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There are only a few events that I clearly remember from elementary school and one of them is the visit of a professional comic book artist. He did a presentation about his job and showed us some of his work. After the presentation, that man gave our teacher special cartoon paper so that we can work on our own comic page. I had a lot of fun doing that and today I can see how beneficial such an activity can be for students. It engages them into an artistic activity that lets them practice their story writing skills as well as their summarizing skills. It is now possible to do that kind of activity with students directly on computers.

I can’t say that doing this activity on the computer is better than on paper, but I think that it develops different skills.  While a paper comic is good for arts and craft skills while a digital one is good for layout skills. I remember that the school had to buy special paper for that and we had one page for each student. Because of that, we couldn’t make errors because we had only one chance. One good thing about using computers is that students can experiment with different tools in order to create a comic that they will be proud of. On top of that, it is free and avoids wasting paper. It is also fair for students who have difficulty with drawing. Those were the main differences. Their writing and summarizing skills stay the same for both ways.

The first website that I found for that kind of activity is from the game section of Marvel Comics’ website. Click here to try it. I wanted to write my blog article about that website, but I realized that girl students may not like it. Also, with the Marvel ‘s comic creator, you can only use Marvel heroes and I believe that it is not great for students’ creativity. I liked the simplicity of it though. I would recommend it to my students who would have liked the activity in class using another website if they want to make one at home about superheroes. This blog article is about different comic creators to use in class and agrees that the Marvel one has these limitations.

After reading different blog articles such as this one, I chose to use Graphix comic building with students. Graphix is made by Scholastic and consequently has a pedagogical approach. It is easy of access because unlike most of the other comic builders, you don’t need to subscribe with your email address. You only have to go on the website and start creating. Graphix offers three different styles for the variety of interest of students: Amulet (Medieval style), Smile (Social style) and Bones (Dark forest style).  Those styles come from actual Scholastic books, so if you can have your students read these books before, it could help them getting ideas to start. Graphix is easy to use and offers various layouts and characters. Even more, if students are done with their comic page, Graphix provides tutorials about comic book drawing and information of different comic book authors and illustrators. Here’s a video that shows what professional comic book artists think about the benefits of using Graphix.

Other websites can do pretty much the equivalent, but I found them less easy to use and a lot of them required subscription. Message to teachers: use the platform you want, but you definitely have to try that kind of activity with your students!

 

 

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