Comic Life is a program that lets the user create a comic book style document that includes pictures, captions, and titles. It has been around for years, but has become a powerful educational tool that is being used in all grades, all subjects, all over the country.
You can find a lot of educators singing the praises of using comic creating software. Pushing students to think about content differently and deeply in a fun way is the main draw to educators. Need proof that using comics in your classroom is worth spending a few days in a lab?
The potency of the picture story is not a matter of modern theory but of anciently established truth. Before man thought in words, he felt in pictures… It’s too bad for us “literary” enthusiasts, but it’s the truth nevertheless, pictures tell any story more effectively than words. (Sones, 1944, p. 239)
Using Comic Life
The program is pretty intuitive and user friendly. Play around for a few minutes and you can find pretty much whatever you need. Here is an instruction sheet that you can print out for your kids or yourself.
How do Comics Fit?
Comics can be used in all curricular areas. Some more easily than others, but nothing good comes easy, right?? Comics can be used to assess background knowledge prior to starting a unit, a way to review content, a way to assess understanding, and much more. Here are some sites with examples and lesson plans for using comics in the classroom.
Social Studies: Examining race class, and gender in the media; timelines; famous people in history; countrys and cultures; current events
ELA: “how to” instructions; character or plot analysis; pre-writing; post-reading
Science: exploring biomes; planets and their characteristics; periodic table; ride the rock cycle
Math: step by step explanations; math in the real world; geometry in nature; fractions
PE: game/sport rules; sportsmanship
Health: social issues; nutrition; say no to drugs posters
Performing Arts: music history/appreciation; famous musician, instrument care
So, how do you see Comic Life ehnancing a unit (or part of a unit) in your class? Think of a past unit or future unit that could be enhanced using Comic Life? Post a comment with your thoughts and what area of study you can see yourself using Comic Life for.