I was looking for a nice site that I could use with my students to motivate them to write and I found MakeBeliefsComix.com
I copied the 21 ways to use this website in the classroom to share with you.
21 WAYS TO USE MAKEBELIEFSCOMIX.COM IN THE CLASSROOM
By Bill Zimmerman, Creator, MakeBeliefsComix.com
At the beginning of each new school year have students create a comic strip talking 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 her or him. After students complete their strips, encourage them to exchange their comics with classmates to learn more about each other. Students can also create strips that summarize what their individual interests to help a teacher to learn more about them.
Have students create a comic strip story using new vocabulary words that are being taught.Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon characters also helps students practice conversation and language structure in a meaningful context.
Have students break up into pairs or group teams to create their comic strips together.This approach encourages teamwork and cooperation, with students complementing the skills of their colleagues. The site also provides a structure for students to work individually as they create their own cartoon worlds using their imaginations. Look upon the site as a resource for literacy development and to reach out to engage reluctant writers and readers.
Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon charactershelps students practice conversation and offers a way to practice language structure and vocabulary in a meaningful context.
Create comic scenarios, scripts, or stories for autistic students as a way to teach them different kinds of social behavior and to read emotions by observing the faces of the different characters selected for the cartoons. Says one teacher who works with high-functioning students with autism, “I used the comic strips to create social stories focusing on behaviors we want to modify.” Creating cartoons in which the characters speak for the creator also provides a way to help autistic and deaf students to communicate.
Have students who are learning new foreign languages write their text in languages they are studying.In addition to English, the site accepts characters and accent marks from languages such as Spanish, Latin, German, Italian and Portuguese. Additional languages will be added to the site in the future.
Have students print or email their completed comics.Doing so validates the efforts they put into creating the strips and gives them a sense of ownership. The printed cartoons represent their hard-earned efforts and they can add the completed work to their school portfolios or share with friends and family. Think of the student sharing her cartoon with someone important to her and the smile this brings to the face of the recipient. Wouldn’t such an experience reinforce learning?
Use the cartoon strips to introduce students to the world of creative writingand the pleasure of using their imaginations more fully. When students create a comic strip, they are also honing their reading and writing skills in addition to tapping into their creativity. The act of creating cartoons allows students to learn in a pleasurable way.
Encourage students to use the comic characters as surrogates for them to talk about and examine their lives, their problems, their challenges and their anxieties.In effect, students can see themselves in the comics they create. The comic strips also allow the students to express their feelings and thoughts about the learning that occurs in the classroom.
Create comic books based on the strips that the students complete. Let the students serialize their comics by creating a new strip each day as part of a continuing story. They can color them, too.
Create comic strips in which students can practice such real-life, practical scenarios such as looking for a job or learning how to interact with a difficult boss or fellow worker.As an example, create a comic in which a student applies for a job. What kinds of questions is the interviewer likely to ask her and what kinds of responses might be appropriate. An individual going to visit a doctor or emergency room can practice vocabulary that will be needed for such an encounter.
Have students use the characters to create comic strips that comment on local or national politics.Perhaps these cartoons can be published in the school newspaper or newsletter.
Create comic strips in the classroom just for the sheer fun of it,and as a way to help students deal with the stress of school and the everyday world. This provides a perfect activity for the end of the school day or week.
After a student completes creation of a comic strip ask him to read aloud or act out the dialogue written for his characters.Doing so gives a student an opportunity and structure to practice public speaking and share thoughts with others.
Have student create a comic in which the characters reflect on a particular experience the student has had,such as dealing with a school bully or with a problem at home or with a friend. The process of creating the strip provides a way for a student to think through and resolve these problems.
Choose a theme for the day, such as My Top 3 Wishes or Ways to Improve the Environment,or focus on a theme for a unit that is being taught that day, and have each class member do a comic strip on that subject. Then have class members share what they have created so that students gain a better understanding of the many ideas and different points of views that their classmates have on a particular topic.
Hold a Family Literacy Night or Dayin which parents and students work side by side in your computer lab to create their own comic strips. The students will most likely begin helping their parents with the mechanics of working on the web site, while the parents will be helping the students in vocabulary and spelling. This creates an intergenerational bonding experience and provides a way to parents to share an activity with their children, and for parents and children to communicate more effectively with each other to create something new and imaginative.
Use the strips to create story boards for an original story or to illustrate a book or play being read in class. Or, encourage students to create comic strips that change or go beyond the ending of the book they have just read. If students are creating short stories or novels, for example, they will find that comic strips provide them with a way to experiment with dialog that can be incorporated into their writing of text. The story comic strips can provide the first step in the creation of a much longer written piece of work or project. Or, have students use the comic strip as a book report summarizing or commenting on what they have been reading. You also can use the comic strips to assess students. knowledge of facts they are learning in the units you may be teaching.
In reading a book or story have students in their comic strips assume the roles of two of the characters with each one’s personality and voice and have them interact with one another.This helps students better understand the perspective of the characters in the book they are reading.
Use the WRITER PROMPTS feature on this site (or go to www.billztreasurechest.com/blog) for ideas for writing assignments in the classroom. Encourage your students to send copies of their writing to firstname.lastname@example.org we will reinforce their efforts by publishing some of their writings submitted on the WRITER PROMPTS blog at my other site, http://www.billztreasurechest.com. This latter site has more tools to help students express themselves.
If you don’t have regular access to a computer lab for your class, you can use our new feature – MAKEBELIEFSCOMIX PRINTABLES – where you can print out comix templates from this site and pages from my Make Beliefs books and use at home, school and in the office to write on and color – another way to have fun and express all the creativity within you. Just click PRINTABLES.