Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Making Comics with Bitstrips

Near the end of the school year, I introduced my students to Bitstrips. "Introduced" means I showed them where to find all the tools, gave them the login code and got out of the way.

After spending a ton of time creating their avatars, they got down to the (funny) business of making comics. You can imagine that with an available background of a bathroom, there were plenty of cartoons that would appeal mostly to a 10 year-old sense of humor. What surprised me the most were the comics that captured a moment in our classroom



or a moment in their lives



or something completely random that shows they were playing with the tools and wound up making something that made some kind of sense!


Every year, I have students who read graphic novels and want to make their own in writing workshop. I've never had success supporting these students because of the limitations of students to draw their own stories, the limitations of the digital tools I had tried in the past, and the lack of an accessible mentor text for beginning graphic novelists.

I think this coming year might be the year of the student-created graphic novel. Instead of renewing the three subscriptions to magazines no students in my classroom have read for the past two years, I am going to pay for a subscription to Bitstrips (digital tool -- √).

And I'm going to share this book (mentor text -- √) with my writers as a graphic novel/comic strip mentor text:


by Chris Giarrusso
Image Comics, 2012

The book starts with a longer story, but the ones I really want to share with/study with my students are the 1-2 page "Comic Bits" and the two-panel "Mean Brother/Idiot Bother" strips. Every budding Kazu Kibuishi has to start somewhere, right?


3 comments:

  1. You make me want to pay for Bit Strips! And also find that book! Our fifth graders actually did some really cool hand drawn one or two page (5-10 panels) around the Birmingham Bus Boycott. They turned out really well and the kids LOVED IT!

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  2. What a great idea, Mary. This is great for kids. My son did one for the first time but it was a bit questionable.

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  3. Powerful and creative! Thanks for sharing. Smiles and stop by anytime!

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