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Pop Culture Classroom

The power behind Pop Culture Classroom stems from our personal experiences with the positive influence of comics and other pop culture media in our own lives. We envision individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

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Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults
Children (4-12 years)
Teachers
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

Brought to life through uniquely interdependent combination of words and pictures, graphic literature is a distinct narrative art form. Pre-K through adult educators see that graphic novels engage students across the entire ability and interest spectrum. It's an art form that deserves to be celebrated. It's time for the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. Comics and graphic novels are taking a leading role in driving the circulation of libraries, and students are reading them from pre-K through higher education, in every learning environment possible. And more today than ever before, readership and content accurately reflect society.

Pop Culture Classroom and Denver Comic Con are excited to host the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. Our Advisory Board and Juries are composed of diverse, experienced and informed professionals that span the publishing, library, and education industries. These team members will select the best in graphic literature through a clearly defined and transparent process.

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Evidence of Program's Success

This is the second year for Excellence in Graphic Literature awards. In 2019 we received 211 from 55 different publishers.

Last year we anticipated 100 submissions this year and received just shy of 250 submissions from major publishers to independent companies.

Experience the CoMix

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)
Teachers

Description

Experience the Comix was created through a partnership between Illegal Pete's and Pop Culture Classroom. Each year, tickets to Denver Comic Con-a program of Pop Culture Classroom-are given to middle and high school students with the goal of helping these students experience pop culture as a fun and engaging educational tool. Experience the Comix also teaches students about the many career paths that pop culture offers.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

This year almost 800 low income students were able to experience Denver Pop Culture Con.

Last year, over 250 low income children were able to experience Denver Comic Con allowing them to explore opportunities that would otherwise be afforded to them.

Colorful History

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
General population
Teachers

Description

Colorful History is a free, bi-weekly comic strip with the goal of educating students about significant and diverse characters and events from Colorado's history.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2017, Colorful History was downloaded 13,058 time from 45 different countries.

Comics Education Outreach

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Parents
Teachers

Description

Comics Education Outreach (CEO) is a program of Pop Culture Classroom that provides a means for teachers to incorporate comics and graphic novels into their classroom. We offer professional development, lesson guides, comic/graphic novel reviews, and the CEO Lending Library.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In 2018 we hosted 50 workshops impacting 651 students across the Denver Metro area.
We offered 52 outreach workshops at 45 different sites across the front range in 2017.

Denver Pop Culture Con

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
General Public
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Teachers

Description

By far PCC's largest and best-known program, Denver Comic Con is an annual three-day celebratory and educational event that surpassed 100,000 attendance in both 2015 and 2016. Many "Comic Con" type of events take place around the country and around the world, and nearly all of them are commercial ventures. Denver Comic Con is different because our nonprofit mission. Yes, it includes all the costumes, fan groups and celebrities that are part of the Comic Con culture. But DCC is more than a big pop culture party.
Unlike other major Comic Cons, we place special emphasis on family-friendly arts-related educational activities. These include the PCC Lab and the 8-Bit Lounge-areas for kids and teens with arts & crafts activities, drawing workshops and interactive Q&A sessions with creative professionals, including artists, writers, voice actors and game designers. Denver Comic Con also features "Artist Valley" where over 400 independent visual artists display and sell their original art. This commit to showcase both well-known and up-and-coming artists is unsurpassed among fan conventions nationwide.
Another unique feature of DCC is our emphasis on educational programming for adults. DCC features over 300 hours of panel discussions and workshops, on topics ranging from costume construction, parenting in a pop culture environment, diversity in comics and pop culture pedagogy.
DCC also features special programming and professional development workshops for teachers. These focus on how to use pop culture in the classroom to increase student engagement and improve literacy outcomes.
Finally, our "Experience The Comix" program brings 300 low income children to Denver Comic Con for free and provides a day of fun and educational activities to kids who otherwise would be unable to attend. In addition, Pop Culture Classroom donates several hundred more tickets to Denver Comic Con every year to nonprofits that work with at-risk and underserved youth.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Total children served 2018 - 2019 15,000 - 20,000 students served
Maintained total attendance 2018 - 2019 = close to 100,000
Increased total attendance: 2014=80,000; 2015=104,000; 2016=114,000; 2017=115,000
Gross ticket sales increased by approx. 50% from 2014 to 2016.
High level of attendee satisfaction: in post-DCC survey with approx. 4000 respondents, the average satisfaction ranking for 2015 and 2016 was 8 on 1-10 scale (with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest possible ranking). Asked if they would recommend DCC to others, 93% of respondents in 2015 and 96% of respondents in 2016 answered yes.

Game On!

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children ages 5 to 21
Teachers
At-Risk Populations
Families
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

Game On! Is a standards-based curriculum that offers students the chance to play, analyze, and create their very own tabletop games. After discussing how game components work together to make a game succeed or fail, students are asked to create a tabletop game of their own centered around a topic of the teacher's choosing.

Game On! is designed to be adaptable to all content areas, classrooms and student learning levels. Through the game creation process, students are able to tackle problems in their own lives or communities, interrogate choices they and others have made and probe difficult subjects in ways previously unavailable to them.

After completion, student games are then playtested by fellow students, who provide feedback for their peers, thus deepening their sense of community and allowing for the exploration of new ideas for gameplay.

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Evidence of Program's Success

On an anecdotal scale, our teachers say that their students are more engaged in the curriculum when this play-based programs is used. We are working on collecting more quantitative data evaluate the program more effectively.

Storytelling Through Comics

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Families
General Public
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Teachers

Description

Storytelling Through Comics (STC) is a standards-based curriculum that explores age-appropriate comic literature with the goals of igniting a love of learning and increasing literacy by using pop culture as an educational tool. In addition to promoting literacy and art skills, STC helps students acquire problem-solving abilities and build stronger in-class communities with their peers and teachers.

By focusing on complex topics and character development, the curriculum encourages students to tackle real-world problems happening in their own lives and local communities. After discussing how art and words work together to tell a story, students are then given the chance to create comics of their own.

Featuring a wide variety of unique, highly versatile drawing and literacy lessons, STC is perfect for students and educators of any artistic skill level and can been used in subject areas ranging from history to math to English-plus many more. It has been taught to thousands of students in schools, after-school programs, summer programs and public libraries throughout the Front Range and beyond.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Storytelling Through Comics was independently evaluated by Outcomes, Inc., a Colorado-based education evaluation firm whose clients include the Denver Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District. Their 2015 evaluation found that "A pre to post comparison of key literacy skills showed a statistically significant increase over the course of the STC curriculum implementation."

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