BAM! POW! WHAM! Remember the comics from your childhood? Now you can help the kids in your life make their own using MakeBeliefsComix.com. And while they think they are simply having fun online, they will also be practicing narrative skills, writing and vocabulary. (Sneaky, right?)
MakeBeliefsComix is the brainchild of journalist and newspaper editor Bill Zimmerman. A free service, it allows kids to create three-panel comic strips by selecting characters, emotions and objects, as well as adding thought balloons and text. Completed comics can be printed or shared via email.
Here are just a few ideas for using MakeBeliefsComix as a teaching tool. (You can find even more on the website.)
- Create comics using new vocabulary words being taught at school or in a home classroom.
- Use comics as storyboards, plotting out the beginning, middle and end of a story to practice creative writing skills.
- Create autobiographical comics as a “getting to know you” exercise and trade them with classmates or friends.
- Practice a foreign language. The website accepts the characters and accents found in Spanish, Latin, German, Italian and Portuguese.
- Have kids create topic-specific comics to practice life skills like dealing with a bully, making new friends or finding a specific book at the library.
(I particularly like that last idea! )