Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Using Comics in the Classroom

We blogged about MakeBeliefsComix 2 years ago (Read that post here). MakeBeliefsComix is a comic strip generator is extremely simple to use. They also have a page that suggests how teachers can incorporate the use of comics in their classrooms.

1. At the beginning of each new school year have students create a comic strip talking about
themselves and their families or summarizing the most important things about their lives. Let each student select a cartoon character as a surrogate to represent her or him. After students complete their strips, encourage them to exchange their comics with classmates to learn more about each other. Students can also create strips that summarize what their individual interests to help a teacher to learn more abo
ut them.

2. Have students create a comic strip story using new vocabulary words that are being taught. Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon characters also helps students practice conversation and language structure in a meaningful context.

3. Have students break up into pairs or group teams to create their comic strips together. This approach encourages teamwork and cooperation, with students complementing the skills of their colleagues. The site also provides a structure for students to work individually as they create their own cartoon worlds using their imaginations. Look upon the site as a resource for literacy development and to reach out to engage reluctant writers and readers.

4. Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon characters helps students practice conversation and offers a way to practice language structure and vocabulary in a meaningful context.

5. Create comic scenarios, scripts, or stories for autistic students as a way to teach them different kinds of social behavior and to read emotions by observing the faces of the different characters selected for the cartoons. Says one teacher who works with high-functioning students with autism, "I used the comic strips to create social stories focusing on behaviors we want to modify." Creating cartoons in which the characters speak for the creator also provides a way to help autistic and deaf students to communicate.
You can view all the ideas and suggestions here. Do you use comics in your classroom? If you have any tips to share with other educators, please post a comment at the end of this post and let us know.

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