Thursday, October 13, 2016

Four Social Studies Lessons You Can Update With Comics

Through the course of a school year I field a lot of questions that go something like this, “I need to use technology in my classroom, but I’m not sure where to start. Can you help me?” Integrating online tools into your classroom doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything you’ve done in the past. In fact, one of the best ways to do it is to take one of your “old, reliable” lessons and update it a bit with some easy-to-use online tools. Pixton is a good choice for an online tool that you can use to infuse some technology into your lessons.

Pixton is an online tool that your students can use to create comics, graphic novels, and storyboards. Even folks like me who don’t have any talent for drawing can create great comic stories on Pixton. That is because Pixton provides users with huge galleries of artwork to drag, drop, and manipulate into comics, storyboards, and graphic novels. Learn how to use Pixton by watching the short video found here.

Here are four common social studies lessons that you can update with Pixton.

1. Create short biographies of historical figures. Have students select a key moment from a person’s life. Then ask your students to illustrate that moment. For example, students studying John F. Kennedy could use Pixton to illustrate a conversation between JFK and Bobby Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

2. Illustrate a timeline of an event or series of events. Pixton offers a free lesson plan designed around this concept. The lesson plan includes making timelines of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and of the War of 1812. Rather than simply writing summaries of key events, students create illustrations of the events. A suggested scoring rubric is included in the free lesson plan.

3. How might history have been different if the communication technology we have today was available 200, 300, or 500 years ago? Ask your students to think about that question then illustrate the outcome. Students can use some of the artwork available in Pixton to simulate text message and or email exchanges between historical characters like George Washington and Ben Franklin.

4. Diagram and explain branches of government. Pixton offers a free lesson plan in which students create storyboards about the powers and responsibilities of the President of the United States. Creating this storyboard is a good way for students to show what they know about all of the powers and responsibilities the President has.

You can find dozens of more lesson plans in Pixton’s lesson plan library. A tutorial on Pixton’s basic functions can be watched here.

Disclosure: Pixton is an advertiser on