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917 "C" Street
San Rafael, California 94901
(415) 457-4878

Storytelling with Comics

Here are comic strips created by second graders.

Here are comic strips created by second graders. They did very well creating  interesting characters.

Mentor Artist Cathy Bowman shares her thoughts on teaching comics.

Want Cathy to engage your students in storytelling and visual thinking through comics? Contact Suzanne at Youth in Arts–415-457-4878 ext. 120 or

Drawing cartoons and comics is a great way to tell a story. I begin by teaching the basics – how to move action from left to right, how to use speech bubbles, and when to draw a closeup image or one that is far away. I encourage kids to think like film directors. What image works best to engage the viewer? Which events need to be shown with pictures and which ones can be imagined by the reader? What makes a drawing funny, mysterious or dramatic? Why are flawed characters more interesting than “perfect” ones?

Students start with two characters. Together we discuss plot development and storyboard layout. Longer workshops allow time for students to develop mini-comics with cover art.

Two pages of a wonderful mini-comic created by a coffee-loving student!

Two pages of a wonderful comic book created by a coffee-loving student!

Here's a mini-comic I wrote and illustrated.

Here’s a mini-comic I wrote and illustrated.

Parent Training in Castro Valley

Suzanne Joyal and Nydia Gonzalez travelled to Castro Valley to offer a hands-on workshop to parents of the Castro Valley Parents Cooperative Preschool. The one-hour workshop introduced parents to a multitude of strategies to introduce preschoolers to art.

We both arrived wearing our FAVORITE piece of preschool jewelry: the mini-harmonica is always a hit!

We asked the question “How do we use our senses when we create?” and then explored first-hand techniques to help children experiment and explore this fundamental question.
Parents were able to create Sticky Texture Collages using contact paper, many different shapes and textures of fabric, special crayons to draw on all different textures, and magic gold.
We created a Word Wall of all of the wonderful ideas we explored: sticky, smooth, shiny, furry, scratchy, etc. Nydia introduced music and movement when she asked “How does Scratchy SOUND?” “How do we does bumpy look when we move?”

“Kind of Blue” Professional Development

Professional development at Willow Creek Academy

Teachers enjoy a great collaborative painting session.

At Willow Creek-Professional Development gets creative!

Teachers enjoy a creative painting project giving them tools and skills for future classroom beautification projects. Teachers were grouped by grade levels asked to come up with a phrase or slogan, brainstorm & sketch ideas, then given materials and a basic banner.sign and painting lesson. Great upful positive energy!

Professional development

Teachers working it out!

Artist Dinner

The arts are not something to add to the plate.

The arts ARE the plate.

The key to student engagement.

And communicating what student know and can do.

– Dr. Milton Chen, Edutopia

Recently the Youth in Arts Mentor Artists came together for our yearly September orientation and dinner. It was an evening filled with passionate discussions about why arts education matters and the impact it can have on students, schools, and communities.

These professional artists represent a wide array of backgrounds, talents, and disciplines. During the orientation the artists go to know each other through hands-on experiences that incorporated music, dance, theater, and visual arts. As a group they discussed strategies for building multiple learning modalities into their school residencies. They also investigated the language of state standards and considered how the arts overlap all content areas. To get to know our Mentor Artists, please browse the Youth in Arts website.

Do you doodle, tap your fingers, hum a tune? How do you learn?

Representing the Judge!

This past weekend Youth in Arts Executive Director Miko Lee joined Sabrina Klein ED of Teaching Artist Organized and Lilia Aguero from Young Audiences Northern CA to lead a workshop for artists on “Teaching to the Ways People Learn: Multiple Intelligences as a Strategy for Arts Integration in Culturally Diverse Classrooms.”

Sixteen artists joined for a day of exploration, creativity and fun.  Artist went to 9 different origami stations to experiment with different learning styles based upon Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory.

Want to try and fold an origami whale by listening to a song created by Nydia Gonzalez.  Try out your musical paper folding skills with the OrigamiSong.

Check out the photo gallery for more activities including an adaptation of the Lakota Medicine Wheel.

Look like fun?  More Teaching Artist Organized workshops coming up soon!

The Warrior!

Where's the Deer?

Warm Up

Photosynthesis For Elementary Students

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