StellaCon showcases original graphic novels

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Graphic novels featured at StellaCon.20 September 2019

Year 5 students from Stella Maris School, Beaumaris, held ‘StellaCon’ this week to celebrate their love of graphic novels and share their learning with the school community.

The high-energy convention showcased the end product of each student’s original graphic novel, and walked visitors through the intricacies involved in planning and developing texts in the genre.

The enthusiasm and commitment of the students was contagious, and had not waned from the start of term, according to Year 5 teacher Kellie Barnhoorn. ‘We had to start a borrowing system that limited time with graphic novels because so many students wanted to read them. I even had to tell students to close their books so we could begin class. I’ve never had to say that before!’

StellaCon was designed and hosted by the Year 5 students. They produced hands-on activities, workshops, decorations and games to show all that they had learned, and to give attendees the opportunity to explore the visual and textual conventions of graphic novels. Even international techniques in graphic narrative were covered. One booth displayed cartoon characters of the school’s 35 teachers using manga’s chibi style and invited visitors to guess who was who.

StellaCon evolved from the ongoing literacy work that Stella Maris School has completed with Monash University through the university’s Linking into Literacies project.

‘We’ve found that graphic novels are a great leveller in the classroom and offer learning opportunities for all students. They are flexible and can be used to explore any area of the curriculum as well as act as a bridge to texts that are not yet in reach for some learners’, said the school’s literacy leader Helena Graham.

Much to the delight of the Year 4 students, plans are already underway for StellaCon 2020.