As the publisher of PEACE PARTY, I'd like to find ways to work with you and your class. I hope to write a teaching guide listing projects and activities eventually, but here are some suggestions:
One possibility is to participate in the monthly stereotype contest I've started. Your kids could look up the stereotypes I've listed, report on them, and submit their own examples for posting.
Another possibility is research projects. Students could examine one of the comic's plot points and write reports on it. As an example, Billy and Oliver articulate two different views of the law in PEACE PARTY #1, page 4. You could ask your students what each character meant, which view they thought was "right," and why.
Your students could write short PEACE PARTY stories or illustrate some of the text features I've created. I could "publish" the best student work online. Or they could invent plausible "histories" (biographies) for the characters. They might need more stories to do either of these, so these could be long-term projects.
Your kids could try translating PEACE PARTY into their native language—with help, of course.
We could hold a contest in which the child who did something noteworthy (read the most books?) got to appear as a character in an upcoming story. Or earned a special page on the PEACE PARTY website. Or won a free comic book.
Or the contest could be based on the site itself. Perhaps the child who answered the most trivia questions correctly could win a prize. Or the child who wrote the best essay on a subject based on the postings online.
Your students could undertake a public letter-writing campaign based on an issue in the comic. Stop wasting water from the Colorado Plateau's N-Aquifer or free Leonard Peltier (in PEACE PARTY #2), for instance.
You could study how the media would report the first two issues's events. Your youngsters could write news summaries of these events, then compare them to the article I've written and posted online.
Or the kids could write letters on what they thought of the comic and I could post them online.
If you ever discuss Indian portrayals in the media (historical flaws vs. reality), please check out my Indian Comics Irregular newsletter. I try to mention prominent appearances of Indians in the popular media: movies, video games, cartoons, comics, and so forth. For example, in March 2000 I did a review of the Pocahontas II video and commented on its historical accuracy—or lack thereof.
These are just a few of the many possibilities. The key advantage of comics in the classroom is their entertainment value. Kids consider comic books fun compared to textbooks or novels. They can dip in and out of them without becoming intimidated by pages of prose.
Yet a comic like PEACE PARTY has enough substance to build lessons around. In that sense, it joins products such as Tony Hillerman's mysteries in making Native culture broadly accessible. These are useful tools for increasing public awareness of the indigenous people among us.
PEACE PARTY's objectives
Age-appropriateness of material
Our Board of Advisors
More on the publisher's background
Quotes from interested educators
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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
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