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The first CCP session was held November 29, 2006, at the New Haven Public Library.
The last session in New Haven was May 30, 2007. I moved to Pittsburgh in June 2007. Regular CCP sessions resumed in July 2008 through the Pittsburgh Collegiate YMCA. Regular sessions in Pittsburgh continued until July 15, 2009. It was irregularly active during my time in New York City from August 2009 through July 2010. Likewise, it's been used irregularly in Houston, TX.
Timewise, in New Haven I held sessions once a week on Wednesdays from 5 - 6 PM. Sometimes I'd go past 6 PM if there were still enough kids in the room who want to make comics. In Pittsburgh, they were on Fridays, usually starting at 4:30 PM.
In New Haven the average was around 10-12. Record attendance was 18 kids in one session. In Pittsburgh, I usually had 3-5 in the after school program and 15-25 in the summer program. To put these numbers in perspective, in Taiwan I usually taught classes of 15 - 20 students.
I try to design it for around third grade and up. I had the occassional Kindergartener try his hand at it and there were several first and second graders who did very well. The oldest participating child in New Haven was 12 years old. (Though there was a 25 year old who hung around for the heck of it once.)
In New York and Houston, I used the project with older teens (14-18).
I did, but only if they asked me to help. Some students asked for help spelling words and making sentences. Other students just like forging ahead on their own.
As one of the library staff told me, students look to these kinds of activities to relax and have fun, so they can "escape" the rigors of schoolwork. They don't want to be stuck in yet another classroom environment. So I used a very hands-off approach and let the students decide when they needed help. They enjoyed being given such latitude.
No. I am a volunteer, meaning the only reward I get for doing the CCP is the fun that comes from turning a group of kids into young comic writers. This also means that Fair Use applies to the material I use since it's all for educational purposes only.
A workshop is basically a shorter version of the project, compressed into either a one-shot meeting or a brief series.
In April of 2007, Makana Ellis, then Director of the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center (DYCLC), invited me to bring the project there. I took the material from the sessions held at the New Haven Public Library and compressed it into a series of four lessons. The first CCP workshop was held May 3, 2007 at the DYCLC. The others were on May 10, 24, and 31. Each workshop was held twice a day at 4 - 5 (later 4:30 - 5:30 PM) and 6 - 7 PM.
These abbreviated lessons became known as the CCP Workshop. For general reference, I refer to any shortened version as a "workshop."
The first workshop in Pittsburgh was held December 29, 2007. It was one hour long, 2 - 3 PM. It celebrated the anniversary of the CCP and heralded its arrival in Pittsburgh. Later 1-hour workshops were held at locations such as the Braddock Carnegie Library, Human Service Center (HSC), Shadyside Boys & Girls Club, and People's Oakland.
I've also combined workshops with professional demonstrations. Some places I've held these include the American Public Health Association (2009), University of Texas Austin (2010), and the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (2011).
The DYCLC serves the Dixwell area of New Haven, so most of the participants were from that neighborhood. Additionally, students from the High Meadow School, an institute for troubled youths, trekked to the DYCLC from neighboring Hamden.
The museum served Pittsburgh's general population. Braddock, the HSC, and Shadyside B&G specialized in afterschool programs for disadvantaged youths. People's Oakland focuses on helping adult mental health populations.
The CCP Module is a generalization of the comic project. While the sessions and workshops are focused on teaching kids how to write comics, the modules are designed to bring comics into other environments, such as health education, science, and math. Modules use many of the same templates as the sessions and workshops, but the emphasis is less on the comics themselves and more on encouraging students to write about various topics and concepts.
The first basic test run of the module was used at the University of Pittsburgh with a class of 80-some graduate students. The test run was an experiment to see if, by comparing before and after comics, whether a change in a student's knowledge of a topic could be determined. The results were positive: it was possible to tell that knowledge had been gained.
The intended audience for the CCP Module are elementary (3-6) and secondary (7 - 12) school students. The CCP Module was used with 200 students from Northview Elementary as part of National Public Health Week 2008. It was done in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, Association of Schools of Public Health, and the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The theme for NPHW '08 was climate change, so students created comics about that and several other topics, such as exercise and recycling.
The module was used a third time for Healthy Holidays, a public health promotional event done in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. Participants were patrons of the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library.
The module has been used several times for teaching math in New York City: seventh graders at Roberto Clemente Middle School IS195, 9-12th graders at LaGuardia High School (aka "The Fame School"), and 8th graders at the School at Columbia.
The module was tested November 7, 2007. National Public Health Week was in April 2008 and Healthy Holidays was in December 2008. It was used in IS195 from October through December of 2009, at LaGuardia from February to March 2010, and the School at Columbia from March to June 2010.
Picturevoice and Comicvoice are based on Photovoice, where researchers give cameras to people within a given population and ask them to take pictures that represent their views on a certain aspect of life. Photovoice has been found successful for use with marginalized populations in particular. Picturevoice achieves the same results as Photovoice using art in place of cameras; Comicvoice is a type of Picturevoice focusing on the use of comics. (Both concepts are my own creations.)
Comicvoice has several advantages over Photovoice: it greatly reduces costs (disposable cameras vs. pencils and paper) and the time a person has to invest into the study without sacrificing any of the data's validity. With Photovoice, people have to go to a familiar location, frame the image, and then take photos, which can take a lot of time and discourage some from taking part. With Comicvoice, the results are immediate: a person gets a pencil and paper and creates art on the spot. Theoretically, Comicvoice studies should have higher recruitment and retention rates thanks to this. Qualitatively, a camera can only show what's there, while artwork can reveal what's inside a person's mind, which for some studies is much more illuminating.
Comicvoice is being developed as part of the Create a Comic Project. Research into its design and implementation is currently underway. Preliminary results were presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) and the American Public Health Association's (APHA) 137th Annual Meeting, both in November 2009. Results were also presented at the Pop Culture Association national meeting in April 2010.
There are plans to begin a formal study of whether the CCP can enhance math education. I've already had experience using it in math classes with great success. I'm also working on various CCP Module activities on a variety of topics, including health care, economics, and US history.
For a more detailed look into the inner workings of the CCP, read the Create a Comic Project Blog.