TeachersFirst's Comics and Cartoons Resources
This editor's choice collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about and create comics in any subject area. Comics have become mainstream in "graphic novels" and can express or explain major concepts, portray the underlying tensions behind an issue, or simply help students remember terms and definitions. The storytelling potential of comics goes back to cave drawings and can be as simple as a stick figure or as elaborate as a photograph annotated with voice bubbles. Explore these resources for tools and ideas to "draw" comics into your classroom as a tool for learning.
Check out all of our resources tagged comics and cartoons.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of these free comic books and lessons when teaching economic and financial lessons as a supplement to your current teaching materials. Instead of printing each comic for individual students, provide a link to students using Padlet, reviewed here. Create a Padlet to share all of your online resources for your unit in one place. Use these comic books as inspiration and modify student learning by asking them to use a comic creation tool like ToonyTool, reviewed here, to create single frame cartoons explaining financial concepts.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this collection in art classes during the study of comic book art. Share comics with students in history classes along with newspaper comics to demonstrate the use of comics to depict historic events or share political beliefs and satire. In literature classes, include this site along with others to share comics depicting characters in novels. Have students create their own comics or cartoons to summarize story events or depict characters and events from history using a comic creation tool like ToonyTool, reviewed here, to create single frame cartoons. Find more uses for using comics in the classroom by viewing the archive of our OK2Ask session Engage & Inspire: Comics in the Classroom, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomThere is a multitude of ways to use comics/cartoons in the classroom. For instance, create one-page discussion starters to help students keep up with current political issues. Use comics to show sequencing of events, for example, explain the sequence of a story, a science concept, or current event! When studying about characterization, create a dialog to show (not tell) about a character. Use comic strips for literature responses. Another idea - why not use the comics for conflict resolution or other guidance issues (such as bullying). Sometimes it is easier for students to write it down (or draw the pictures) than use the actual words. Emotional support and autistic support teachers can work with students to create strips about appropriate interpersonal responses and feelings. World language and ENL/ESL teachers can assign students to create dialogue strips as an alternative to traditional written assessments; summarize through a comic. Challenge students who move through other assignments more quickly to create a cartoon for review of a topic studied in class. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate dialogues that introduce new content topics in your classroom. Students can use this "witty" tool to introduce topics from research or to practice a speech to be given in class. Use comics to create a dialogue discussing misconceptions in the content and a discussion of the actual facts to dispel the misunderstandings. For more ideas about using comics in the classroom see Comics Workshop for Teachers. To view more comic creator tools and ideas view this collection. Some suggested comic creators are Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here, ToonyTool, reviewed here, Write Comics, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): comics and cartoons (41)
In the ClassroomHave small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of what the class just learned. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon depicting the characters and plot. Have students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant, the planets, or a butterfly's life cycle. Use these templates for students to plan out storyboards for more involved projects, such as videos. Alternatively, have students use one of the templates for a rough draft before creating and online comic. In emotional support or autistic support classes, create comics to show how people interact. In world languages or with ENL/ESL students, create comics to reinforce correct language. Looking for even more comic resources? Check out TeachersFirst's complete collection of Comics and Cartoons.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomCreate and share picture books using the Picture Book Maker Tool and the Super Action Comic Maker. Once students have created books, print to use at reading centers or create links on classroom computers for reading online. With younger students, have them create pages and then add their weekly spelling words scattered on the pages. This will give them practice both writing (typing) and reading their spelling words! Create short stories about a story's main character, setting, conflict, etc. instead of book reports. Images are limited, but text of any kind can be added.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThe possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Teach parts of speech and grammar by having students write captions using colorful adjectives, adverbs, or specific sentence structures on a random photo. Make classroom signs and reminders. Caption the homework directions on your teacher web page. Ask your students to create captions for class photos for all sorts of reasons. Use this site for back to school fun. Post a photo of yourself with a caption on your class website introducing yourself to the class during the summer. Challenge each student to find/share a photo of themselves either the first week of school (or even prior to school). You will want parental permission before posting any student photos on your class website. Use photos or digital drawings from your classroom, such as pictures taken during any hands-on activity. Have students draw in a paint program, save the file, and then add a caption. Spice up research projects about historic figures or important scientists. Have literary characters "talk" as part of a project. In a government class, add captions to photos explaining politicians' major platform planks during election campaigns. Caption the steps for math problem solving. Even elementary grades can make captions of an animal talking about his habitat or a "community helper" talking about his/her role, though you may have to do it together as a class to upload the image. Make visual vocabulary/terminology sentences with an appropriate character using the term in context (a beaker explaining how it is different from a flask?). Students could also take pictures of themselves doing a lab and then caption the pictures to explain the concepts. Share the class captions on your class web page or wiki. Leave directions to your class (for when a substitute is there). Use at back to school night to grab parent attention to important announcements. Have students make talking photos of themselves as a visual tour of their new classroom for parents attending back to school night. World language classes can create images explaining and using new vocabulary. Use the site's random photo offerings for clever caption contests in your new language. Have gifted students create Phase.it pictures to explain new knowledge they gain in going beyond the basics. For example, as the class studies plate tectonics, they could make a collection of volcano images "explaining" their own history or describing the Ring of Fire. Gifted students of all ages can make simple Phrase.it images to share their own thought provoking questions about curriculum content, such as "Which figure of speech would Shakespeare be willing to give up?" Be sure to include these thought provokers on a class wiki or blog for others to respond! (No need to single out the "thinker" by mentioning who created it if it would cause ridicule.)
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or sites. In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Consider making them into a collage and posting it on your webpage. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use caption bubbles for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more. Share the results (with an image credit) on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis collection offers rich opportunities during the study of World War II. Students can trace the tensions and events of the war year by year or by issue. Redefine students' learning by having pairs or small groups create their own comic about a current event and explain it using Thinglink, reviewed here, an image annotation tool that allows you to reference images by URL, add text, links, audio and video.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomBe sure to check out Teachers First's Comics Resources for many other ideas and tools for using comics in the classroom. Comics are great for extending and modifying student learning and understanding by telling the "story" of any curriculum concept, such as insect life cycles or biographies. They are also very creative for using with languages, ESL/ELL, gifted, and learning resource students for writing.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomDemonstrate how to create and use a storyboard using this tool on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). View stories from the gallery for inspiration before attempting to have students create their own. Create a storyboard and share when teaching creative writing techniques or story mapping. Have students tell the story they have viewed. Challenge students to create a storyboard of readings recently finished in class as a review of characters and story plot. Use storyboards as the first step in planning larger projects from plays to videos.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCreate a comic to put on your website. Share this tool and the 10 Tips for Writing Good Comics with your students. You might want to use Write Comics to display the vocabulary word of the day, the math puzzle of the week, a concept your students are learning in social studies or science as an example and to engage students. Have students create comic strips for dialog-writing lessons, summarizing, predicting and retelling stories. Use comic strips for literature responses. For pre-reading students, create a comic of pictures and have students tell the story based on the pictures/scenes. It's a good idea to require students to create a rough draft of their comic using Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here. Make a class book of the comics created throughout the year. That book will become the most read classroom book of all in an elementary classroom. Use comics to show sequencing of events. When studying about characterization, create dialog to show (not tell) about a character. World language and ENL/ESL teachers can assign students to create dialog strips as an alternate to traditional written assessments. Have students share all of their comics on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades2 to 12
This site also features writing prompts. To find the writing prompts, click Comic Starters or Writing from the top menu.