Manda Long created comic books of the life in her classroom. Some of these are sociable and fun-oriented:
Some capture an academic task the group took on:
Manda was able to send these home, both as links to the files and as printouts. (They're also hanging on the wall outside Manda's room.)
Here are links to five examples, from last year and this year:
You'll also find Comic Life being put to use in the Title One reading room.
Comic Life is an iPad app. It uses the iPad's camera, so you can shoot the pictures right into the frames and edit the text on the iPad's screen. For teachers without an iPad, there's a version for Windows. If you're interested, ask me about getting a license.
Comic books are thinking in sequence. They capture the idea of an event in a way that's vibrant and fascinating to kids. The value of a project like this goes up hugely if the teacher thinks aloud for the kids: What should I include? What parts are important? How do I say this? And, of course, it's a terrific tool for communicating with families.
Older kids can make these on their own. Turn them loose explaining how to solve a math problem, the story of a school day, a class procedure, and so on. Make a daily comic book page so you have a big fat book by year's end. Or imagine: Make a comic book of a story, with the students as actors, but leave half the frames blank. Print it out, and let the kids draw and write the missing parts. There are, of course, many other ideas.
If you own an iPad, you should have Comic Life on it. If not, let me know and I'll find it for you. If you don't own an iPad, let me know and I'll see about securing a license for you. Or you can request that a member of 5th or 4th grade Camera Club to bring an iPad into your room and do the tech work for you. Just let me know.