Class of the Week: Deborah Zamin’s Grade 8s!

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?

Responsibility & Empathy stories (aligned with the Toronto District School Board’s Character Education Program whereby one character attribute is promoted per each month of the school year). Also, I assigned a shared activity from the site’s shared activities on Emotions. Many students also had fun exploring comic creation and submitted ‘fun’ and ‘spoofy’ comics for me and the class to share. I encouraged their creativity and enthusiasm.

Did you learn anything new about your students through their comics?

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.

What advice do you have for other teachers on getting the most out of Bitstrips for Schools?

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.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Happy Holidays to you all. You are doing a great job!

Responsibility and Empathy by Kathleen, Ioana, Jillian, and Andrew.


9 responses to “Class of the Week: Deborah Zamin’s Grade 8s!

  1. im a gr 11 student in cornwall ontario i attend st josephs secondary school.
    how would you become class of the week
    we are a grade 11 class and really enjoy your site

  2. Nice Job guys keep it up.
    Mr. Gee

  3. you all look good Im lola and you are the

    CLASS OF THE WEEK!!! lol

  4. finally something is good.=)keep it up!

  5. whitney cloutier

    great job

  6. whitney cloutier from 8b

    this is great!!!!!!! Especially mme zamin she is a sweetheart and she is much much more example kind, caring, positive all the time!!!!!!

    tell her whitney cloutier wrote this on here!!!!!!!!

    She is # 1 on my favourite teacher list

    she will always be my favourite!!!!!!!!!

    by: whitney cloutier

  7. could you look at some of pps 8bs comics

  8. i don’t get it………………

  9. really great comics. original and funny. congratulations 8C!

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