at their sharing day later this month!