Five Ideas for Using Comics in Classrooms

I love comic strips because they can provide a fun introduction to a serious topic, can be used to illustrate concepts, and be used to tell all kinds of stories. Thanks to many online tools for making comics, you don’t have to be an artist in order to create a great comic. Canva is the latest tool to enter that category.

Last week Canva introduced a slew of new comic strip creation templates and tools. Here’s a video overview of how those work. Of course, you could also use Storyboard That, Pixton, Make Beliefs Comix, or even Google Slide to make comics (here’s how). Whichever tool you choose to use, you can use these ideas to incorporate comic creation into your classroom.

Fan Fiction

Rather than writing another book report, have students write an alternate ending to a favorite book in comic form. Pixton EDU has some content packs about books that are commonly taught in elementary school and middle school.

Comic Strips as Timelines

Have students illustrate a timeline of an event or series of events. Rather than simply writing summaries of key events have students create illustrations of the events. Each frame of the comic should be dated to take the place of what would otherwise be a hashmark on a timeline.

Create Your Own Digital Greeting Cards

Many kids find enjoyment in making their own cards instead of just affixing their signatures to a store-bought card. As I highlighted in this video, Canva has lots of templates for creating comics to use as digital cards.

Vocabulary Illustrations

This is a spin on an idea that Stephanie Krisulevic shared on my blog a few years ago. Students create comics to illustrate key vocabulary terms. In Stephanie’s example her students created illustrations about literary elements.

Illustrate Original Stories

A few years ago at a conference in Connecticut I heard The New Yorker cartoonist Paul Noth say, “the nice thing about drawing aliens is that no one can tell you it’s wrong.” He was talking about giving kids confidence to try their hands at illustrating stories. When kids create comics of their own stories no one can tell them the story is “wrong” or the characters “don’t look right.”

Live and On-demand Learning Opportunities

I’m currently offering two on-demand learning opportunities, A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video and Ten Search Strategies Students Need to Know.

On Thursday Rushton Hurley and I are hostingĀ Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. Join us for a fun half-hour in which we answer your questions about all things related to educational technology.