Why use comics?

I have been looking a different ways for Year 8 students to present some work at the end of the year. It is going to be part of an “Immersion week” of activities. Students will undertake various tasks that they will work on for the day. Different faculties are working on a range of topics for their areas and some are undertaking cross-curricular work. The Personal Development  teacher came up with an idea for her area. The option is called “Summer Fun” and the idea is for students to come up with suggestions for activities that could be enjoyed by other teenagers during the holidays.

AIM: 

  • To have students research what activities are available in the Manningham/Whitehorse C C over the summer holidays. 
  • To have them suggest interesting, worthwhile, inexpensive activities to keep young people active during the summer.
  • To have them research the ‘dangers’ which young people could encounter during the summer.
  • The final product they come up with may take the format of a pdf of a brochure; or digital poster using glogster; or website; or comic format –  advertising safe, interesting activities for young people for the summer.

Comic life  is one option that has been used by a number of classroom teachers this year. It is a great tool. This may be a good tool for students to use for their entire final piece or as an instructional part of the overall work. There are  numerous examples of the creative use comics to tell a story, explain a concept, etc.

However just the other evening I again heard other teachers discussing various digital tools and it was clear that they are still not sure about the benefits of using many such tools and comics are not considered highly. 

Comic Life is not free tool but there are plenty of free sites that can be used as well as . They are many and varied in their level of difficulty and how the final product looks and is shared. Some tools for creating cartoons and comic strips are here.

The following slide show by S. Hendy offers a good explanation of the benefits. This might be a good way explain how/why comic strips might be used in classrooms. She also has some other good slide shows worth looking at on SlideShare.

Another useful site those that offer a number of rubrics the teachers have shared that might be a useful for teachers just beginning. One that I found useful in another context was ReadWriteThink: Lesson Plan: Book Report Alternative: Comic Strips and Cartoon Squares  A website for teachers to use in lieu of writing a book report, students create comic strips to illustrate facts. Includes a template.

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