TeachersFirst's Comics and Cartoons Resources

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This editor's choice collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and create comics in any subject area. Comics have become mainstream in "graphic novels" and can express or explain major concepts, portray the underlying tensions  behind an issue, or simply help students remember terms and definitions. The storytelling potential of comics goes back to cave drawings and can be as simple as a stick figure or as elaborate as a photograph annotated with voice bubbles. Explore these resources for tools and ideas to "draw" comics into your classroom as a tool for learning.

Check out all of our resources tagged comics and cartoons

 

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Talkify - ABCya

Grades
K to 8
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Talkify lets you create a talking picture from your own images or one of their colorful creatures. Follow prompts to choose your image, select and size a mouth, and add ...more
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Talkify lets you create a talking picture from your own images or one of their colorful creatures. Follow prompts to choose your image, select and size a mouth, and add a recording. After the image processes, download to your computer. No registration required.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), speaking (25)

In the Classroom

Introduce and share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this free site to record a greeting for students when they land on the start page of your blog, wiki, or website. Record online assignment information, share homework assignments, a message from you, and more. Use Talkify to record two different opinions or viewpoints and create a poll for students to share reactions to the opinions. Use Talkify in Math by posing possible solutions to problems and create a class discussion or poll to determine which one is the actual answer. As students are working on projects, create a Talkify image that provides hints and tips for students. Allow students to use Talkify to provide peer assessment to others. Consider using Talkify in conjunction with other assignments such as "What I did this summer vacation..." or "Here is information about me..." Use in any language class to record narratives or translations. Students can create a variety of Talkify recordings over time, which can show their learning of a language over time. The possibilities for this tool are endless. The quick and engaging nature of this tool offers unlimited uses.
 
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Witty Comics - WittyComics.com

Grades
K to 12
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two...more
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Use this tool to design a comic with dialogue between two characters. Use the pre-drawn backgrounds and characters. Add a title for each scene/page and add dialogue between the two characters. These are quick and easy three page comics. You can create without an account. However, if you want to SAVE, you must register for a free account (email required).

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65)

In the Classroom

Create dialogues that introduce new content topics in your classroom. Students can use this "witty" tool to introduce topics from research or to practice a speech to be given in class. Use comics to create a dialogue discussing misconceptions in the content and a discussion of the actual facts to dispel the misunderstandings. For more ideas about using comics in the classroom see Comics Workshop for Teachers. To view more comic creator tools and ideas view this collection.

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Cartoons for the Classroom - The Association for American Editorial Cartoonists

Grades
6 to 12
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and editorial cartoonists have been boiling down the foibles of politicians and public figures throughout history. One needs only to know about...more
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and editorial cartoonists have been boiling down the foibles of politicians and public figures throughout history. One needs only to know about Thomas Nast and his cartoons of Boss Tweed during the 19th century to know that cartoons have a deep impact on political discourse. Cartoons for the Classroom offers over 250 one-page downloadable lessons featuring two or three political cartoons related to current events and several questions for discussion that relate to those cartoons. Alternatively, download the cartoons alone along with space to "draw" your own conclusions. Click on "Welcome" on the top left of the list to go to the home page and "Today's Political Cartoon."

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), politics (98), satire (5)

In the Classroom

These one-page discussion starters could help students keep up with current political issues, provide an opening or closing activity, or serve as an enrichment activity for students who move through other assignments more quickly. Available either with or without guiding questions, and covering a wide range of relevant and timely topics, they are perfect to keep as a Plan B or for an emergency substitute teacher activity. Elsewhere on the site are links to other information about political cartooning through history; most of these links connect to outside sites so be sure and preview carefully. In Art class, create a "political" option during a line drawing unit for current events enthusiasts to draw their own political cartoons. Include these cartoons during a unit on humor and satire in an English/Language Arts class or gifted program.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Printable Comic Strip Templates - Donna Young

Grades
K to 12
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Find several different comic strip templates at this simple, yet useful site. Choose from templates with various numbers of panels and squares or arch tops. Click on any ...more
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Find several different comic strip templates at this simple, yet useful site. Choose from templates with various numbers of panels and squares or arch tops. Click on any template to view and print the PDF version.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65)

