The View from the Classroom Window

Monday, September 12, 2011

Free comic strip generator, with idea for a comic diary

Here is the text of an email I received today from Heddi, over at the Discovery Learning Center:

Heddi writes, Here is an idea from Make Beliefs Comix about using their free comic
making site.  I thought it might be interesting to homeschooling families!


If you're looking for an exciting new literacy activity for the new school year why not start a daily 20-minute comic strip segment during which your students create a comic diary about something they learned or read or experienced that day? Creating such daily comix diaries provides a way for students to digest and integrate key material that they are taught as well as to reflect on their lives and experiences. And what better way for all students, including English Language Learners, to improve writing, reading and storytelling skills!

 To help educators, MakeBeliefsComix.com, the free online comic strip generator, has launched a Daily Comix Diary Page offering many ideas at http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Daily-Comix-Diary/
 Students can also draw their own comics with pencil or crayons and use stick figures or pictures cut from magazines. By making their own comic strips, students will realize that they can create stories and make art. They will learn that they, too, are capable of generating their own learning materials, their own memoirs, and that their `'take'' on the world is so very special – everyone sees things differently.

What to draw and write about?
For starters, why not have students create autobiographical comic strips about themselves and their families or summarizing the most important things about their lives? Let each student select a cartoon character as a surrogate to represent him or her. They might also summarize what their individual interests are or some key moments in their lives.
Maybe students create a comic strip with a new ending for a book that they've read, or an extension of the story, or a deeper exploration of a character in the book.
Maybe theirs is a comic strip using new vocabulary learned that day.
Maybe their comic is about a concept they learned in science or in social studies.
Maybe their comic captures an interesting conversation they overheard.
Maybe their comic is about something sad or bad that happened to them, such as someone bullying them. Or about something special, such as a birthday wish.
Maybe their comic is about something fun or wonderful that they or a friend experienced – perhaps an adventure they had. Or, about a great or important memory they will never forget.
Maybe their daily comic contains a joke they heard or something funny a parent said to them recently.
Maybe they're exploring a problem at home that's bothering them, such as a sibling who's driving them crazy.
Maybe their comic strip is a fantasy story that came to their imagination.
Or, how about creating a political comic strip commenting on some new development in government or a news event?

Now, imagine the student's comic-filled sketch book or folder containing daily diary entries created over the course of a year that will trace each child's thoughts and learning, that will reflect what was important to her or him. They'll have composed a comic book diary that they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Most important, the 20-minute-a-day daily comix diary challenge offers students the chance to become creators as they find their voice, rather than just passive learners. What better gift can you give them?

Sincerely,
Bill Zimmerman,
Creator, MakeBeliefsComix.com
wmz@aol.com

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