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Comics In The Classroom: Teaching Democracy

​The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey finds that only 26% of Americans can name all three branches of government. The Mikva Challenge and The Center for Cartoon Studies, two non-profit organizations, are teaming up to increase that number.

This is What Democracy Looks Like​: ​A Graphic Guide to Governance​ is a 32-page comic book that will be distributed to classrooms in Detroit, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee and more this fall. This comic book is the result of a collaboration of educators and word-class cartoonists, and is designed to help teachers who are working hard to prepare students to be empowered, informed, and civic-minded.

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At each school, CCS instructors will give away comics and work with teachers to help students gain a deeper understanding of how their government works (and doesn't work) and how they can make a difference in their communities and beyond.

"Comics can engage and inform even the most reluctant of readers," says cartoonist and CCS director James Sturm, "and there's a growing hunger for more civics education and this democracy comic meets that need."

Mikva introduced the comic to the 200 teachers who attended their Action Civics Summer Institute this past July, and connected their teacher network with CCS for this tour.

"As a fun and accessible classroom resource this comic supports students in understanding our democracy and their power to participate in it. The teachers loved it." says Jill Bass, Mikva Challenge's chief education officer.

The tour will start in late September when Sturm and cartoonist Coco Fox will be joined by members of the Mikva team to help students understand what democracy looks like - and how they can be active, informed participants.

"I'm so inspired by the work that Mikva does and am excited to see the power of cartooning enhance their educational efforts," says CCS president Michelle Ollie.

Artists will be visiting classrooms in Chicago on October 3 and 4.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on September 24, 2019


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