In the Classroom

Have small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of what the class just learned. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon depicting the characters and plot. Have students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant, the planets, or a butterfly's life cycle. Use these templates for students to plan out storyboards for more involved projects, such as videos. In emotional support or autistic support classes, create comics to show how people interact. In world languages or with ELL students, create comics to reinforce correct language. Looking for even more comic resources? Check out TeachersFirst's complete collection of Comics and Cartoons.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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AnMish (Beta) - anmish.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Create, save, and share your personalized animations using AnMish technology. Register using your email to create an account and begin making an animation. Upload your own picture or...more
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Create, save, and share your personalized animations using AnMish technology. Register using your email to create an account and begin making an animation. Upload your own picture or choose from puppets and celebrities such as Prince Charles or Hillary Clinton. Use the record button to record a message for up to 30 seconds. Choose a title and make the animation public or private. Save to complete the process. Share using the provided embed code or use social networking links. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom.This tool has public Favorites on the home page so might be best used under direct adult supervision.

tag(s): animation (66), comics and cartoons (65), digital storytelling (153)

In the Classroom

This site includes the ability for the general public to submit their own animations. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the public portion of the site. Set up the class account and give them the url to the create page. (Talk about how to avoid inappropriate content as part of digital citizenship lessons.) Have students sum up debate ideas using animated characters or present simple concepts from researched material to introduce to the class. Use for book report stories, to create fictitious stories, or present ideas in an engaging format. Challenge students to use this site to tell the history of political figures, historical figures, or historic events. Use this site to teach about chemical properties, scientific figures or discoveries, or great moments in Science through animation. In language arts class, use this tool to apply concepts of narrative patterns or characterization. Teachers of gifted may want to assign students to create an entire animated series. Have ESL/ELL or world language students create animations to practice new vocabulary. Have students compose monologues to be delivered by animated characters.

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Wonder Women - Wonder City Interactive Game - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Wonder Woman's legacy lives on! This activity accompanies the PBS special, "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" (NOT available on the site) and explores American...more
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Wonder Woman's legacy lives on! This activity accompanies the PBS special, "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" (NOT available on the site) and explores American pop culture's evolving attitudes toward powerful women. The game (even without the film) investigates the causes and effects of gender stereotypes in the media and considers how they influence real-life attitudes and behaviors. Through this book game, you have the opportunity to identify your own heroic qualities and make empowered choices. Did you know that Wonder Woman's original, radical World War II presence, was created by a Harvard-trained pop psychologist? Do you remember her uninspiring 1960s incarnation as a fashion boutique owner? After that, she was resurrected by feminist Gloria Steinem and the women of Ms. Magazine. Explore the history of Wonder Woman and feminist issues using this program.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), heroes (23), media literacy (64), women (94)

In the Classroom

Click Classroom to find Lesson Plan 2 for using the game. Try using this Wonder Women lesson along with The HTML 5 Gender in Advertising Remixing reviewed here. This site may help students draw conclusions about advertisers targeting boys and girls differently. Then you can relate their newfound knowledge back to the gender stereotypes they discovered in Wonder Women. Next you might consider introducing students to the modern heroine Cat, who represents an unconventional superheroine in My So Called Secret Identity reviewed here. For a complete unit, add a project where students collect and annotate a group of web links that show gender stereotypes. Use a bookmarking tool from the TeachersFirst Edge.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Culture Street - culturestreet.org

Grades
K to 5
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities...more
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Culture Street introduces young people to contemporary writers, artists, and film makers and offers the opportunity to create unique work with the site tools. Choose from the many activities such as Paint Studio, Picture Book Maker, Super Action Comic Maker, and many others. Explore each of the four channels for an in-depth look at art, film, stage, and books. Scroll through the latest information to read about different artists and organizations. You must register to ACCESS this site. This website is funded in the United Kingdom. However, users outside of the UK are welcome to use all parts of the site once registered. .

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), creative writing (166), digital storytelling (153), preK (291)

In the Classroom

Create and share picture books using the Picture Book Maker Tool and the Super Action Comic Maker. Once students have created books, print to use at reading centers or create links on classroom computers for reading online. With younger students, have them create pages and then add their weekly spelling words scattered on the pages. This will give them practice both writing (typing) and reading their spelling words! Create short stories about a story's main character, setting, conflict, etc. instead of book reports. Images are limited, but text of any kind can be added.

