Comics for Learning

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 9.13.56 PMRecently added to the Survival Tips for Teachers!

At a young age, I was interested in comic books, which was really how I learnt to read. ~ Nicholas Cage

Comics can be powerful learning tools. The mix of art, dialogue, character expressions, and frames engages learners and is brain-friendly. Comics break down a story’s plot and text into bite-sized chunks. Each frame has a visual of the action, which is much easier for the brain to process than reading a large amount of text. Additionally, comics are an effective way to introduce your learners to digital storytelling. Many of the comic creation tools are easy to use and allow learners to choose from a library of characters, props, scenes, and templates. Your learners will be able to quickly create a story, view it, and share it. Creating comics engages students and encourages them to explore vocabulary, summarize information, and contextualize what they learn in a creative way. Download the slides and bookmark the following tips and resources.

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Tips

The following are a few ideas to get you started using comics with your learners. Watch the recording of my webinar on this topic here!

  • Choose comics or graphic novels as reading materials. Many classics and popular books, like Twilight and Pride and Prejudice, are available as graphic novels.
  • Use comics as writing prompts- Makebeliefscomix.com has over 350+ free printables to use as writing prompts

Students can do the following with their comics:

  • Retell a historical event
  • Write dialogues
  • Summarize readings
  • Create the setting and situation appropriate for idioms and phrases
  • Post an interview
  • Explore societal issues
  • Explore the language in jokes
  • Explore political issues
  • Introduce themselves to their peers
  • Show how to accomplish a goal
  • Explore the meaning behind quotes
  • Give visual instructions- Howtoons.com is full of great instructional comics
  • Highlight the rules
  • Create a context for math word problems
  • Tell the news
  • Explore various definitions of a word
  • Visualize research

Resources

Click on any of the icons to be lead to that comic creator. Scroll down to see written descriptions of each tool.

  • ToonDoo – The site allows students to share their comics, comment on other comics, and even save and edit a copy of a comic.
  • Make Beliefs Comix– Two, three and four panel comics that you can create in multiple languages. 350+ free printables for teachers
  • Comics Head– IOS and Android app to make comics. Best one in my opinion that allows adding your own images along with their library of characters, backdrops, and more.
  • Friendstrip– IOS and Android app to make comics. Frames set and students can fill in the story.
  • Creaza– Create comics, make movies, edit audio, and more! Embed in a blog or wiki.
  • Bubblr– Create your comic strip with Flickr pictures and add bubbles to tell your story!
  • Bitstrips– Not free, but offers a 30-day free trial and includes more educational support (e.g., activities) than most other comic generators.
  • Comic Strip Generator– You can upload photos or use web images in addition to their library of ready-to-use images.
  • Garfield– You can create comic strips or (in Comics Lab Extreme) comic books.
  • Phrase It– Add speech bubbles to pictures.

 
Comics for Learning, by shellyterrell

Challenge:

Try any of these ideas or tools with your students and share their work!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachersor my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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