- Key words:Comics, formulaic expressions, writing tasks, dialogues, conversation practice
- Learner English level:High beginner to advanced
- Learner maturity level:Junior high school and above
- Preparation time:30 minutes to acclimate yourself to the website
- Activity time:About 60 minutes
- Materials:Computer with internet connection
This activity allows students to practice, read, and write dialogues in a way that’s different and fun. It applies a graphic element in a simple way that allows all students, even those without artistic ability, to create their own comic strips—and if you are adventurous, entire comic books—without ever having to sketch anything. It employs the website <www.makebeliefscomix.com> to create comic strips for dialogues students write.
Step 1:Visit the website mentioned above and play around with the controls a bit to get the hang of it. It is really quite simple as each button is accompanied with a graphic making the instructions easy to follow.
Step 2:Look back through your syllabus and pull out a few situations (e.g.,expressing disbelief) that your students have studied.
Step 3:Make an example comic using one of the situations you have chosen and print it off to give students an idea of what is possible.
Step 1:Give a copy of the comic you made to the class. Ask them to read it and talk about the situation as a class. Sometimes, if students are up to it, it helps to discuss comic book language here (e.g.,How do we show that the character is thinking rather than speaking? How do we show that something is smelly?)
Step 2:Have the students visit the website in class and let them play around with the controls for a couple of minutes (e.g.,ask them to put in a thought bubble or change the facial expression of a character).
Step 3:List the situations on the board they are to write the dialogues on and remind them where they can find examples of them in the text.
Step 4:Have them write the dialogues in pairs or on their own and check them before they start to create the comic strip.
Step 5:Have the students create,print,and share their creations,or have them email them to a class list so that all the students can read them.
Making comics is an enjoyable way for the students to review natural language. The graphics add a visual element to the dialogue, which can be a great aid to retention. The website makes it easy to create professional-looking comics that learners can share with each other. The easy-to-use interface and the multiple options allow students of many different levels to write and read English in a stress-free and creative environment.
The website also has several ideas for using comics in class.
- The website MAKE BELIEFS COMIX:<www.makebeliefscomix.com/>
- Visit this website for a basic example of what can be created: <www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/?comix_id=21010728C172693>