‘Comical’ Monomyths

SUPER MAHEKWhen it was time for HSE Junior High’s Jeff Libey to teach the monomyth, aka, the ‘Hero’s Journey’, to his seventh grade English composition students last year, he didn’t even consider mere lecture. This key story structure, integral to much of classic and modern literature, begged for an interactive project–an activity in which the students could demonstrate understanding by constructing a narrative of their own. Libey’s answer: the monomyth comic book! This 2013 project was so successful that Mr. Libey recently encored it with this year’s seventh graders.

IMG_1531When HSE21 Shorts visited HSEJH last week, Libey had just finished covering introductory material–the Hero’s Journey cycle–with his students, and had shown examples of the hero’s journey in film and text. Then it was the students’ turn to show what they’d learned: HSE21 Shorts followed along as each student storyboarded their own monomyth, i.e., wrote the tale of a hero’s journey. Students acted out and photographed (with iPads and smartphones) their monomyths , and then edited the photos (comic-y filters!). Next would come layout and the addition of text, then peer-to-peer sharing to locate  hero’s journey elements in classmates’ myths.

Interacting with new concepts through creation and presentation aids in deep learning. Jeff Libey’s students will remember this creative and fun class project for years to come–even more, they’ll remember the Hero’s Journey cycle and recognize it as they approach literature in the future.

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