AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning: Comic Master February 17, 2013Posted by Donna Baratta in Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Check this out!.
Tags: Comics; Comic Master; AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning; Reading
In today’s blog post we will take a look at Comic Master, one of the AASL’s Best Websites in the Digital Storytelling category. This sleek-looking, interactive site lets students create original comic books and graphic novels. Comic Master is part of the Reading for Life literacy advocates program. A banner at the top of the site’s work area proclaims “Reading isn’t only books, it’s everywhere!” Educational resources are provided and target boys ages 11 – 14. Recent box-office hits have demonstrated the popularity of comic book superheroes. Entice reluctant readers to get involved in creative writing as they create their own superheroes and stories with Comic Master.
The site is easy to use as it is very intuitive. The single flash-based work page uses simple pop-up windows to guide students through the step-by-step creation process by first having them select cell layouts and backgrounds. To these they add characters, props, captions, and speech and thought bubbles. The simple click-and-drag elements make the creation and design stage effortless, along with editing and revising their own original content. The final product is a completely colored comic strip that prints out beautifully. You do not have to register or provide any kind of information to create and print your story; however, if you want to save a story to work on later, registration using an email address is required. Most of my students needed more than one session to finish.
Using Comic Master in the classroom to allow students to craft original stories cultivates important 21st century learning skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Creative writing activities using this site can address many of the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards in the production and distribution of writing strand. Students can work through the writing process using this new approach as they consider the assigned task, their purpose and audience. Using the website’s technology they can collaborate with partners to produce and publish their work.
Comic Master can be used across the curriculum in grades 3 and up. Members of my school’s student council have produced and published comic strips about drug prevention that were distributed during Red Ribbon Week and also about anti-bullying for school counselors to use. After demonstrating Comic Master to our teachers, I collaborated with several to re-design existing projects to incorporate this website. ELA teachers included the site in creative writing assignments focusing on a literary genre . Students wrote their own mystery stories demonstrating their understanding of the genre’s characteristics and specific vocabulary. Students retold events from the American Revolution using a superhero slant for a social studies assignment. Some of our middle school math classes had lots of fun writing and designing comic strips that incorporated a list of math vocabulary words.
Fun, easy to use, and so versatile! Give Comic Master a try in your classroom. Find it here: http://www.comicmaster.org.uk/
Elizabeth Poole Dumas, Committee Member, AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning