Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bitstrips in the FL Classroom

So it's May 19, and I'm still on Free Tools Challenge #3 lol.  When I saw this challenge, I knew I'd fall behind, because I needed to find the right objective, and that's not always easy at this time of year.  In fact, I'm still thinking maybe I didn't choose the right one, but I did get to try a new tool, and my kids are having a blast.
So I'm using it (present tense because we're finishing up in the lab tomorrow) with a level 1 French class to get them writing about leisure activities.  Their task is to create a 10 frame comic strip about a weekend (theirs, or the character(s) they create) and the activities taking place.
The tool was a fantastic success. The students are taking to it like ducks to water, needing very little guidance, although none of them had been on the site prior to this morning.  They were easily able to create characters, find premade characters that interested them, change scenes from frame to frame, add props, control the positions of characters, etc.  Adding text with thought bubbles is very easy, although the drawback as a foreign language teacher, is that students need to know keyboard shortcuts for diacritical marks, or they cannot put them in the text.
The drawback for me, is that students for the most part seem to be spending more time creating their "artwork" than using the language.  This is not altogether surprising, and I'm pretty sure I won't use this tool again for this particular assignment, but I will definitely keep it in my arsenal for future use, perhaps in a level 2 or 3 class.
What do you all think?

Addendum to this post:  here are a couple of student work samples:


  1. Thanks for writing your post to let us know how you went using this tool with your students.

    Very important point regarding them focusing on the artistic part rather than the language. Wonder if something like Story Birds would be a better option for them? -

  2. I do like storybird, although I haven't yet tried it, and I had somehow envisioned using it at level 2 or 3. I'll have to review it again with my 1s in mind. Thanks for the suggestion