In our work on the “Breaking Down Barriers” project, we have emphasised working through different media - drama, comics, photography, digital storytelling, etc. This reflects our aim, to address different learning styles and needs - including language needs in the multicultural classroom; and also, to empower young people to use different media, to share their own work in a public form.
Students at Istituto Comprensivo Simonetta Salacone (Rome, Italy) produced their own comic book, to tell the story of local hero Antonio Roazzi, who was assassinated in WWII. They chose to utilise a recognisable cartoon genre, re-casting Antonio as a “superhero.”
The project was given an award at the Tutto Mondo Contest, hosted by Save the Children Italia.
You can see the complete Graphic Novel in this pdf file
Here is a report by the school on their Comic Book project, and the award:
I bambini hanno tentato di creare qualcosa di speciale per raccontare, ed in qualche modo celebrare, una storia che li ha emozionati e toccati da vicino. Protagonista del fumetto è, infatti, Antonio Roazzi il trisnonno di Sofia, una bambina della classe. Durante la seconda guerra mondiale Antonio, giovane autista di autobus, fece parte della Resistenza nascondendo nella propria casa un soldato dell'esercito inglese. Questo gesto di grande coraggio consentì di salvare la vita del soldato inglese, purtroppo al costo della sua. Antonio, infatti, fu ammazzato nell'eccidio delle Fosse ardeatine. Nella strada in cui abitava è stata posta per lui una pietra d'inciampo, cerimonia a cui la classe ha partecipato. I bambini hanno avuto l'idea di trasformare Antonio Roazzi in un super eroe e farne il protagonista di un fumetto. In questa storia, però, nessuno combatte, uccide o muore...
Motivazione del premio
"Il motivo è al limite dell’ineffabile, è costituito di sensazioni fisiche: mi ha dato i brividi e mi ha commosso. È un’opera che ti cattura perché è imprevedibile nello sviluppo. Non ne ha solo la forma: è un vero fumetto." - Makkox
The Super Nonno Antonio comic created by the V B of the Pisacane school has won the TuttoMondo Contest 2019 contest promoted by Save the Children. The children tried to create something special to tell, and somehow celebrate, a story that excited and touched them closely. The protagonist of the comic is, in fact, Antonio Roazzi the great-grandfather of Sofia, a girl of the class. During the Second World War Antonio, a young bus driver, joined the Resistance by hiding a soldier from the British army in his home. This gesture of great courage made it possible to save the life of the English soldier, unfortunately at the cost of his own. Antonio, in fact, was killed in the massacre of the Ardeatine caves. In the street where he lived, a stumbling block was placed for him, a ceremony in which the class attended. The children had the idea of transforming Antonio Roazzi into a super hero and making him the protagonist of a comic. In this story, however, nobody fights, kills or dies …
The grounds for the prize:
"The reason is at the limit of the ineffable, it is made up of physical sensations: it gave me the chills and moved me. It is a work that captures you because it is unpredictable in its development. It does not only have its shape: it is a real comic book ." – Makkox
Below you can see a video of the award ceremony. (It's in Italian; you can add subtitles on youtube.)
The uses of comic books
Students can use cartooning to: record information; to compose effective stories; to communicate ideas; to document the visual history of a person or place – and so on…
The University of Iowa (Extraordinary Teaching Project) has pointed to the many potential benefits of cartooning in the classroom – for example:
It encourages students to concentrate on big ideas, and consider how details contribute to the broader picture.
It can involve storyboarding, drafting, use of image, space, personification, tone, and the creation of multiple versions of the same story.
Longer storytelling encourages students to think about issues such as narrative arcs, pace, characters, and effective sentences.
It is fun for students to share and review.
It can help students retain information because it uses both words and pictures (dual coding theory)
Cartooning can simply involve pen and paper, but there are also computer programmes such as the “Penultimate” app for iPad.
For further information, go to the University of Iowa’s Teaching Cartoons pages