Monday, October 21, 2013

ComicLife2 for Writing in Elementary Language Arts

Fifth Graders at Willow Springs Elementary are learning to use ComicLife2 to support their reading and writing lessons this year.  Using a class set of MacBook Pros these avid readers are starting to make book projects in the form of a one page comic teaser.

As a lesson to get started using the program, each student made their own one page summary of the History of Utah.  It was easy for kids to dive into the program by following step-by-step instructions on adding images, speech bubbles, text boxes, and titles.

Lesson Plan:  After a brief discussion about "chunking" text into small readable selections and using images to engage readers, the students were off and running with the ComicLife2 program.

Step 1 - Open the program and select a new comic using the template "Mesa" since it has a nice southwest feel to it, perfect for a comic about Utah.

Step 2 - Edit the title to say "The Story of Utah"

Step 3 - Add a picture of Utah and State Seal to the upper left image block.  Students will need direct instruction on how to find images in the photo finder area by navigating to the folder set up by teacher with images downloaded ahead of time from the web.

Step 4 - Add a picture of Coronado, as well as text bubble and text box.  Students will then require 5-10 minutes of practice time as they learn to resize and adjust text features.  Suggestions for text bubble - "Wow, this place es muy bonita!" or "What a great place to build a ski resort!"

Step 5 - Insert new boxes as place holders for remaining pictures.

Step 6 - More Practice Time! - Let the students explore the program as they learn to resize and move images in order to make the most visually appealing page.  Invite students to also add additional text boxes and speech bubbles where they feel it is most appropriate.  5th graders in Utah have already learned a lot about their state, so let them share their knowledge with interesting facts and points of interest.

Step 7 - Have students save their work and give them a specific location on their computers or school network folder system.  Remind students to save as they go and use the "Command-Z" keyboard shortcut to undo any mistakes.

Step 8 - Explain the difference between saving a ComicLife2 project and exporting an image or PDF.  Allow students the opportunity to both save their project and export the finished product in a file format that they can either email, post online to a LMS like Edmodo or even publish to a blog or website.

If you would like a sample Rubric for this activity, check out this Google Doc.

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