Fun Home 1

Welcome to Fun Home 1, your first lesson plan for Fun Home. You’ll be expected to finish this unit between Tuesday March 24 and Sunday March 29, when you’ll upload your “Fun Home 1 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio. We’re going to try and keep this nice and simple as we ease into the online thing.

We have three objectives for this lesson plan:

1. Understand basic questions about how memoir and nonfiction operate in the comics medium.

2. Connect those questions to the subjects of gender and sexuality, including gender studies and queer theory.

3. Apply both of those to Fun Home in order to understand Bechdel as an author, Bechdel as a character, her father, and their relationship.

Let’s look at the steps and activities you’ll complete:

  • Day 1 (begin Tues March 24)

    1. Listen to “FH 1 Introduction” (audio file)

    2. Do the “Square Triangle Circle” activity

    3. Re-read “Gender Studies and Queer Theory” on Purdue OWL

    4. Listen to “FH 1: Memoir Comics” (audio file)

    5. Answer a critical question. This begins your Weekly Journal document.

    6. Develop your own critical question (using those questions on OWL). This is for the forum activity on Day 2

  • Day 2 (Thurs March 26)

    Post your critical question to the Forum on GoStudio and respond to at least three questions posed by your peers.

  • Final Step (Sun March 29)

    Upload your “Fun Home 1 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio.

Let’s get started….

Day 1 (Tues March 24)

Step One. “FH1 Introduction.” Listen to my audio introduction below. This provides a brief overview of how we’ll approach the class, major questions we’ll ask, and gets us started in our discussion of Fun Home. Below the audio file I’ve uploaded the script for this introduction if you’d like to save it for your notes.

“Fun Home Introduction” (audio)

STEP TWO. “Square Triangle Circle Activity.” You can do this activity in one of two ways. I’ve included both in case you can’t access a Word file or edit a PDF file.

Option 1: On a sheet of paper or your tablet, draw a big square in the top third of the page, a triangle in the middle third of the page, and a circle in final third. Make sure the shapes take up most of the page. Label the square “Something about Fun Home that squares with my beliefs.” Label the triangle “Three points to remember about Fun Home.” Label the circle “A question circling in my mind about Fun Home.” Now respond to each prompt in any way you wish. You can write in the shapes, outside the shapes; you can sketch and get creative with it. This is just a brainstorming activity. Make sure you save this as a JPEG or PDF; you’ll need it for your Weekly Journal.

Option 2: If you have Microsoft Word or Acrobat Reader, download one of the versions below. (You can also refer to this even if you’re doing Option 1.) Make sure you save this document; you’ll need it for your Weekly Journal.

STEP THREE. Review the Purdue OWL’s “Gender Studies and Queer Theory” page here. Pay special attention to the “Typical Questions” section. Keep this tab open as you’ll need to return to it momentarily.

STEP FOUR. “FH 1: Memoir Comics.” Listen to the audio file below. Here I get into a little more detail about memoir comics, where Fun Home fits into the genre, and some questions we need to be asking about the text. Below the audio file I’ve uploaded the script for this introduction if you’d like to save it for your notes.

You might enjoy watching this brief interview with Bechdel. We’ll explore some other interviews next week.

STEP FIVE. Now we’re going to begin your Weekly Journal document for this lesson plan. Create a Word document (or alternative, but you have to be able to save it as a Word doc or PDF!) and save it as “FH 1 Weekly Journal_YOUR LAST NAME HERE.” Put that title and your name at the top.

Once you’ve done that, title the first entry “Critical Question 1” and copy this question into the document:

Critical Question 1: What was the significance of literature for Alison Bechdel’s father, and what, if anything, does it have to do with Bechdel referring to him in Chapter 1 as an “artificer”?

Then respond to the question. I’m not concerned about length or word count. Just spend some time on it.

STEP SIX. Now you’re going to write your own critical questions about Fun Home. Write them into the Weekly Journal. Brainstorm at least three using the “Square Triangle Circle” activity, the Gender Studies and Queer Theory page (which gives you lots of examples you can tweak and apply to Bechdel’s book), and all the other materials you’ve listened to and read so far. Use the question above as an example of what I’m looking for.

Now choose one of your questions and revise/edit it. This is the question you’ll be sharing Thursday in the forum on GoStudio.

You’re done for today!


Day 2 (Thurs March 26)

Today you’ll need to access GoStudio at 3:30pm. Post your critical question to the Forum in this week’s section by starting a new thread/discussion topic. Once you’ve done that, hang out and respond to at least three questions posed by your peers. I will be posting as well.

If you are unable to make the forum at this time, don’t worry. Just make sure you post your critical question and respond to at least three questions. You’ll need this for your Weekly Journal. If you have any technical difficulties, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me. Refer to the Revised Syllabus for my contact info.

Read the requirements for the Weekly Journal below so you know what to be working on between now and Sunday.


Final Step (Sunday March 29)

Today you’ll need to upload your Fun Home 1 Weekly Journal. Here’s what it needs to include:

  1. Critical Question 1 and your response to it.
  2. Your Critical Questions, indicating which you posted in the forum.
  3. NEW: Write a brief reaction to the forum experience/discussion, noting which of your peers’ questions you responded to, how people responded to your question, how the discussions went, and what you learned about Fun Home. Do you have any new questions or thoughts we should explore? Think of this as a reflection on the entire lesson plan in a journal format. This doesn’t need to be more than half a page long.
  4. NEW: Respond to the following question: How can a memoir comic change readers’ minds about the past, present, or future? Can it? What is the value of a personal story like Bechdel’s in our society?
  5. Finally, insert your “Square Triangle Circle” activity, either by pasting it in or inserting a JPEG. If you snap a picture of it with your phone and slap it in there, I’m cool with that.

Upload this to the GoStudio dropbox in the weekly section.

You’re done! You can proceed to Fun Home 2 or wait until Tuesday!