Make Beliefs Comix
When I was teaching high school biology, I would usually post topic-centered comics from The Far Side®, by Gary Larson, on the door to my classroom. Initially, students didn’t get the jokes because they weren’t familiar with the content. However, by the end of the unit, they would stand around in small groups chuckling at the cartoons while I “encouraged” them to take their seats. That was 15 years ago when the only computer in the classroom belonged to the teacher.
Today, technologies, apps, software, and hardware provide so many options to teachers that it is difficult to decide which tool to use in instruction. If I could have a do-over, my students would use a comic strip creator like Make Beliefs Comix to help them develop literacy, not only in science but in writing as well.
The dashboard for comic creation offers a variety of characters each with a range of emotions. There are options to create up to a four panel strip. The tools are fairly basic and simple to use, but having more complex tool bars may be too confusing. The graphics are pre-drawn but can be manipulated in a variety of ways.
There are several additional options for parents, teachers, and students to access. Some templates are a simple as a single panel with a writing prompt while others may be more interactive such as a journal for writing reflections. Whatever is created can be downloaded or emailed and saved in a file as a portfolio.
Being able to articulate our ideas, thoughts, and feelings is important. Starting with a comic strip may be a small step towards literacy, but every step is an important step to take.