Deborah Zamin’s Grade 8 class from John English Junior Middle School has been making some fantastic group-work comics about responsibility and empathy. They’re our final class of the week before the holiday break. Here’s what Deborah has to say:
Tell us about your students’ reaction to Bitstrips for Schools.
They really enjoyed working on their assignments and I was so impressed by the volume and depth of their stories. Even from the get go, with the creation of the class avatars – they were enthusiastic. I think they enjoyed being able to login to our class and find their name on the class roster for them to click and get going and that was neat. The media literacy itself assignment was a rather serious topic on Responsibility and Empathy and yet the comic strip genre did not impede them in any way from conveying their message in an appropriatel way. I really liked the way website allowed us to transcend genres. The comics did require use of the steps of the writing process as well – many groups went through multiple drafts. We discussed how crucial those steps are in drafting a written essay as well.
Your students have made tons of Bitstrips! What kind of stuff have they been about?
Absolutely. Making it fun means kids will write more. The website was a student-centered versus teacher-centered unit wherein students become tutors of other students and even taught me about the many features as we went along. I observed that the site is accessible and encourages all learning styles. It was similar to writing their own mini graphic novel, which is a popular genre among students.
How has Bitstrips for Schools helped you teach?
It has emphasized the relevance of media literacy in classroom teaching. The students are comfortable with and enjoy using technology and it promotes communication among them. Bitstrips was exceedingly easy to use to prepare a class assignment, it is accessible, intuitive and straightforward The Bitstrips lent itself well to use of our interactive SmartBoard in the lab and other media such as video, film, music and photography. When it came time to present their projects, it was really neat to see the multiple forms of technology they incorporated into their work all originating from the creation of their comics. There was nothing to dislike about the site – I had fun myself with comics.
Start by viewing activities that other teachers have shared and attempt one with your class. Go through the classroom set up of names and design your own avatar to demonstrate your own motivation. Have fun with it! Give students school time to work on their projects… it is time consuming.
It is fun as a group project.
Happy Holidays to you all. You are doing a great job!Responsibility and Empathy by Kathleen, Ioana, Jillian, and Andrew.