Japan – Lesson 6, 7 – How is a Manga Book Written

Rebecca Smith, Art Instructor, Williamsburg High School, Williamsburg, Pa

Grade Level: 7

Duration: Two-Three Classroom Periods


The objective of this lesson is to teach the students about the art of manga, the physical layout of the book, and the outline of the basic story and characters.

PLN strategies used: active note taking, thumbs up, 3 most important facts, jigsaw word wall

PA Art Standards

9.2.B: Chronology of Works in the Arts

9.2.C: Styles and Genre in the Arts

9.2.D: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

9.2.E: Historical and Cultural Impact on Works in the Arts

9.2.F: Vocabulary for Historical and Cultural Context

9.1.C: Vocabulary Within each Art Form

9.1.D: Styles in Production, Performance and Exhibition

9.1.E: Themes in Art Forms


  • Manga graphic novels, we have a good collection in our library
  • Handouts about manga characters (Must be provided by Instructor), I used the book Manga Madness by David Okum 
  • Manga detective sheet handout
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Sharpies
  • Poster board
  • Tape

Procedures day one: physical layout of a manga book

  1. Before: 10 minutes. Go to library with students. We have a good collection of manga books. Have students pick out a book and sit down at a table of 4 students. Have students look at the books and talk to each other about what is inside
  2. During: 25 minutes. Hand out on manga detective search. This is an active note taking activity in which the students are required to find out specific information about the book.
  3. After: 5 minutes. Ticket out the door: hand in manga detective sheet.


This lesson uses the language, meaning, social and human lens. Students are required to answer questions about the book about its structure and characters, and share this information with their peers. This Collins type 2 activity promotes learning about learning because the students have to learn how to read a manga book and share this information with each other.

Procedures day two: Characters in a manga book

  1. Before: 5 minutes. Handout packet of manga characters. Have students glance through the pages, and ask them to decide if they would be a good guy or a bad guy in a comic book. Thumbs up for good guy, thumbs down for bad guy. Ask each student to pick a character to study, make a list – each student must pick a different character.
  2. During: 25 minutes. 3 most important facts card: Students will trace a picture of the character they have chosen. The students will write the name of the character at the top of the card, include the traced image, and write the 3 most important facts about that character. The students will color the character with markers and outline with sharpie.
  3. After: 5 minutes. Ticket out the door: Name an American cartoon character that is a good guy.


The jigsaw activity in this lesson is a good way to cover a lot of information in a short time. All students look at the handout, but pick one character to focus on. Several paragraphs of information are included with the drawing of each character, so the students have to read and text render to decide on the three most important facts about each character. This is a Collins type 2 activity. The students enjoy this activity because it is quick, easy, and informative.