Face it, some times the delivery of lessons can be boring. I know I have seen students drift off from time to time. And besides from me jumping up and down or dancing around like a lunatic, some lessons just fall flat. Now if we feel this way, imagine how the students feel. We know that the more vibrate a presentation is, the more positive reaction you will get from the viewers. And what is more vibrate than a cartoon?
You heard me right. Cartoon presentations. PowToon is an online presentation site that allows you to create animated videos and presentations to help you engage your audience in a dynamic way. The site requires no prior knowledge of animation, and they provide the user with all of the tips and tricks needed to create an expressive, one-of-a -kind presentation. Once a presentation is created you can export the video to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. This is a free site, however, you are limited to how much you are capable of creating. There are options for a monthly payment or a yearly one, that provides you with longer recording time, more options for character and accessories. I recommend this site to anyone looking to beef up their presentations.
I have stated before that I am a fan of the graphic novel. I do. I love them. They are so much fun. I discovered many amazing artists and writers when I worked in publishing but it was when I got to visit the Comic Con in San Diego a few years back that really made me a fan. They just have that element that novels don’t. Now I know people are probably saying, “That element is that they have pictures. Duh!” I know they have pictures, but it was those pictures represent to the narrative of the story that really helps drive my love of the medium. Don’t get me wrong I love standard novels as well. In fact I am usually at any given time reading three or more at a time. But how the standard novel relies on describing every detail in order for you to develop the image in your mind, the graphic novel is able to use in beautiful fashion drawings to help convey what they want to story to tell. And in many times, words just don’t do it justice. A picture can say so much more.
And let me tell you, I can’t keep graphic novels on my shelves. My students crowd around the shelves and fight over who gets to read what, and why one series is better than the other. As soon as one comes in, it is immediately finding its way into another student’s hands. I am thinking I have to order multiple copies of each graphic novel. Even the nonfiction ones. I highly recommend anyone to take a look graphic novels, they are an interesting way to experience a story. To help here are some of my favorites:
1) Blankets by Craig Thompson
2) Maus by Art Speigelman
3) Smile by Rania Telgemeir
4) Americus by MK Reed
5) Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
6) Bone series by Jeff Smith
7) Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
8) Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
9) The Storm in the Barn
10) Y: The Last Man series by Brian Vaughan
11) American Splendor series by Harvey Pekar
12) The Lives of Sacco & Vanzetti by Rick Geary
14) Laika by Nick Abadzis
15) The Imposters Daughter by Laurie Sandell
16) Are you my Mother? and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
I took the summer off, as you could probably tell. But now that we are back in the swing of the school year, I am back to add my two cents to the world of education, technology, libraries.
But I think I should share something I learned over the summer. I am a huge fan of graphic novels. I always liked reading comic books, but graphic novels have taken a special place in my reading world recently and I a tore through them this summer. I must have read anywhere from 7 to 10 a week. Over the course of the summer that is a hefty amount. Where as last year I read several standard novels and nonfiction works, I was able to fill my brain with so much more content this summer. I truly cleaned my local library out of adult ones and then moved on to the YA section.
Friends kept saying to me how can you read those, they are just picture books? But there is a difference. Where picture books use the images to normally enhance the story, the graphic novels use their pictures to progress the story. Some panels will have no text, it relies on the picture to tell you how the character is feeling, or what is the current situation of the story. I am learning that graphic novels are the perfect gateway for reluctant readers as well, and I will be putting a great deal of emphasis on them in my own library.
So enough rambling. I am happy to be back and posting again. See you all later.
I know I know you might be sick of me talking about cartoons in the classroom, but I can’t help it. Students love cartoons. So why not use this popular format to help with your instruction. Some of the main attractions to using cartoons or comics in the classroom are:
1) Students will improve their reading and writing skills, since they must choose text that is clear and concise but also informative; as well as develope critical thinking skills.
2) Students will learn to use critical thinking skills in a creative capacity
3) They we will learn to work effectively either individually or in a group setting.
4) This is a great format for any subject area
Please visit the cartoons tag in this blog to see some of other sites I have mentioned, but for now, here are four more for your viewing pleasure.
Bitstrips www.bitstrips.com and www.bitstripsforschools.com
With the tag line being “Unlock the Educational Power of Comics” you know this site was made for school, promoting that comics don’t have to be funny, they can be informative too.
Super Hero Squad Show www.heroup.com
A fun and interactive site for young kids to create their own comic featuring some of their favorite Marvel superheroes.
Comic Creator www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/comic/
From Read, Write and Think this is an easy to use comic creator site that allows you to choose from different size comics (1 – 6 panels), characters, scenes more. This site is perfect for those just starting out with using comics in the classroom.
Witty Comics www.wittycomics.com
With already created scenes, panels and comics this site focuses more the text side. Students can study each comic and decide which one will be suit their project needs. This allows for the user focus on the information they are trying to express.
Oh just because you asked so nicely. Here is one more you can view…but this one is an APP!!!
Comics Creator by Preston Info Tech $1.99 iOS
This app allows you to use your own pictures and personal photos and create the ultimate comic. By adding your photos into the customizable panels for the more creative comic is your own. Choose from 10 custom layouts; 12 custom caption bubbles; and share through emails Facebook and Twitter.
Digital storytelling is great way to have students get creative in with their writing. It assists those who work better using visual prompts to help spark their writing, and it aides in progression of a student’s story. It is not only used for fiction writing though, more often than not teachers are seeing digital storytelling used in projects for science, and history.
A prime example was I had a student who was doing to report on Ellis Island. He wrote his report through the eyes of an immigrant coming through, and used a digital storytelling site to show the journey his character took, all the while using factual information to explain the history of Ellis Island.
There are many sites out there, and I have mentioned a few, but one that should be recognized is Kerpoof. Kerpoof is an Award Winning site that is sponsored by Disney and was developed for the purpose providing a creative outlet for children and adults. However, the educational world saw how this site can foster the creative process for students for a variety of projects. Kerpoof can be used to design your own artwork; make an animated movie (it’s very easy); create a book to tell a story; and print cards, t-shirts, and other products.
Teachers will find this site fun to use for students of all ages and for all subjects. Use as a story starter; test reading comprehension; biology lessons; and even use for biography projects. This site is free to use but some elements require payment. Students can also earn Koins that will allow them to purchase items at the Kerpoof store (don’t worry all items are for use in future projects and are not physical items). Check out today and see how you might be able to use in your own classroom or just your home.
Cartoons in the classroom