Comics are not a new phenomenon. What is new, for me at least, is our ability as educators to incorporate comics into lessons through a range of free, easy to use on-line tools.
But first up the age-old question…why would you? Here are the main pluses I’ve gleaned:
- Comics are fun – most kids will get a kick out of creating one
- They are motivational
- Comics cater for multiple intelligences – so visual learners have the chance to shine and engage
- Comics can help explain difficult concepts – they’re a good way to break information down
- Learning is placed in the hands of the students – through the concept of visual permanence i.e. comics are not time bound
- Comic/poster creation promotes deep level thinking – students have to process key concept to represent them
You can create your own comics through a range of sites including comic life, pixton and possibly others or try glogster for online poster creation. They all operate around similar processes which allow you to use templates to build your own work from through to uploading your own images and creating from there.
I had a go with Pixton today. It took me about 30 minutes to create a basic strip based on a scene from Macbeth. I created two identical versions using the same characters but altering the text so that one features Shakespeare’s language and the second uses the modern equivalent.
You could do this for key scenes to help build students’ confidence when starting out with Shakespeare (the language is a common stumbling block to uderstanding Shakespeare’s work), and then get students to create their own to help them remember key speeches. The results could be displayed on a wall in your classroom so that students can view a range of work and process several key scenes. Hopefully this might increase the chances of them recalling those key scenes and dialogue in exam conditions. This exercise could also help generate discussion about the narrative and lead to deeper understanding of the plot. If time allowed you could even get them to create alternative endings to key scenes…the mind boggles at where that could go…
Other ways you might incorporate comic-based activities into your lessons are:
- For timelines
- Dialogue punctuation
- Character analysis
- Story telling
- Pre writing tool
- Post reading tool
- Teaching language techniques etc
I should add this does not require high level graphic design skills (obviously)! All I did was create an account on Pixton, go to create, then quickie where I selected a layout and some characters. From there you simply click and drag your text in, change backgrounds, colour schemes etc. What could be simpler?!