Friday, January 29, 2010

Digital Comic Strips

This was something I'd had students do for YEARS. I'd drag out the ancient markers and copy paper and have students draw out a scene from our reading. Despite my students being high schoolers, I always got stick figures floating around in white space. It was a good assignment in theory.

There are lots of sites where students can create digital comic books, graphic novels and the like. Two which I've used before are Bubblr and Pixton. Each have a free version you can use, but Pixton also has a space just for educators which has a very small subscription fee. Both have a lot to offer, and do basically the same thing. Depending on your students, one may be more appealing than the other. For instance, Bubblr uses images from Flickr which may or may not be an issue with your school or grade level. When I used this in my satire unit, I presented both sites and let my students choose which one they wanted to use.

How can you use these sites in your classroom?

1. Have students satirize a serious theme or topic from your class content.

2. Have students summarize plot lines through comic strips. This is a nice way to check for understanding.

3. Have your writing students become "cartoonists" with a stock set of characters and a weekly deadline for new strips.

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