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Phrase.it - phrase.it

Grades
3 to 12
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Add cartoon speech bubbles to any photo in seconds using Phrase.it. NO membership required! Choose a photo from your Facebook feed, computer, or from the site's random stock photo collection....more
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Add cartoon speech bubbles to any photo in seconds using Phrase.it. NO membership required! Choose a photo from your Facebook feed, computer, or from the site's random stock photo collection. Pick one of the 5 different types of speech bubbles, drag to any part of the image, and type in text. Change fonts by clicking the text box until satisfied Change your image by applying one of the optional filters or leave it as is. When finished, click on the Save button and add your email if you want to receive a download link. You are also able to mark your photo PRIVATE. Once the image is saved and rendered, you can simply copy its url, share via email, Facebook, or Twitter, or download to your computer.

tag(s): bulletin boards (18), comics and cartoons (65), images (271)

In the Classroom

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Teach parts of speech and grammar by having students write captions using colorful adjectives, adverbs, or specific sentence structures on a random photo. Make classroom signs and reminders. Caption the homework directions on your teacher web page. Ask your students to create captions for class photos for all sorts of reasons. Use this site for back to school fun. Post a photo of yourself with a caption on your class website introducing yourself to the class during the summer. Challenge each student to find/share a photo of themselves either the first week of school (or even prior to school). You will want parental permission before posting any student photos on your class website. Use photos or digital drawings from your classroom, such as pictures taken during any hands-on activity. Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then add a caption. Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters "talk" as part of a project. In a government class, add captions to photos explaining politicians' major platform planks during election campaigns. Caption the steps for math problem solving. Even elementary grades can make captions of an animal talking about his habitat or a "community helper" talking about his/her role, though you may have to do it together as a class to upload the image. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?). Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then caption the pictures to explain the concepts. Share the class captions on your class web page or wiki. Leave directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parent attention to important announcements. Have students make talking photos of themselves as a visual tour of their new classroom for parents attending back to school night. World language classes can create images explaining and using new vocabulary. Use the site's random photo offerings for clever caption contests in your new language. Have gifted students create PhaseIt pictures to explain new knowledge they gain in going beyond the basics. For example, as the class studies plate tectonics, they could make a collection of volcano images "explaining" their own history or describing the Ring of Fire. Gifted students of all ages can make simple Phrase It images to share their own thought provoking questions about curriculum content, such as "Which figure of speech would Shakespeare be willing to give up?" Be sure to include these thought provokers on a class wiki or blog for others to respond! (No need to single out the "thinker" by mentioning who created it if it would cause ridicule.)

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Fotor - Photo Editing Made Easy - fotor.com

Grades
K to 12
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Fotor is an easy online photo editing tool that doesn't require registration. Upload any picture from your computer to begin. Choose from the editing choices provided. Use basic...more
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Fotor is an easy online photo editing tool that doesn't require registration. Upload any picture from your computer to begin. Choose from the editing choices provided. Use basic editing tools to automatically enhance, rotate, crop, resize, and adjust lighting on images. Choose from many effects such as vintage, sepia, and other color effects. Add frames, apply a splash of color, or add text. When finished, save to your computer. Share on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or email with links provided. Other options include templates for creating collages, photo cards, and HDR images. All options are clearly labeled, and edits are available until you are happy with the finished result. Looking to create a collage? With Fotor, you can do that, too! At the time of this review, fotor was available as an app for iPhone, Android and works on Windows and Mac.

tag(s): collages (18), comics and cartoons (65), editing (69), images (271), photography (158)

In the Classroom

Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or sites. In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Consider making them into a collage and posting it on your webpage. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use caption bubbles for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more. Share the results (with an image credit) on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Stripgenerator - Stripgenerator

Grades
4 to 12
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Create simple and easy cartoon strips. Add frames, characters, balloons for speech text, and other items. The drag and drop interface makes it easy to create a comic strip. Share ...more
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Create simple and easy cartoon strips. Add frames, characters, balloons for speech text, and other items. The drag and drop interface makes it easy to create a comic strip. Share by url or embedding into your wiki, blog, or site. You can create a comic strip as a guest but must register to be able to save. If you plan to share this site with students, you must preview. There are unmoderated "latest" comics on the home page.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), emotions (36)

In the Classroom

Because of the public content, be SURE to tell students to go directly to the creation tools (and not to explore the public strips). If you cannot monitor/trust individuals, use a whole class account and have one group at a time work where you can monitor. Instead of writing boring summaries, why not assign a rotating scribe to summarize class through a comic strip. Make a class wiki collection of the comics created throughout the year. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Another idea - why not use the comic strips for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Emotional support and autistic support teachers can work with students to create strips about appropriate interpersonal responses and/or feelings. Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or create pictures) than use the actual words. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments.

