Kids of all ages love cartoon characters and comics, so why not take advantage of that positive connection? Comic strips are sequential in nature and generally use both words and images to convey their message. Templates are a good option because having the panels already on the page provides some helpful structure and takes away the fear of the dreaded "blank page." Offering several different designs allows students to choose the layout that appeals to them.
The educational concepts and topics that work well in a comic format are endless. Almost any subject matter or grade level is a possibility from STEM to ELA and beyond, and it doesn’t have to be humorous. Those students that prefer not to draw can make a collage of photos. We’ll start with ideas for a specific number of panels.
2 Panel Comic
• Before and After
• Then and Now: for example, what your street looked like 100 years ago and today
• Main Idea and Key Details
• Cause and Effect
• Pros and Cons
• DOs and DONT’s
• Fact vs. Opinion
• Idiom: Literal and Understood meaning
• Theme vs. Main Idea of a story
• Proper and Common nouns
• Synonyms and Antonyms
• Prefixes vs. Suffixes
• Fiction and Nonfiction characteristics
• Contraction vs. Two Words such as I’ll vs. I will
• Even and Odd numbers
• Numerals and Number Names
• 2D shapes and 3D shapes
3 Panel Comic
• Beginning, Middle, and End of a story, event, or process
• A 3-step sequence such as making the bed: First, Next, Last
• A life cycle process such as Seed, Sprout, Flower
• Main Character, Setting, Plot
• Author’s Purpose definitions: Persuade, Inform, Entertain
• KWL chart: what I Know, what I Want to know, what I Learned
• Place Value: Standard form, Word form, Expanded form
• Fraction Forms: Number, Words, Picture
• Types of Fractions: Proper, Mixed Numbers, Improper
• Types of Lines: Parallel, Perpendicular, Intersecting
• Steps in an illustrated recipe
• Text Connections: to Text, Self, and World
4 Panel Comic
• The 4 Seasons: a tree or scene as it changes through the year
• Types of Sentences: Declarative, Interrogative, Exclamatory, Imperative
• Ways to Revise: Add, Remove, Move, Substitute
• How to Edit: Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling
• Types of Angles: Obtuse, Acute, Right, Straight
• Story summary: Characters, Setting, Problem, Solution
• Sights, Smells, Sounds, Tastes of a country, holiday, habitat
• Science concepts such as erosion, growth, mitosis, the scientific method, and so on
• Graphic novels
• Things to do on vacation
• My goals
• Jokes and riddles
• Autobiography or biography
• Book report
• Advertisement for a fund-raiser
• Tell a story using dialog only
• Define vocabulary words
• Illustrate verbs, nouns, adjectives
• Measure something several ways
• Write word problems and solutions
• Compare two or more ideas, books, people, or objects
• Define several fiction genres
• News story with Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?
• Back to School get-acquainted activity: My Pets, Favorite Foods, Hobbies, Interests
• How-to Steps: carve a pumpkin, rake leaves, build a snowman, or plant a seed
• Facts about Bats, Turkeys, Reindeer, President Lincoln, and so on
• New Year’s Resolutions
• Things I love for Valentine's Day
• My Favorite President: Opinion and Evidence
• Signs of ______: a season, event, or holiday
Tips for Creating Comics in the Classroom
1) Write ideas and sketches on scrap paper first.
2) Choose template or draw panels to organize content. Don’t forget to leave space for a title and student name.
3) Write and draw in pencil first.
4) Use numbers and/or arrows to guide readers if reading order is important.
5) Go over pencil lines with pen or marker (or paste in cut out pictures.) Color if desired with favorite coloring tools.
6) Add more pages as needed.
So, I got on a roll with these ideas and there are a few more than fifty as it turns out. Hopefully these will be inspiring, and students will no doubt think of other great ways to use the comic format for thinking, writing, and making pictures about multiple topics. With all these different options, it would be easy to make new comics every week!
It’s not that difficult to make your own templates with a simple graphics program. If you would prefer print and go printable pages with 40 templates including themes such as apple, pumpkin, and Christmas tree layouts plus extras such as comic-style words and speech bubbles, please visit this link in my TPT shop.
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Thanks for stopping by and happy reading, teaching, creating, and/or taking a break!