Dec 5, 2016

Digital Comics with Google Slides

๐Ÿ“› Problem

Digital comic creation tools have limited functionality, require account creation, and can be very difficult to incorporate collaboration between group members.

๐Ÿ’ก Solution

Google Slides provides an environment where students can work collaboratively, arrange images and text easily, and publish a professional looking digital comic strip.

If you are looking for an alternative way to have students write stories, consider the power of digital comics (or graphic novels if you prefer).  Instead of fussing around with other third party tools, Mrs. Fujimoto's 8th grade language arts class and I decided to use something we were all familiar with; Google Slides.  Not only was it the easiest platform I could find, but it also allowed for the smoothest collaboration between students.  So let's take a look at how we did it!


We started with a previous lesson plan that had been used to teach mystery writing.  It involved students writing a story around the plot points of a Scooby Doo mystery.  With the transition to a digital graphic novel, we needed to incorporate a few different techniques.  First, we were able to group students up to foster collaboration.  What a difference this made in their enthusiasm and accountability!  Now we needed to create a set of materials to provide to the groups that would help guide them through the project.  These materials would be delivered through a single Assignment in Google Classroom.
  1. Story Board (with a copy made for each student)
  2. Comic Strip Google Sheet Template (copy made for each student)
  3. Project Checklist with included rubric
  4. Sample Comic for viewing (link)
  5. Video tutorial on using Slides for comics (link)
  6. A folder of images for starters (link)
I created the sample comic, video tutorial, and curated the images for the class, and Mrs. Fuji did the rest.  The sample images folder is a great idea for a few reasons.  First, it gives the students visuals to help them start working on their storyboard.  They can find settings, characters, and props that might spur their imaginations into various directions.  Second, it cuts down the amount of time that students spend searching for images that they want.  Not to mention that finding images with transparent backgrounds throws students off sometimes (though, you'll notice a section in the help video dedicated to learning this useful search technique).


Day 1: Discuss the checklist/rubric, establish groups, start working on the storyboard.  Students were allowed to look through the pre-established images to help spur the imagination.  They were also given a paper copy of the storyboard to work on if they preferred that over the digital template (most groups worked digitally).

Day 2: Sean came in and demonstrated the model comic, pointed the students to the help video, and stressed the importance of establishing a strong storyboard before starting work on the Google Slide deck.

Day 3-5: Work time. Sean made a few more appearances to assist students with some of the questions that they had about image manipulation and slide setup.

This was an incredibly fun project to work on, and the kind of thing that your instructional technology coaches absolutely love to collaborate on.  If you are interested in this, or any other project for your classroom, please contact your instructional technology coach today!

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