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Dr. Seuss Went to War - UC San Diego

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore a rich collection of Dr. Seuss' political cartoons during World War II. Seuss shows his very serious side in this collection of over 400 political cartoons related to the ...more
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Explore a rich collection of Dr. Seuss' political cartoons during World War II. Seuss shows his very serious side in this collection of over 400 political cartoons related to the war. The collection is sorted by year and by battle, people, places, and issues. Each cartoon includes full citation and copyright information. Most are copyrighted and allow permission for scholarly use but cannot be copied or shared outside of "fair use." In other words, you cannot use them in online projects or make copies beyond classroom or offline student projects. You can easily share each cartoon via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Click the enlarge arrows to see the image in its own separate window and copy its url.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), dr seuss (10), world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

This collection offers rich opportunities during the study of World War II. Students can trace the tensions and events of the war year by year or by issue. See this lesson planthat delves into a few of Seuss's cartoons, but this collection has many more examples so you can go even further. Have students create explanations using Thinglink, reviewed here, an image annotation tool that allows you to reference images by url.

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Comics Workshop for Teachers - Marek Bennett

Grades
K to 12
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Discover resources and ideas for using comics in the classroom. The simplicity here might be a good thing, so do not be fooled into thinking this site is not worth ...more
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Discover resources and ideas for using comics in the classroom. The simplicity here might be a good thing, so do not be fooled into thinking this site is not worth your time. Marek Bennett moved this site from an older Wordpress blog in March, 2014, but much of the older blog (and its great posts) remain as an archive, so explore BOTH. Click on any of the comic images to view posters, books, and tips for using comics in the classroom. Take the time to explore and view each of the links available. Be sure to check out the information about comics and multiple intelligences. Take time to explore other areas of the blog for more information on creating and using comics. There is information about paid workshops, but the site has much to offer without spending a cent.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), digital storytelling (153), stories and storytelling (32)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out Teachers First's Comics Resources for many other ideas and tools for using comics in the classroom. Comics are great for telling the "story" of any curriculum concept, such as insect life cycles or biographies. They are also very creative for using with languages, ESL/ELL, gifted, and learning resource students for writing.

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Storyboard Generator - Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Grades
4 to 12
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version,...more
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Try out this interactive tool demonstrating storyboarding concepts. You can build your own storyboard using resources from the free media library. In the 'Choose Your Script' version, select from three genres: horror, comedy or romance. This storyboard can then be published and saved, shared, embedded, or linked. In the 'Build your own' version, photographs can be uploaded or used from the Free Media Library to build personalized visuals using silhouette characters. Your created script that can be embedded, linked, or shared. Be sure to check out the many instruction videos included on the site for tips on creating storyboards. Registration with email is required to share and save storyboards.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), digital storytelling (153), images (271)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to create and use a storyboard using this tool on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). View stories from the gallery for inspiration before attempting to have students create their own. Create a storyboard and share when teaching creative writing techniques or story mapping. Have students tell the story they have viewed. Challenge students to create a storyboard of readings recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot. Use storyboards as the first step in planning larger projects from plays to videos.

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Mugeda - mugeda.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and...more
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and publish HTML5 animation. Basic tutorials guide you to create content with easy to follow instructions. Animation applications include; games, ads, cartoons, tutorials, or persuasive commercials. Use tablets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Note that HTML5 works on iPads and iTouches, where most Flash-based sites do not.

tag(s): animation (66), comics and cartoons (65), DAT device agnostic tool (173)

In the Classroom

Bring along Mugeda in your bag of tricks to capture and intrigue all of your students. Use Mugeda to illustrate class content, support debate, persuade, and entertain. The possibilities are endless! Add the creations to your website to share with your community. Use on school news programs to add student content without cost, and make information available for all levels of student abilities. Create commercials for your content or to convey information. In history classes go back in time to envision popular opinion that made history happen. Use during campaigns to promote your side of the debate. Science fairs will never be the same. Highlight projects to create anticipation. Send messages to students using the embedded tool. This programming tool has applications in all subject areas. Gifted students, ELL/ESL students, and remedial students will be captivated by this high interest way of expressing themselves.

