For many years I’ve promoted the idea of using comics as a way to get students to develop fiction and nonfiction stories. In fact, I’ve hosted webinars in which I explained how I’ve used comics as the basis for getting students interested in telling history stories. For more than a decade Pixton has been one of the tools that I’ve used to help students develop fiction and nonfiction stories in comic form.
One of the things that drew me to Pixton many years ago was the wide variety of artwork that students can use to develop their stories. Even people like me who are not good at drawing can create great comics by using Pixton’s backgrounds, characters, and speech bubbles. Pixton EDU bundles many of those elements into thematic content packs. Those content packs can provide inspiration for stories while also giving students a variety of artwork with which to craft their stories. Let’s take a look at five elementary school lessons inspired by the content packs available in Pixton EDU.
Real World Mathematics
Pixton EDU offers a content pack called Math Shopping. In that pack are customizable backgrounds, characters, and prop items that can be used to tell stories of using mathematics concepts to make good choices while shopping. My thought was to have a little fun with this and have students illustrate examples of “bad math in the real world.” For example, I might tell the story of the time my local McDonald’s was advertising apple pies for .49/each or $1.00 for two.
It is never too early for students to start learning and developing good digital citizenship habits. One way to help students recognize good and bad digital citizenship is to share some stories as examples. Pixton EDU offers a content pack about bullying that could be used in telling stories of good and bad digital citizenship habits.
Use the Pixton EDU Solar System content pack to write a little solar system travel narrative. That narrative could be based on facts like the first moon landing or first Canadian to stay in the ISS. Students could also create a narrative that combines facts like distances between planets with fiction elements like putting themselves in a lunar building.
Learning to spell is full of tricky little rules to learn. It’s also full of handy rules of thumb like “I before E except after C.” Using the framework of a comic and the tools in Pixton EDU is a good way to have students illustrate those rules. Or use those same tools to create little stories in the style of “A is for Apple.”
Social Norms and Manners
There is a lot that kids learn in school that never appears in a grade. Many of those things could be classified as social norms or manners. You can use many of the content packs or just use the blank templates in Pixton EDU to illustrate some of those norms and manners. Better yet, have students use those packs to create a story to illustrate using good manners.
How to Get Started With Pixton EDUYou can register on Pixton EDU by using your G Suite account, your Microsoft account, or by using any email address and selecting a password. Once you’ve registered as a teacher you can create classrooms on Pixton EDU. Your classroom will be assigned its own unique URL that you can direct your students to in order to join your class. Students can join with G Suite accounts, Microsoft accounts, or by directly registering on Pixton EDU.
The advantage of having students join your Pixton EDU classroom is that you can see all of their work in one place. Additionally, you can send students feedback directly from your Pixton EDU classroom.
The best way to get familiar with using the Pixton EDU creation tools is to jump in and start customizing your avatar. Fortunately, Pixton EDU walks you through that process as soon as you register on the site. Likewise, your students will be guided through customizing their own avatars when they join your classroom.
After you’ve gotten the hang of customizing your avatar, you’ll be able to quickly customize characters as you make comics in Pixton EDU. Then you’ll be ready to start working with and customizing elements of any content packs. The Truth or Lie content pack is a free and fun one to use before moving into some of the project ideas that were suggested in the first half of this article.