Saturday, August 8, 2009

COMICS for writing, translating, and learning

From the HOTCHALK site Bob Sprankle wrote this interesting post regarding COMICS and school/learning.

My first thought was to tell Shelly over at Teach Paperless about the first site mentioned, because it says it works with LATIN!  He probably already knows about it.  I know he does lots of interesting things with his LATIN students.  As a matter of fact I think he already uses PIXTON, the second site mentioned.

The first site mentioned is by Bill Zimmerman: MAKE BELIEFS COMIX and it is very simple. Everyone can use this site.

Students of all ages can use it and it might be best for the younger students, fewer bells and whistles to confuse them!

One problem… there is not a really GOOD way to save your comic.

You can print it out, but that wastes paper and ink.

You can e-mail it to your friends, but so far that has taken an unusually long time to happen and I still do not have results

Also it is suggested on the site that you make an electronic copy by doing a screen dump (PRINT SCREEN on Windows); then you paste it into a PAINT or Photo document or even a Word or PowerPoint document.

In this final manner you can then keep a whole Word document or PowerPoint of a continuing saga -- strip by strip… with only 4 panels per event – much like a real comic strip in the newspaper.

I made a comic and wanted to insert it here.  I e-mailed it to my g-mail account, but it has not yet arrived. 

So after losing my first comic, unless it magically appears in my e-mail some day…I tried the PRINT SCREEN option.

HI boys and girlsHere it is:

I had a little trouble because I wanted to enlarge and decrease the sizes of the talking balloons.  I could not figure out a way to do that.

Also the part that points to the speaker could not be reversed, so the balloon dictates where the speaker will “sit.”  It may be harder for young learners than I thought.

While I was working on this post, I received an e-mail from Bill Zimmerman regarding my queries about the sizes of the text boxes and the orientation of the text boxes.  He says that there is a way to fix that problem.  I will have to play even more to get that to work, because I thought I had tried everything. We’ll see.

Here is his response: “You can change the size of the balloons and also flip them or select a balloon that goes with each character this way: when you click on the balloon icon, you will see it pop up in the Menu Window at the lower left-hand corner of the screen.  Under the window are red arrows; when you click on them, they will give you four balloon sizes to choose from as well as different directions in which the balloons can be placed (the bottom of each balloon will tilt either to the left or to the right and you can choose the one you want).  Click on the size which you want and it will move up to the panel window in which you are working.

CONGRATS to Bill Zimmerman for responding so quickly to a concern.

I couldn’t figure out how to make multiple balloons in the first comic, but as you can see above, I did for the 2nd site

Here is a screen shot of my comic with all of the “bells and whistles” on the site.

There is a limit of only 4 panels.  That has its good and bad points, but  REMEMBER most newspaper comics are not much more than 4 panels during the week day!

On the site there is a button to find out how other educators have used comics. Take a look.

Bill Zimmerman has a blog about more uses and more ideas in general – to make people, and children especially, feel wanted in life.

Overall, I am so glad that I examined this site.  Bill Zimmerman has developed lots of materials that are GOOD for the SOUL of the teacher, the student, the parent, and the individual, even if you don’t use his comic creator.

I haven’t had time to look at the other sites.  The second one is PIXTON (see link above) and I think I looked at that one a long time ago.  So far, I have not had an opportunity to use it at this time.  (I am not a permanent, full time teacher in a classroom.) Maybe you can use it. 

The 3rd site, I believe is not free, so I did not try it.

So, go to these sites, play around, have some fun, relax, and enjoy yourself. Even if you don’t use it for your class it is a fun place to play when you have a spare moment.

What do you think about this site and Bob Sprankle’s ideas? What age group do you teach and how would you use them?

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