An Alternate Book Report: The Comic Strip Report


Book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007) by Sherman Alexie

Targeted Grade Level: 8th

Comic Strip Report Instructions:

This comic strip report is designed to make you think about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in a new way. By creating a comic strip featuring the characters in the novel, you will think analytically about the characters, events and themes we’ve explored in our reading. You should choose six key scenes, design a graphic that fits each scene and compose or quote related dialogue. You may not copy cartoons from the text, but you may use them as your inspiration and explore the same themes they explore.

To make the comic strip, follow these steps:

1.   Create a front cover that includes the book title, the author’s name and your name.Image of Cover Sheet

2.   Use the six-frame comic strip template provided, or create your own.

3.   Highlight at least six thematically significant scenes from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. That is, each frame should depict a key scene that somehow deals with one of the novel’s themes. You do not, however, need to choose scenes that deal with six different themes. Nor does the theme need to be explicitly stated in the frame, but you should know which theme each frame involves since you will need to describe this during a presentation of your comic.

4.   Choose at least four quotes from the book that you’ll include in your narration or captions.

5.   Make sure that each frame contains the following:

  • A thematically significant scene or event that occurs in the novel
  • A caption or narration that tells the reader something important about the scene
  • Relevant graphics (which do not need to be hand-drawn)
  • At least one character from the novel

6.   Make sure that your comic does not reveal the end of the novel. We don’t want to spoil it for future readers!

Rubric for Comic Strip Reports:

Note: The list below reflects the criteria for evaluation, but it does not match the format of the rubric I’ve created. I’ve created a rubric using a table, which shows what 4-, 3-, 2- and 1-point work would look like.

☐ Cover Sheet – The cover sheet includes the book title, author’s name and your name. (2 points)

☐ Choice of Scenes – The comic includes six of the novel’s most thematically significant scenes without revealing the novel’s conclusion. (4 points)

☐ Captions or Narrations – The captions or narrations incorporate at least 4 quotes from the book. They relate to the scenes and the novel’s themes so the connections are easy to understand. (4 points)

☐ Graphics – All graphics are effective in telling the story of the comic. There is clear evidence of whom the characters are and what they are supposed to be doing. (4 points)

☐ Characters – The main characters are clearly identified, and their actions and dialogue are well-matched to their actions and dialogue in the novel. (4 points)

☐ Attractiveness – The comic strip is neat and aesthetically pleasing. The colors and design of the comic are fitting for the style/genre of the book. The reader is drawn in and excited to read. (4 points)

☐ Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar – There are no spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. (4 points)

Relevant Common Core Standards:

RL.8.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

W.8.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Foreseen Challenges:

When presented with this assignment, students may feel apprehensive about the prospect of drawing. For this reason, I will permit the use of pre-drawn or photographic images in comic strip design. I will also provide these types of images.

Limited knowledge of comic book formatting may present another challenge. And so I will introduce sample graphic novels, comic books and a model of the assignment. Also, during the planning period I will enact a mini-lesson about the key elements of comic strips. It will address questions such as:

  1. What are the important characteristics of a caption? What do the words in the captions tell you about the scene depicted?
  2. What kind of landscape makes sense for the scene?
  3. What props can you associate with the scene?
  4. What kind of dialogue bubble makes sense for the interaction?
  5. What connects one scene to the next in a comic strip?

Hopefully, this mini-lesson will address the concerns of students with limited knowledge of comic book formatting.

Choosing appropriate scenes from the novel may present another challenge to students. Although I will avoid helping students choose scenes, I will check their choices during the planning period so that teacher feedback may guide their decision-making.

Finally, since some students may have trouble addressing each of the evaluation criteria, I will provide a “Comic Strip Planning Sheet,” which will help students address each aspect of the criteria prior to comic strip work.

Posted by SD

2 thoughts on “An Alternate Book Report: The Comic Strip Report

  1. Hey SD,

    I really like this alternate book report. I believe it’s a great way of making book reports fun and engaging. It’s cool that students are able to explore their artistic side, while still producing the necessary work needed to meet the common core standards. If students read graphic novels in the classroom, they could use those books as examples for their own comic strip reports. So many people love comic strips, the visuals are captivating and it could help students understand the content of the story more. JA

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