Daily Comics Discussion


I’m going to guess that for most (all?) of us, reading comics strips for a class will feel strange. I suspect we will alternate between two different experiences while reading:

  • We’ll say, “Wow. That comic only took 10 seconds to read. Woot!” And we’ll move on to the next one. Within 10 minutes we’ll have read the whole assignment and feel pretty good about the choices we’ve made in picking classes this semester.
  • We’ll say, “Wait a minute. This is for a class. In college. That obviously means there’s something more going on here. So, what on earth did that comic strip mean? I mean, mean mean. And why on earth are they called comics if they aren’t really all that, y’know, funny? Am I just stupid? Rats!” Then we’ll feel bad, proceed to rinse-and-repeat for 3 hours, and come to class feeling like a triple-decker hot fudge sundae of self-doubt and Peanuts-loathing.

This assignment hopes to short-circuit the first and give us strategies and opportunities to talk ourselves down from the second.

Nitty Gritty

For each day that we are reading Schulz’s comic strips in class, you will be responsible for leading a short discussion on two comic strips. This does not mean that you need to become an expert on them or have the most awesomest things™ to say ever. Rather, you will come up with a few questions that you believe can guide our conversation about those two strips.

Claim Your Strips

To ensure that we do not have overlap, you will claim two strips for each day’s discussion. Stake your claim by adding a reply to the day’s discussion on Learning Suite’s Digital Dialog. Add the dates of your strips and link them to the appropriate Go Comics URL for the comic, which is formatted https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/YYYY/MM/DD. (Notice that Schulz almost always writes the dates of his strips in the corner of one of his panels.) You can grab your strips as early as you’d like, but no later than 11 am on the day of the class discussion.

Please note again that you do not need to choose strips that you think you understand (although that’s certainly an option). You can do just as well on this assignment if you choose comics that have left you baffled. In a way, you’re acting as a curator who has decided that particular strips in the day’s reading must be talked about during class, even if you only want to force the rest of us to talk about them.

Prep Your Strips

Prepare to lead the short discussion on your strips by composing at least two questions and posting them to Learning Suite’s Digital Dialog. These questions can cover any aspect of the strips, including their relation to the comics that surround them. Remember that good discussion questions normally cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Try for questions that begin with “What,” “Why,” or “How.” You can have one question for each strip or questions that link the strips together. If you want to claim your strips before you’ve thought of questions, you can come back and edit your reply on Learning Suite. The questions must be posted no later than 11 am on the day of class.

Discuss Your Strips

In class, you will lead a short discussion about your strips, anchored by your questions. You should anticipate having the reins of the class for around five minutes. You might start by talking about why you picked the strips that you did, or you might launch right into a question.

Five minutes might sound like a long time. But honestly, one good question can easily put you beyond that mark. You might not even get to your second strip. That’s okay.

Please note the pedagogical aim of this assignment: a good discussion normally features more talking from the participants than from the person leading it. This means, again, that you really do not need to know everything about the strips. You just need to be able to ask a question or three that will get us talking productively.


We are scheduled to read Peanuts on nine days throughout the semester, and this assignment as a whole is worth 100 points. That means that each day is worth 11.11 points. That said, I’ve made things simpler in Learning Suite by giving each day’s discussion a value of 10 points and scaling it. You will be graded on

  • your timeliness in claiming your comics for discussion (2)
  • the quality of your questions (4)
  • your work leading the class (4) 


This assignment was originally designed in Winter 2019 and focused on poetry. It worked so well that I decided to adapt it in 2020 for Peanuts, and I revised it in important ways in 2021. I’m always thankful for Sarah Aloe Peterson, who really helped me through teaching my first all-poetry class.