This could be your end-of-the-year project
Since I’m doing my first practicum in an elementary school, I’m often looking at nice ideas I could use with the students or ideas I could suggest to my teacher to get a good evaluation at the end of my practicum! 😉
While doing some research on activities for elementary school students, I discovered a really nice and simple website. It’s called Make Beliefs Comix and I think it couldn’t be more user-friendly. It basically helps students to create their own comic strips by offering a bank of characters, emotions, accessories, scenes, etc. A lot of functions, like moving the characters around, writing directly in the bubbles and changing the size of the different elements, allow students to really personalise their comic strip in just a few mouse clicks. It’s a pretty straight-forward tool but you can find tutorials explaining how it works if needed.
What I really like about this idea is that sometimes we ask students to create really artistic project and they lose half the time (if not more) on drawing and making it look beautiful instead of really focusing on the material learned and the best way to organize their thoughts. Since I’m not an art teacher, I must admit I don’t really like seeing kids spending half a class colouring and making sure they write big and nice letters on a poster. I think this precious time could be used more efficiently. By using Make Beliefs Comix, I can make sure that students spend more time working on their dialogues and building a strong story. They can even go on the website to get inspired by the characters and the accessories. They can also send it by e-mail which is useful if they want to do it at home or it they want to send it to their parents. They can also print it when they are done and I could ask them to colour it at home if they really wanted to. Also, as Richard Byrne says, “creating comics could be a good way to get reluctant writers to take a new look at creative writing”.
As mentioned in Mr. Walker’s Blog, the website also provides a list of 21 ways to use comic strips in the classroom. My personal favorites are practicing new vocabulary words, promoting team collaboration and understanding literary character perspectives.