Free Comic Book Day
Saturday, May 2 is free comic book day. Participating comics stores across North America will be giving out free comics to anyone who stops in. This might be a good excuse for teachers and librarians to visit a local comic book store and see what’s available. Not only will you get at least one free comic but you also will have an opportunity to talk with knowledgeable people who can make some suggestions for titles you may want to add to your collection.
If you’re not sure where to start buying titles for your classroom or library, check out the Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards to learn which are kids’ favorites. You also might want to take a look at this blog post on the School Library Journal site.
I think one of the best uses of comics in the classroom is to teach vocabulary and I’ve recently discovered a site that does just that. It’s Weboword and it uses simple, stick-figure cartoons to teach new words (great for SAT study). There’s a new word every day and each post also includes a definition, pronunciation, situational uses, and related words. If you want to create your own word cartoons, you can upload them to the Weboword Ning.
Many teachers have discovered that when students associate an image with a word, they are more likely to be able to retrieve that word and remember its meaning. To learn new words, students must make connections between the new words and words or concepts they already know. Visualizing a new word can help kids make even stronger connections. The cartoons in Weboword could be used as models or springboards to get kids to make their own word cartoons. And because they are made with stick figures, anyone can do it, regardless of artistic ability.
You can subscribe to daily updates and have a new cartoon delivered to your email each day. Here’s today’s word: cogitate.
The cartoons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license so they are copyright friendly for classroom use.
Pictures Sounds Numbers Words
MLTI is offering an online conference for educators, May 4-7. This is an exciting new venture for us. For the first time we are running a conference that includes no face-to-face workshops; everything is online.
Former Maine Governor Angus King will be the keynote speaker, opening the conference on Monday, May4. There are 28 sessions scheduled for the four days of the conference – something for everyone. Registration is not required but is encouraged. To receive a certificate for contact hours you must pre-register.
My session Promoting Literacy with Cartoons, Comics and Graphic Novels will be the last one on Thursday night. This will be my first webinar and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to reach a larger audience than I would with a traditional face-to-face workshop. The one-hour time frame may be a challenge for me, but I want to make the participants aware of the possibilities, with the hope that they will follow-up with some hands-on work on their own.
As we were discussing how to market this, I came across a tool that has some possibilities for story-telling with comic characters. (Thanks, David P.) Xtranormal is a tool for easily making movies from a your written script. While it can’t really be classified as a comic creator, it serves the same purpose. I like it because it allows those students who may not have strong drawing skills to create a visual piece using their writing. If you create an account, you can save your movies on the Xtranormal site, or you can export them to a YouTube site.
As I was trying it out I had the online conference on my mind so that became the content for my first movie:
Tonight I begin giving this blog new life. I began it almost a year ago on Edublogs and intended to post at least once a month. All was well until Edublogs decided to put ads on all the blogs it hosted unless the owner paid a ransom of $39.95 per year to have them removed. I know that, in the big scheme of things, $39.95 isn’t a lot, but it annoyed me so much that I just abandoned the blog for a while.
A few weeks ago, I exported it from Edublogs and imported it here, in Word Press where I hope it will remain ad-free forever. I’ll be removing the original one soon and directing my readers (both of them) here.