Wednesday, March 25, 2009

USING STUDENT-CREATED COMICS: AN ONLINE RESOURCE

When I went to the Graphica In Education (GIE) Conference earlier this year, I ran into Bill Zimmerman of MakeBeliefsComix. Thankfully, I impressed upon him the need to keep in contact with me, as he provides a wonderful online resource that teachers could use in the classroom.

MakeBeliefsComix is an online comic generator, allowing students to create their own comic stories. How can a teacher use this resource to support curriculum and assessment? It's amazingly easy. Here's one example of how I did it in a fifth grade class.

I developed a science Web Quest on biomes, which you are welcome to use assuming you give me the appropriate credit. The students were charged with acting as a consultant to Larry (of Larry's Lawn Chairs), by providing him with recommendations on where to move his business. Their recommendation and presentation is that on which they were assessed.

During communication arts, I transfered that information over and asked the students to create their very own comics. The connection to curriculum: the students had to include information about one of the biomes they studied, and demonstrate that learning into any of the five elements of fiction (character, setting, plot, theme and style). For instance, a student could not write about a butterfly in the tundra, but she could write about a caterpillar in the deciduous forrest. The student had to draw the proper flora and fauna that would appear in that biome.

This brings us back to MakeBeliefsComix. While this Web Quest did take place in an technology-based classroom (eMINTS) not all classrooms have this available; however, most schools do a have a computer lab that can be checked out. Thus, making it possible to incorporate technology into a traditional classroom and use Zimmerman's site to create those comics while connecting it all to curriculum and assessment.

Another wonderful component that Zimmerman just added includes printables, whereby comic pages are already pre-designed. Teachers can print the templates and students can fill in the dialogue/thought bubbles in class. This is especially handy for classrooms that are not technology-based. Teachers will undoubtedly find his 21 Ways to Use MakeBeliefsComix in the Classroom quite handy.

I'm creating a new heading in the sidebar to include sites where students can create their own comics. Click, read, design, and insert into your classroom.

3 comments:

Ben Villarreal said...

What a fantastic resource! Thanks for posting about it. Any idea why the "Create Comix" tab only takes me back to the homepage, though?

Jack said...

Fixed.

Ben Villarreal said...

Hmm...still not working. But I am on my office computer. I'll try again when I get home.