"Zines...challenge the easily digestible mainstream media. They can open students' eyes to other outlets for information, showing alternate sources and forcing students to see how the accessible information that is often just taken for fact also has origins and agendas." - Amy Wan, "Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom."
Zines and other alternative and underground publications can be used as teaching tools for learners from kindergarten to college. There are zines on just about any topic you can think of, from feminism to sports to politics to cooking. When choosing zines for use in your classroom, think carefully about your student's reading level and the subject matter of the zine. Let students explore zines and their history, and you can teach just about anything, including: English Language Arts, Media Literacy, Art, Social Science and History and even Math and Science!
The following lesson plans were developed for three different levels of ability, but each lesson plan could be used in any classroom with the appropriate modifications. Select the lesson plan that best fits your students, or download all three and create your own unit to suit your needs. Each lesson plan was originally developed by Melissa L. Jones, MS Ed, MS LIS, based on her expertise as a public school educator.
Lesson A - What is a zine? What is the value of protest?
Content Areas: English Language Arts, Information Literacy
Level: Intermediate, Grades 7-9
Lesson B - Why zines? How can those outside the mainstream get their voices heard?
Content Areas: Media Literacy, Information Literacy
Level: Secondary, Grades 10-12
Lesson C - How do systems of power repress voices of dissent?
Content Areas: English, History, Political Science, Information Literacy
Level: 12th Grade or Early College
Zines and Library Instruction by Nicole Pagowsky
A great lesson plan aimed at first year college students learning about research, and who probably haven't had much exposure to blogs or zines, and allows students to get familiar with databases and self-publishing.
Teaching with Zines by Melissa Jones
A powerpoint [now pdf] by former Barnard Zine Intern Melissa Jones on how using special collections for educational purposes adds to their value.
Content on this page has been reproduced with permission from Barnard Zine Library's Zine Research and Teaching page. For more about Barnard's zine collection and services visit them online at zines.barnard.edu.
Block, Francesca Lia and Hillary Carlip. Zine Scene: the Do it Yourself Guide to Zines. Lost Angeles, CA: Girl Press, 1998.
Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from the Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture. Verso, 1997.
Watson, Esther Pearl and Mark Todd. Whatcha Mean What's a Zine? Graphia, 2006.
Bott, Christie. "Zines - The Ultimate Creative Writing Project," English Journal, 92, no. 2 (2002): 27-33.
Congdon, Kristin G. and Doug Blandy. "Using Zines to Teach about Postmodernism and the Communication of Ideas." Art Education. (May 2003).
Daly, Brenda O. "Taking whiteness personally: Learning to teach testimonial reading and writing in the college literature classroom." Pedagogy. vol 5 no. 2 (Spring 2005): p 213-246.
Guzzetti, Barbara J. "Zines for social justice: Adolescent girls writing on their own." Reading Research Quarterly. 39, no. 4 (2004): 408-36.
Sellie, Alycia and Kate Vo Thi-Beard. "Using Zines to Encourage Multiple Literacies," Wisconsin English Journal. v. 47, n. 2. (Fall 2005): 27-33.
Wan, Amy J. "Not Just for Kids Anymore: Using Zines in the Classroom." Radical Teacher. April 30th, 1999.
Freedman, Jenna. DIY Publications and Media Literacy: Zines in the Classroom. Symposium on Media Literacy in Education Conference. Bowling Green, OH. June 2005.
Holdaway, Matt. "A Student's Guide on Zines and Tips on How to Make One."
Williamson, Judith. "Engaging Resistant Writers Through Zines in the Classroom." The Zine and E-Zine Resource Guide. 1994.
Wright, Fred. "The History and Characteristics of Zines." The Zine and E-Zine Resource Guide. 1997.