Fotonovelas have been widely used for educational purposes, often with the goal of bringing a public health message “to the masses.” The comic book form is easily accessible and associated with fun, the text is simple, and the lesson is embedded in a melodramatic story. All of these qualities lend fotonovelas to creative uses in the classroom as well, with applications across the curriculum and appeal to a wide range of students.
View the video to learn more about a fotonovela from the Spanish presenter. Then, download the English and/or Spanish episodes from La Ropa Sucia.
Educators, download the La Ropa Sucia: a fotonovela Lesson Plan from LearningWhy.org
About La Ropa Sucia
La Ropa Sucia was created using Comic Life software: http://www.comiclife.com/. While we are not in the business of promoting products, we were impressed with Comic Life and found it easy to use. The website offers educational discounts and multiple-seat pricing. It also has an Educational Resources section which contains lots of information and links, including one to a user forum (Comic Life Education Community - http://plasq.com/forum/edu/ ) and sources for access to copyright-free images. The article at this link cites numerous uses of Comic Life projects in diverse subject areas and grades - http://www.educcomp.co.nz/ftp/Comic_Life_in_Education.pdf.
Another software package that has been recommended is Comic Creator:
The Comic Creator invites students to compose their own comic strips for a variety of contexts (prewriting, pre- and post-reading activities, response to literature, and so on). The organizers focus on the key elements of comic strips by allowing students to choose backgrounds, characters, and props, as well as to compose related dialogue (shown at left). This versatile tool can be used by students from kindergarten through high school, for purposes ranging from learning to write dialogue to an in-depth study of a formerly neglected genre. The tool is easy to use, made even easier with the Comic Strip Planning Sheet, a printable PDF that comic creators can use to draft and revise their work before creating and printing their final comics. After completing their comic, students have the ability to print out and illustrate their final versions for feedback and assessment.
South Carolina Standards
As a media form, the fotonovela is an excellent way to teach aspects of the media arts, and meets many of the South Carolina Academic Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts: Media Arts. At the high school level these might include:
MAHS1.2 - Use a variety of media technologies, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas.
MAHS 2.2 - Create media artwork that communicates his or her experiences and reflects an analysis of social or community issues.
MAHS 2.4 - Apply elements of artistic design specific to individual media.
MAHS 3.1 - Demonstrate the ways in which a variety of media texts address their intended purpose and audience.
MAHS 3.2 - Create messages using media texts.
MAHS 4.1 - Demonstrate the ways that the media arts relate to everyday life and activities in the world at large.
MAHS 5.3 - Analyze and describe characteristics of the media arts that exist across time and among diverse cultural and ethnic groups.