Monday, May 18, 2009

Increasing Achievement with Comic Books

Why should teachers spend time letting students create comic books when they could draw and create comic books at home? We’ve all had the student who could draw that would spend hours creating a comic book in the back of a composition notebook instead of completing a reading assignment, or completing a math assignment or learning about the solar system. So why should teachers take valuable time away from the curriculum to allow students time to create comic books in class?

One example is Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel called Maus: A Survivor’s Tale about his father’s struggle to survive the Holocaust as a Polish Jew bringing to life his father’s recollections of the experience. In 1992 the graphic novel won a Pulitzer Prize Special Award. Maus: A Survivor's Tale has been used in the study of modern English Literature and Jewish culture. One example is Random House for High School Teachers:

Many teachers search for ways to bring the outside world into their classrooms and to motivate their students to read. Comic books are one way to get students to enjoy reading. Comic books engage the students; the drawings bring the story to life for them and improve their literacy skills. Never mind that students think its fun to read comic books.

When students are actively engaged they learn more and having students create comic books provides opportunities for students to learn. Instead of just studying the solar system can you imagine how students would create a means of travel to each planet and find life forms based on each planet’s composition creating a livelihood and an economy then illustrating what they’ve learned through a comic book? Students would practice sequencing, summarizing, analyzing, writing skills, story boards, art composition, linear perspectives, linguistic and non-linguistic representations requiring the students to organize and elaborate on information.

If students draw each panel of the comic book they will need to decide which points are most significant to their story while maintaining the scope and sequence of the story because of the small size of each panel. Teachers would be able to assess the depth of knowledge and understanding based on the ideas and content of the comic books created by the students.

You may read the entire article to learn more about the characteristics and composition of a comic book at from The Creative Educator spring 2009 edition.

Now let’s think about how students could create that same comic book using technology.

  • Audacity to create the audio and background music
  • PhotoStory to sequence images and to import an mp3 file from Audacity
  • Flip video camera to create short videos or take still photos of images created by the student
  • Movie Maker to sequence images and short videos importing an mp3 file
  • Voice Thread to sequence a story and allow other students to submit comments about the story and/or images
  • PowerPoint could be used to present the comic book with the student narrating the story and importing background music to the slides
  • Word processing software to type the entire story, working thru the sequence and scope of the story before making a story board.
What other technologies could students use in your school to create comic books of knowledge?
Image from The Creative Educator:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a great idea! I have had my students draw comic strips to highlight the main ideas of a story and they loved it. So why not take it further? Creating a comic strip on the computer would be fun! I think I would even enjoy making one! This will be a creative tool to use. Thanks!