Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spark Your Learning Via Comics

Picture Source: shutterstock

The internet provides language teachers and learners with numerous resources and materials by which teachers can create meaningful tasks and learners make their learning more attractive and fun. This availability makes it enable for us to reach another valuable source, MakeBeliefsComixfor creating stories in language learning/teaching process. Let me introduce this tool of which presentation is made by my two friends, Cansu and Elçin, in the classroom.

Makebeliefscomix is a website in which students can make their comics online. This free web-based tool aims to encourage learners to express themselves by creating comic strips through dialogues. The site has a database which offers fun animals, human characters, objects and scenes. All features of the website develop reading, writing and literacy of learners.Comic strips don't require long sentences or paragraphs to build a good story. Only a few words are needed to convey the feeling of the story. 
''Users can select from more than 175 fun human and animal characters with different moods -- happy, sad, angry, worried -- and write words for blank talk and thought balloons to make their characters talk and think. There also are story ideas and prompts to help users create graphic stories. ''  
  Makebeliefscomix is a good and easy path into practising the English language. It can develop students' creativity, help their form-focused grammar practise activities in which learners try to come up with stories by using newly learnt structures, encourage them to write dialogues on specific topics (bad habits, animal rights, global warming etc.) and create stories. 


The point is how to use MakeBeliefsComix in the classroom. How can teachers use the tool and integrate it in their teaching?

Some Ways To Use MakeBeliefsComix In The Classroom
  • At the beginning of a new school year, after they introduce the tool to the students and show an outcome created by themselves, teachers can have students create their own comic strip talking about themselves so that students can learn more about each other. Each student can select a cartoon character to represent her or him and write dialogues about their lives and introduce themselves to their friends. After they complete their strips, they can change these autobiographical comic strips with each other. This activity can also help teachers to know more about their students.
  • Students can practise newly learnt vocabulary words by using makebeliefscomix. Teachers can assign them to use new vocabulary words in each thought balloon and create a comic strip story. This activity can help students practise conversation and language structure in a meaningful context.
  • Teachers can also have students create a comic in which characters reflect on a particular problem for example bullying. Students can create scenes that includes dealing with a school bully or with a problem at home or with a friend. They can print their products and share them with the rest of the class. This activity can provide a way for students to think about and resolve such problems. By this way, teachers can prevent students create similar problems and raise their awareness beside improving their language skills.
The number of ways to use MakeBeliefsComix in teaching is limitless. I suggested some of them, you can find further examples on the internet. Some of teachers using the tool in their classroom share their experiences on various language teaching related websites. They offer very practical and utilizable activities by using MakeBeliefsComix. I suggest you to make use of such real life examples and customize them in your teaching process.

#1 Rated Site At Your Elbow

 Picture Source: mumfidential

Hi my strict followers of today's developing and changing world, it's been a long time! I am here to introduce a web tool presented by me and my fellow worker Gizem OKAN in the Technology and Materials Design course. Please welcome the most rated site for making stories, Storyjumper. Imagine that you want to make a difference in your learning or teaching process and benefit from technology for creating stories in the most correct way. Then let me introduce you to the Storyjumper, one of the most-used websites in education for creating illustrated storybooks.

Storyjumper is website in which students can read and buy, create and share animated digital stories. Very simple to use and encouraging for learners to become more engaged in language learning process! For step by step instructions on how to create a book you can check out a tutorial provided in the Help part of the site.You can also copy of someone else's book if it includes an 'edit' button and customize it anyway you like. For inspiration you can take a look at other books that Storyjumper members have written and search the Storyjumper library at the top of the page.When you are finished click the ''I'm finished'' button and your book will move to the ''Books I finished'' section. It's never too late because you can still edit your book whenever you want. Sharing your book with others is the most appealing part of StoryJumper.When you ''publish'' your book it will be added to the public library so long as it meets some minimum requirements.You can e-mail a link of your book to your friends and family, you can further embed it on other websites. You have print options; hardcover book, paperback book, digital download, plain printing with a watermark. As the site suggests; ''you can enjoy printing your own book for keepsakes, gifts or selling. ''

You figured out the steps and became able to use it for creating your own stories. So, how can teachers use it in language teaching? Let me suggest some ideas for it's use in that purpose.For example;students can become published authors. When you publish your book it will be added to the storyjumper library . Other members can then search for it and it could appear on your public profile that you can share with others. Teachers can give a short beginning to the story and create the first scene then they can assign learners to continue the digital story in line with the teachers. Then students can publish their stories,print them and bring their stories to the classroom. They can change their stories with each other make comments on the website. 


The website also provides teachers with a worksheet. It is used as a tool by teachers for teaching students the creative writing process and coach them in building 7 primary components of a story. Teachers can split the class into small groups and have them work on each step in teams and brainstorm ideas together. After each step, each group can share their results and teachers can have the class vote on which team's idea to use. When student's worksheets are ready they are ready to build their own stories on the website. Teachers can make each group create stories and share them with the rest of the class. So if you have 7 groups, you have 7 different digital stories made by the learners. Such activities can encourage students to be involved in learning and they can enjoy themselves when they feel that they are learning. 

*You can read my storybook made by Storyjumper below


Book titled 'The Donkey and The Little Dog'
Read this free book made on StoryJumper