Have you used Comic Creator with your students? If so, what grade(s) do you teach? What’s your lesson plan like? What do you usually have students focus on when creating their comics? What do you like about the tool? What do you wish could be changed?
I found a wealth of quantitative research supporting the use of comic supplements to learning content across the curriculum in 2001. However, their were no educational programs available to develop these supplements. I collected multiple fonts (many sets were purchased) and purchased character creation software programs from academic software providers. It became so expensive, while remaining unsupported by administrators at the PK-12 level and compromised so much time I finally abandon the idea. Yet, the research continues to demonstrate its effectiveness. What a gift this collective program is to those educators who dared not attempt the DIY method or Do It Yourself.
I have not yet used the comic creator but I have used templates for students to create comic strips. As a follow up to main idea and details I challenged them to create a comic strip that used the same main idea and details as one of the story we read in the unit we had finished. They needed to create new characters and a new story but use the main idea of one of the stories to show they understood the main idea and could transfer it to an original story. Since we uses the inclussion model with our learning support students I created partners to unsure success and not frustration.
Thanks for sharing your use of comic strips to reinforce the concepts of main idea and details. I'd love to see a few examples. If you have permission to share students' work, it would be great if you could tell us about one of the stories you read and a few of the resulting comics.
Many thanks for sharing your work,
Hi....I am not currently using comic creator but plan to use with our World Language students to help with conversational French and Spanish. The program is so easy to use that they can quickly create comics to share with others to check for correct syntax, spelling, and word choice. Will be a great think/pair/share activity. Thanks for sharing this learning tool. Debbie
Did you know that "There's almost no plain bold in comics dialogue. Typically, bold/italic is used when emphasis is placed on a word"? That's just one of the guidelines I recently found in a useful resource on the grammar of comics.
Take a look at Blambot's Comic Book Grammar and Tradition for some interesting details you can talk about as students use comics in the classroom.
Though I thought "Wow!" to myself and I wanted to use comic creator right then, I struggled with how to integrate it into lesson plans without it seeming just an extra activity. 9th grade - 5 days + homeworks
I began by collecting different newspaper cartoons from as many different newspapers as I could amass. This also gave me opportunity to collect and study the editorial catoons. I used the editorial /political cartoons to teach:
> the different applications and methods of cartooning
> the application of inference (what were the cartoons themselves, not just the characters and dialogue really
> the use and development of physical charicatures (Bush and Obama sure made it easy),
the various uses of suggestion (implied and explicit),
> symbolism - solid and abstract
> dialogue (especially how each new speaker receives a new line [balloon] with which to speak)
The next day, after passing out a page of cartoons to each student and allowed them to look at their pages - even exchange them for a few minutes first, I seguied from the different types of cartoons into an introduction to the multitude of different types of media and a brainstorming of the different avenues of media. We filled the boards in the room, and they were astonished at the mass amount of different media without realizing what they were really doing. We then went back to the cartoons and they were to journal the message of a selected cartoon, looking for any underlying messages.
We spent the third day explaining the computer program and allowing them to produce some quick cartoons in the lab. Their biggest problem was what will the characters say? I left that in their laps for the day - just for fun and for the examples the activity produced.
Our next class opened with a talk on the script for the cartoon. They were aware from the previous day that there had to be a plan. The script was there plan. (Ahem, script = outline when planning a paper). I turned from there to a session on the use of dialogue in cartoons. We had discussed dialogue while using a short story with heavy dialogue and multiple characters. The cartoon allowed the emphasis of each new character receiving a new line by the use of new balloons for each line of dialogue. This was easy to exemplify in this fashion because if you used only one balloon for every speaker in the panel, the reader would never realize the speaker had changed. This lesson underlined the mini-lesson from three days before. Homework was the outline. Homework was also the key into the computer lab for each student.
We spent another day devising the cartoons from the outlines. First however, we spent time reviewing the terms printables so they could exemplify their dialogue. Now they had used the program for two days and were familiar enough with it to finish it at home for homework. And the now knew how to "voice" the their characters.
On the morrow, we assessed the week's activities in the daily journals before talking about coloration. Students were allowed to finish the cartoons for homework and after assessment, I collaged the group on the walls outside the classroom.
THe best part was listening to the students explain the process to other students, and, at the same time, was hearing them talk about how much they enjoyed it. ....
David Thomas, Secondary English teacher - Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School - Hollister, NC
David - What a great way to use the Comic Creator tool and look at comics in general! Thank you so much for sharing. If you are interested, we pay educators in the field for their lesson plan and teaching ideas. If you would like more information, please let me know. And thanks again for sharing!
I've used Comic Creator with younger grades (4/5) but I find it doesn't have the flexibility of other comic sites. I prefer MakeBeliefsComix!- there are more options both for backgrounds and characters.Those are both features I find missing in CC.