Graphic Essays Add Variety and Visual Creativity

Multimodal at its best:

ELA Brave and True by Marilyn Yung

A fresh way to reflect on Douglass’ experience, themes and symbolism

During spring 2019, I assigned graphic essays to my eighth-graders after they finished reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. This incredible book, which provides Douglass’ first-hand account of the horrors and traumas of American slavery, provides a reading experience that is both sobering and inspiring.

In short, Douglass’ narrative is a lot to take in.

For my students, I felt graphic essays would:

  1. offer a break from traditional essay writing;
  2. help students discuss theme with evidence and their own commentary;
  3. allow students to discuss symbolism; and
  4. allow students to get creative and apply their artistic skills.

I found the idea for a graphic essay ona blog by teacher and author Buffy Hamilton at her website,Living in the Layers.Hamilton’s post references projects created by students at North Atlanta High School, including…

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