Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Using comics in class

By Bill Ivey, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Greenfield, MA, USA

When I was a lecteur in EFL at the Universite de Bordeaux III, they taught me an exercise that I liked very much. It works best with strips with lots of panels.

Make two copies of the strip. Cut one copy into individual frames. Put two students back to back, one with the original, one with the cut-up version. Have one student give the other student directions as to how to reconstruct the original strip.

This works best with strips with minimal language (or tell the students they must describe; they can't simply quote the strip). We used to make enough copies to have the whole class working simultaneously, sometimes running it as a race.

Alternatively, something my wife and I have done is white-out the original dialogue, and have students fill in their own.

Finally, you could white-out the original dialogue, give students a sheet with only the lines of dialogue written on it, and have them reconstruct the original strip.

I have tried all these ideas; they all work well.

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