I am currently teaching the graphic novel Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper and Raul the Third with my 7th and 8th grade English Language Learners. It is a fantastic high interest/ low lexile choice. It is an extremely creative work of young adult literature. The esssential questions for our unit are: What leads to innovation? and How to writers and artists use words and pictures to communicate in a graphic novel?
The download includes a .pdf of a comic book style study guide for students to fill in. As I continue to develop this product I plan on including a key/suggested responses, as well as a list of electronic resources for the novel available on the web.
The study guide works well for intermediate to advanced English language learners, and my basic level students are doing well with it, too. Pre-emergent or emergent level students would have trouble with the study guide, although I hope to develop an adapted guide at that level in time.
The book is easy to read for basic/intermediate/advanced ELL's but provides some text complexity and content area connections and academic vocabulary, not to mention the fun of learning about graphic novel/ comics text features. It also contains many Spanish and Mexican-American slang words and phrases, all translated for the reader, which is really fun for my Spanish-speaking students.
The cultural relevance of this book for my students also makes it a great choice. The students are surprised to be studying a book about lowriding, and learning the history of the cars and seeing them as innovations and works of art helps them see popular culture in a different light. If you teach this book, look online for interviews with the author and illustrator, Cathy Camper and Raul the Third. They are endearing and help students understand and appreciate the creative and design process.
The study guide is formatted similar to a comic book or graphic novel. In the future, I would like to add a few more artwork touches, but to avoid copyright issues I have not. I am having students sketch in or doodle alongside some of their written answers.
I searched online and found a couple of good documentaries to use for background information on lowriders. Preview any documentaries you use. I had to edit/skip parts of the one I used in class, which is why I am not linking it here. I used a slideshow from Readwritethink.org to teach the text features of the graphic novel. The Texas Bluebonnet Award has a great blog of resources for this book.
To copy the study guide, I set our school copier to the special "booklet" setting with automatic sizing and page ordering. With that setting, I was able to print the whole "comic book" on legal sized paper and the copier put the pages in order and shrank them down to that size. The fonts are designed to be read easily when printed with those settings. This size works well for inclusion in interactive notebooks. Ask a copier-savvy colleague to help you and I would bet your copier can do the same.
For at home printing, I would just print the pages full size, double sided. Be sure to click "Fit to Page" so everything is centered, etc.
Enjoy! It is so much fun!
Please leave feedback and check back for updates as I continue to refine this product!