With the holidays quickly approaching, we’ve updated the Art Library to include a number of new props and scenes that are perfect for celebrating the season. You can access the new props quickly by doing a search for ‘holidays’ in the Art Library, and find the new scenes by scrolling through the list. From menorahs to snow men to full winter scenes, the library is FULL of holiday related items.
If you’re looking for a fun way to use all these great items, we’re also featuring a bunch of holiday-themed activities: students can create greeting cards for family & friends, make Christmas carol comics, or share how they plan to spend the holidays. Check out these activities and many more.
Here’s a small sampling of the new scenes you and your students can use. Enjoy!
If you’re discussing Remembrance Day with your students, these challenging activities will help get them thinking about the men and women who have died in war, and why we observe this important day each year.
We’ve just added a poppy to the Art Library for the occasion.
You can find it by searching for ‘poppy’ under the Search tab in the Art Library. Just drag and position the poppy onto any character to show him or her wearing it. You can use the group tool to “attach” it to your character’s clothing.
Remembrance Day activities
This new feature is a major time saver. When you’re working with lots of different art pieces and need to apply the same changes to all of them, manipulating them individually can be tricky and tedious. Now there’s a simple solution – group them together.
To group objects, click on them one at a time while holding down the Shift key – you’ll see one big blue box enclose every object you click on, as in the image above. Once you’ve selected everything you want to group, hit the new Group button in the controls at the bottom. Your group now works as though it’s a single object that you can move, scale, rotate, and even apply filters to, all at the same time!
Grouping makes customizing your layouts much faster and simpler, and once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
If you need a prop we haven’t added to the Art Library yet, or just want to give a comic your own artistic flair, the new draw tool lets you create literally anything you can imagine.
Hit the Draw button to start drawing – your mouse turns into a pencil, and the rest is up to you. Click Done when you’re done, and your finished drawing works like any other prop that you can move, scale and duplicate.
Check out the Draw tool now and start unleashing your inner Picasso!
Quick video tutorial
One of the big improvements we’ve made to the Comic Builder is putting the most commonly used tools right inside every comic panel. Now when you click inside a panel, icons pop up around the borders.
After clicking inside a panel, mouse over the button in the bottom left corner to reveal controls for working with backgrounds. These are the same familiar controls that let you move, zoom and rotate an entire scene – the only difference is that they now appear inside whichever panel you’re working on.
Copy and paste panels in one click
You can instantly copy and paste whole panels by hitting the Duplicate Panel button on the bottom right of a selected panel. This automatically populates the next panel in your comic with an exact copy.
Change the order of panels
This one is a completely new feature and could save you tons of time if you often need to switch up the order your panels are in. Click the Move Panel button in the top corner to swap that panel with the one that it’s pointing to. The button above is pointing right, so clicking on it instantly swaps the contents of that panel with the one to the right. You can also swap to the left by starting in the right panel and hitting the button pointing left.
Change panel sizes
We’ve also made it simpler to resize panels – look for these new square ‘handles’ along the borders of any selected panel. Then click and drag them to change the size.
Stay tuned to learn about more new features, or better yet, open up the Comic Builder and explore for yourself!
We’ve made a tradition of launching a ton of new stuff each September, and this year is no exception. With over 1,000 responses to our June survey (thank you!), we’ve had a very busy summer implementing your most popular suggestions. Next time you log in, you’ll discover lots of improvements, including –
– Simpler comic controls
– A huge batch of new artwork
– Lots of new curriculum-connected activities
– Picture-perfect printing
– A new and improved Help section
In the coming weeks, we’ll tell you more about all of these additions and show you how to get the most out of Bitstrips for Schools this year.
We hope everyone had an awesome summer. Welcome back!
When you visit your Class Gallery page, you’ll notice an amazing new feature – the option to share class comics with everyone! Now parents, colleagues and your whole community can read all of the inventive comics your students are making.
How to share your gallery
If you haven’t previously shared your gallery, you’ll find a blue box with instructions on the Class Gallery page –
Click the Preview public gallery link to see how your gallery will appear to others. To make it public, click the Enable public class gallery button.
Next you’ll see a link that you can share. Visitors to this link will only be able to see comics that you’ve posted on your gallery – the rest of your classroom stays private, as always.
And finally, here’s what a public gallery looks like –
Clicking any comic preview box opens a viewer where visitors can easily read all of your class comics in sequence!
You can turn public galleries on and off anytime from your Class Settings page – just check or un-check the Enable public class gallery box under Class Permissions.
Over 30,000 comics are made on Bitstrips for Schools each day – let the avalanche of shared comics begin!