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Monday, September 12, 2016

Pixton Offers a Great Way to Create Engaging Writing Lessons

For years I’ve advocated for using comics as a way to get students engaged in the writing process. To many students, creating a comic seems a lot less intimidating and a lot more fun than simply writing a story on a blank sheet of paper. One of my favorite ways to have students use comics is to create and share stories about themselves. Students can create cartoon characters to represent themselves in a story. They can create the characters in their likeness or make the characters appear completely different from themselves, thereby telling a story in an anonymous fashion.

Pixton is one of the great tools that students can use to create comics. Pixton provides excellent, free lesson plans to help you get your students engaged in writing through comic creation.

Pixton is a drag-and-drop cartoon creation tool which allows anyone to create great comics regardless of their drawing skills. In Pixton you can tell stories through comics by using pre-made scenes and characters, or by developing your own custom characters and scenes. My preference is to use a mix of pre-made background settings and customized cartoon characters. You can choose how many characters you want to appear in each frame of your comic. A nice touch in Pixton is that you can quickly change the poses of your characters in each scene of your comic. Just click or tap the actions button to select from large variety of character poses.

Unlike some other comic creation tools, Pixton lets you choose from a variety of layout formats including graphic novel styles, storyboard formats, mind maps, and traditional comic strips. Another nice feature of Pixton’s formatting options is the ability to change background scenes from one frame to the next.

Applications for Education
As mentioned above, one of my favorite ways to have students use comics is create and share stories about themselves. At the beginning of the school year when we’re trying to get to know our students and they’re trying to get to know each other, telling a fun personal story can be a good way for students to show a bit of their personalities. You could do this in Pixton by having students first choose or create cartoon characters to represent themselves in the story. Then have them choose and/or modify background scenes for each frame of their stories. Finally, let them write character dialogues or monologues.

Often the writing of the story comes fairly easily once students have chosen their characters and background scenes. This is because, throughout the process of choosing characters and scenes, they’re thinking about the highlights of their stories.

Visit Pixton’s free lesson plans depot to find many more great ideas for teaching with comics. You’ll find lesson plans there for all subject areas and grade level

Disclosure: Pixton is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com