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April 4, 2024

Breaking Down Literacy Barriers with Cool School Comics (+ Free Earth Day Lesson Plan)

Picture this, you’re seated on an airplane, ready for takeoff, and the flight attendant has just started the safety briefing. You reach for the trifold on emergency evacuation procedures, and in addition to text that matches the flight attendant’s speech, you’ll probably see a few illustrations like the one below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Now let’s imagine a classroom in Cleveland, where an elementary teacher is about to teach a science lesson with the materials on hand. The material on hand is a standard science textbook, with mostly words and few illustrations or images.

In many classrooms, including those in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), a significant portion of students require special education services or are English language learners, and a large percentage struggle with reading at a basic level. When faced with traditional teaching materials like dense textbooks, struggling readers are likely to shut down, and those who try to keep up often fall behind their classmates.

As an educator with over 15 years of experience, Laura Balliett understands these challenges firsthand. Despite efforts to make science engaging through hands-on activities, her students continue to struggle due to literacy barriers. That is until Laura introduced Cool School Comics.

Cool School Comics

Cool School Comics is more than just a comic; it’s a powerful learning tool designed to make scientific concepts accessible to all students. These one-page infographics, accompanied by worksheets, guided notes, and interactive activities, are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and presented in a format that students find engaging.

Laura created Cool School Comics out of necessity, driven by the desire to help her students succeed. When traditional teaching methods failed to resonate, these comics broke through the barriers. Students who previously struggled with reading or shut down when they saw a wall of words in a textbook began engaging with the content and felt capable of understanding complex scientific concepts for the first time.

Just like airlines use visual aids to communicate safety procedures effectively, Cool School Comics presents information in a format that students can connect with; improving retention, engagement, and ultimately, academic success!

Bring Cool School Comics to Your Classroom

Cool School Comics are easy to use and provide everything needed for a comprehensive lesson. In addition to the main infographic, each Cool School Comic comes with guided notes, Doodle notes, hands-on activities, follow-up assignments, and a template for students to design their own science comic.

Let’s make science accessible for every student! Try out Cool School Comics in your classroom with this free Earth Day lesson plan.

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