Try Creating Comics to Get Students to Share Stories About Themselves
I shared this idea on Free Technology for Teachers earlier today and I’m sharing it here to bring an iPad slant to it. At the beginning of the new school year it can take a while for new students to open up to each other and to you. One way to get them to share stories about themselves is to have them put it into a fun comic story. Through creating comic stories you can have students share favorite stories from their summer vacations. In the process students learn how to use a new tool, practice developing storylines, and they let you in on a little bit of who they are as people. Here are three iPad apps that I like to use to create comic stories.
Strip Designer is a great comic strip creation tool to add to your students’ iPads. Priced at $2.99 it is $2 less than Comic Life and is just as good. Strip Designer provides dozens of comic strip layouts from simple one frame comics to one page layouts in a variety of configurations to multiple page layouts there is probably a layout that works for all students. And if not, your students can create their own custom comic strip layouts in Strip Designer. Strip Designer allows students to create comics from scratch by drawing pictures, taking pictures, or importing pictures. Students can import pictures from a variety of places including Facebook, Dropbox, and the camera roll on their iPads. Each frame in your students’ comic strips is created individually and is not tied to an overall theme. This means that one frame in their comic strips could be based on a photo and the next frame could be based on a drawing. The borders and shading effects for each frame can be individually adjusted too. To help students really tell stories through comics, Strip Designer offers a slew of text editing tools, digital stickers, and drawing tools.
Halftone 2 (currently $1.99) is a nice iPad app for creating simple comic strips based on your pictures. To get started with Halftone 2 you choose a layout for your comic then import pictures from your iPad’s camera roll. You can add borders and visual effects to each of your imported pictures. After arranging your pictures you can add text in a variety of comic styles. Completed projects can be shared in a variety of ways including email, Dropbox, Twitter, and saving to camera roll. Halftone 2 is a good app for use in a classroom in which students share iPads because it does not require students to create accounts in order to create comics.
Make Beliefs Comix is a free multilingual comic strip creation app. The best feature of the app is that it supports the creation of comics in seven languages; English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Latin. The free Make Beliefs Comix iPad app allows students to create two, three, and four panel comic strips. To create comics in the Make Beliefs Comix iPad app you simply select the number of frames you want to use then choose the characters that you want to feature in your story. After choosing your frames and characters you can type text into speech bubbles to tell your story.