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Projects: ScrapComics

Technology provides a wide range of tools for accessing and creating digital stories. From digital cameras and paint software to online tools, select tools that facilitate the storytelling process.

Comic books and graphic novels are popular with all ages. Read Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud to learn more about the language of comics.

Understanding ComicsPride of Baghdad

Barbed WireLet's explore an example. Read the award winning graphic novel: The Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. Write your own graphic novel set in Baghdad. Use the Comic Life software available for the Mac. Export your graphic novel as web pages. See a sample page - Bombs, Barbed Wire and Baghdad.

The Software

Whether using a specialized tool such as Comic Life or use an online comic maker like MakeBeliefsComix, adapting Microsoft PowerPoint, or other productivity tools, or it's easy to create visually pleasing and motivating projects.

Comic Life for the Mac

Until recently, it's been difficult for the "artistically challenged" to create professional quality comics. With Comic Life software for the Mac, it's easy. Users select and adjust panels, choose graphics, and drag bubbles onto a page. It's great whether using photos, clipart, or original drawings. A beta version Comic Life for Windows is now available also.

conifersCheck out the following examples created with Comic Life:

Online Comic Creators

Start with a simple activity focusing on a 2-4 panel comic strip. Use MakeBeliefsComix for a simple assignment to teach about the basics of comic making. Also try Comiqs (although service is sometimes down).

Although MakeBeliefsComix is the best online tool for teaching basic comic strip production, you may wish to try some of the following tools too:

Comics with "Call-out" Bubbles in Word and PowerPoint

If you don't have Comic Life software, you can still use the "callout" bubbles in Word or PowerPoint to create comic strips, show conversations, provide directions, and many other activities. Check out the Copyright project that uses bubbles and Flash softwre.

Let's tell stories about shopping. Right-click and Save as Target the What's for lunch? PowerPoint. Use the clipart provided to design an activity for your students. Use rectangles to create the feel of a comic strip. Open Eating to see an example using custom animation to reveal the bubbles in a particular order. Design an assignment focusing writing. Create an example or sample to get students started.

If you want PowerPoint pages that look like comic pages, download Comic Pages (PPT). Check out the Music at the Market (PPT) example. Click the photo below to enlarge. It simply uses photos and call-out bubbles to tell a sequential story.

Music at the Market

Use the following directions to create your own in PowerPoint.

To create call-outs:

To create sounds:

To create animation:

Bubble-based Assignments

Read comics online and notice how the bubbles appear in comics and graphic novels.
Student Produced Comics - Amazing Kids,
Archie, Mark Trail - comic in nature (NOAA), Peanuts
Links to Comics: Comics.com, Go Comics, The Universe of Comics, King Features

 

Sequencing with Timelines

Besides comic strips, another way for student to tell stories is through timelines. These are particularly useful in history, but also in other areas of the curriculum where sequencing is important.

Let's look at economics and food production. Right-click and Save as Target the eggs.ppt project. Use this as an example. You could also add your voice. Right-click and Save as Target the milk.ppt project. This one is ready for students to write. You could also have a one page version such as milk2.ppt. Ask students to place the photos in order, then write about milk. Create your own sequencing activity using one or several slides.

Let's look at history. Right-click and Save as Target the economics3.ppt, people.ppt, music.ppt, and transportation.ppt project. Students must put the pictures in order, then write about how economics has changed over time. Create your own sequencing activity using one or several slides. Look for standards that use the word "change" or "movement."

Try some of the following ideas:

Lesson Ideas

Explore online lessons related to sequencing:

All Grades

Primary Grades

Intermediate Grade

Middle School

There are a few online sources of timeline builders:

Use PowerPoint to help students build timelines. Provide students with photos. Ask them to place the photos in sequencial order. Then write about this sequence of events. Older students may want to use the Speakernotes.

Sequential Art and Thinking

Let's use picture books, sequential art, and comics as tools for teaching critical thinking skills related to sequencing across the curriculum. Sequencing is a common problem across the curriculum.

Use wordless books such as Full Moon Soup by Alastair Graham for inspiration. Use them to talk about what's happening in the pictures. Use the links below for lists of wordless books:

Use picture books that use a comic or graphic novel format for ideas such as the Little Lit series.

Online Lessons

Explore online lessons related to comics in the classroom:

Add boxes and bubbles to make a story come alive!

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