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SuperLame - Superlame.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Super-hero your images! Use this image editor to add speech and thought bubbles to photos and images. Upload your image (such as a photo from your digital camera or a ...more
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Super-hero your images! Use this image editor to add speech and thought bubbles to photos and images. Upload your image (such as a photo from your digital camera or a copyright safe image), add a text balloon, insert a sound effect (like kaboom!), and change the background or border. Save to your computer or email to yourself or others (note that the image is deleted from the website after 24 hours.)
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): bulletin boards (18), comics and cartoons (65), digital storytelling (153), images (271), photography (158)

In the Classroom

This would be a great way to make comic strips using images from class! Use in any subject area and for any topic to add a twist to your digital storytelling project. Have students create a comic rather than a traditional book report. The main character or a minor character could "talk" about the book. Or have students create comic strips to go along with science topics, math concepts, historical figures, and more. Have students email you the images/comics. Share the finished products on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share the saved images on a class wiki or make a student generated bulletin board of comics.
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Write Comics - Write Comics

Grades
K to 12
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You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, ...more
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You can make your very own comic right now! At Write Comics, you will be able to create your own comics using the figures, backgrounds, animal, aliens, and dialogue bubbles, supplied by Write Comics. This site is extremely easy to use. There is no need to sign up or register. Once you click Finish, you will be given a link. Go to your link and print your comic or upload it to your webpage.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65)

In the Classroom

Create a comic to put on your website. You might want to use Write Comics to display the vocabulary word of the day, the math puzzle of the week, a concept your students are learning in social studies or science. Have students create comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. For pre-reading students, create a comic of pictures and have students tell the story based on the pictures/scenes. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. World language and ESL/ELL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments. Have students share all of their comics on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Professor Garfield Comics Lab - Paws

Grades
3 to 8
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Professor Garfield Comics Lab is much more than a simple comic creator. As the name implies, this site is a little more academic. Here you will find reading strategies for ...more
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Professor Garfield Comics Lab is much more than a simple comic creator. As the name implies, this site is a little more academic. Here you will find reading strategies for the emergent reader, phonemic awareness games, a multi-player trivia game covering science, literature, history and pop culture. You will also find a creative writing program with video lessons and instruction on art skills. There is far too much at this site to be able to describe it here, so be sure to check out the "Teachers Lounge." AND, you can still create a comic strip or even a graphic novel! You can print or save your comic to your computer for uploading to your wiki. Learn more about wiki's here. All you need to save is a username; no e-mail is required, unless you want to use the Comics Lab Extreme, which does require an e-mail.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65), drawing (82), reading strategies (49)

In the Classroom

There are so many ways to use this site! After introducing a feature from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, set up a learning station with a computer ready to play one of the phonics games for younger students. Older students can watch a video about how to draw cartoons; there are several from which to pick! Ask your older students to read through the very creative and thorough tutorial for Comics Lab Extreme, and then form small groups of students to create a story of an historic person, an advertisement for a curriculum topic being studied, or demonstrate the meaning of a word using Comics Lab Extreme. Don't miss the many other comic-creation tools from the TeachersFirst collectionfound here.
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Teaching Art from Comics - Association of Comics Art Educators

Grades
6 to 12
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This site offers an extensive collection of lesson plans and other resources for teaching cartooning, caricature, and other drawing skills and styles in a studio environment. The content...more
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This site offers an extensive collection of lesson plans and other resources for teaching cartooning, caricature, and other drawing skills and styles in a studio environment. The content includes lots of drawing and examples. These are not trivial lessons, so some level of preparation is certainly appropriate.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (65)

In the Classroom

Use these extremely detailed in your own classroom, via interactive whiteboard or projector. Each presentation comes with notes and a pre-prepared PowerPoint presentation that's ready to be shown to students! Make sure to edit a few slides, the first contain information about class and teacher, and you are good to go! Especially useful in any art, film or social history class.

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