This week was all about Sharing Stories through Comics. I loved the idea! Comics are a simple and fun way of telling stories, even for beginner students, as the language used may range from very very simple to very specific and advanced (phrasal verbs, idioms and the like).
The first great material shared by the moderators was a presentation by Janet Bianchini at RSCON3. Her slideshare contains many examples of how to use comics in the ESL classroom. Have a look!
After having a look at how other teachers used comics in their classes, participants were expected to explore different comic-creation tools and reflect on their uses, advantages and disadvantages. The tools proposed were Make Beliefs, ToonDoo, Garfield and Cartoon Studio por Iphone and Ipad. I wrote a post on comics a while ago, so you can find my opinion on most of these tools and a few more here.
Some of the participants created very funny and reflective comics! They are all compiled in a Posterous group. You can spend hours browsing around, there are so many great strips to read!
Week 2 at Digital Tools in the Classroom
Wow! Week 2 was intense! It was creative writing time! We had to write the beginning of a story in the tool of our choice, based on some pictures that served as prompts. Then, we were asked to share our review of these tools with the other participants. These are the tools I explored; I chose the ones I didn't know or I wasn't too familiar with.
A Scholastics website. Just great! You can choose the level and then spin a wheel and get your writing prompt. I got "List the five characteristics of a a thousand-year-old game host that only speaks in rhyme". Super cool, isn't it?
You choose from a list of heroes, villains and places and you get the beginning of the story.I liked the idea, as writing the beginning of a story is a tough job for students (the blank page effect!). The problem I found was that the language is quite advanced and therefore over the heads of many of my students.
What do you want to say to your future self? This would be great to set objectives and evaluate your results at the end of the year!
Social dream interpretations. You share a dream you had and someone else writes an interpretation. It's fun! But you have to be careful because some of the dreams or interpretations include inappropriate language.
Oh life is basically a way to keep an online journal.
After this first activity, we all collaborated to finish the stories, which turned up to be fantastic! We used Entri, Mixed Ink, Writeboard and TypeWithMe, which are all free and very easy to use. This is a post I wrote on collaboration some time ago, where you can find some more information about some of these tools and a few others.
As I said, it was an intense week! Full of new resources and great contributions!
Looking forward to week 3!