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Create Google Slides comics to add some elements of fun to your lessons and enhance student engagement

Google Slides comics can boost learning engagement and improve reading comprehension. Discover ways to use them in the classroom and steps for creating them.
Create Google Slides comics to add some elements of fun to your lessons and enhance student engagement
Create Google Slides comics to add some elements of fun to your lessons and enhance student engagement

Incorporating the use of comics into your classroom activities can be a fun way to help engage students in academic content, develop their technological competency and enhance their understanding of the learning objectives. Whether you are teaching developing or proficient readers, comics can facilitate the comprehension and analysis of your classroom curriculum because of their concise, straightforward use of language and visual content. One easy way to implement comics into your classroom is through the Google Slides app. Read on to learn more about some ways you can incorporate comics into your lessons to help boost student engagement and comprehension and how to create Google Slides comics.

Ideas for incorporating student-created Google Slides comics in the classroom

There are a number of ways that you can incorporate comics into your lessons to increase student engagement in the classroom and strengthen understanding of the material in any subject area. By having students create their own comics, they can better develop their understanding of a topic by demonstrating what they know through the use of language and visuals. Google Slides comics can also be a great way to help English language learners access content and demonstrate their utilization of language skills.

In English language arts and foreign language classes, students can create comics to summarize or retell the events of a narrative text by highlighting the main characters, setting, plot, etc. You could even have students use comic strips to create their own narratives by designing characters and creating a language through speech bubble shapes and text boxes. Students could create a comic strip in history and social studies courses, to summarize a historical or cultural event, detailing the significant locations, time periods, historical figures, etc., in their comic strip. In a math or science class, students could create comics that demonstrate how to solve a problem step by step, or they could describe how a scientific process works. There are endless possibilities to using comics in any course, so feel free to experiment and see where you can best implement this fun strategy into your routine.

 teachers can implement comics in classroom lessons and Hāpara Workspace

Another way educators can use Google Slides comics as a teaching tool is by incorporating them into their instructional slideshows to convey the content in an appealing and concise format to help spice up a lesson. For instance, a math teacher could use a comic strip to demonstrate a character solving a quadratic equation. A text box on the slide can explain each step, or a Spanish teacher could use comics on a Google Slideshow to introduce new vocabulary.

Teachers could also create an entire online lesson, project or unit that utilizes comics and post the academic comic content in a Hāpara Workspace. The teacher could organize the Workspace into separate sections to help learners understand the learning targets of a lesson, enhance their understanding of the learning by reviewing a variety of resources, complete and submit their project and understand the assignment expectations by accessing the scoring rubric to guide learning. Within the Workspace, learners could access the online lessons, learning resources and instructions that incorporated Google Slides comics and work through the lessons synchronously or asynchronously.

For example, in an elementary school English class, a teacher that is doing a narrative unit could have students study anchor texts in order to analyze literary elements, create a Google Slideshow with comics that teaches the major literary elements like plot, character, theme, etc. and have learners plan to make their own story by completing a story map graphic organizer all within a Hāpara Workspace.

The students would work through the learning materials (videos, notes, articles, story maps, etc.), and as a final project, create their own fictional narrative in a comic using Google Slides, incorporating the literary elements they learned about. Upon completion, they would submit their narratives through the Hāpara Workspace. They would also be able to analyze the scoring guidelines within the Workspace to ensure they meet the learning target. As an enrichment activity within the Workspace, teachers could then have an online “gallery” in which students can review the comic narratives of their peers after completing the project.

Follow these steps to create Google Slides comics: How to change
the background and add characters

1. To create a comic strip using Google Slides, first open the Slides app in your Google Drive and create a new slideshow.
2. You will want to ensure that you are using ‘blank slide’ mode to create your comic. To switch your slides to blank mode, click the on the down arrow menu to the right of the ‘new slide’ option containing a plus sign. Then, select ‘apply layout’ and choose the ‘blank’ option.

3. Next, you will want to change the background to fit your project and create your desired setting. Google Slides has basic background themes to choose from, however, if you want a more specific background to better suit your topic, you can find more specific images through a Google search and then save those images to your Drive or to your computer. To change the background, you can select ‘Slide’ from the top Slideshow toolbar, and click on the ‘Change background’ option or you can select the ‘Background’ option if it is on your toolbar. When you go to insert an image, you can insert your saved images from your computer or Drive, or you may also search online from the menu for a desired background if you don’t have a specific image saved.

4. To add characters to your slides, you can insert an image saved from your computer by clicking ‘insert’, then selecting ‘upload from computer’, or you can find characters from the internet by selecting ‘search the web’ and then drag the image you select onto your slide. You can also insert characters to your slideshow by selecting the ‘Tools’ option from the toolbar, clicking ‘Explore’, performing an online search for your desired character, and dragging it to your slide. If you want to find a transparent character, be sure to add ‘png’ to your online search.

Follow these steps to add dialogue and captions to your comic

To make your characters come alive and speak or explain ideas, you can add speech bubbles that contain your character’s dialogue. You can also use this function to add text boxes that describe the setting of your story, or give context to the information you are trying to convey through your comic.

1. To add callouts, click on the ‘Shapes’ icon and click the ‘Callout’ option. There will be a variety of different shapes to choose from, so choose an option that best suits your task. Once inserted onto the slide, you can double click within that shape and type the desired text that your character will say.

2. To finalize your comic, you can make any necessary adjustments to your dialogue shapes and text boxes. To change the size of the speech bubble, click on the corner of the shape to increase or decrease its size, and then drag the image to move it to the desired location.

3. You can also click on the yellow button of a callout to change the direction of where the speech is coming from to help it match the character that is speaking.

4. To change the color of the callout or text box, click on the paint bucket icon in the toolbar, and choose the desired color for each shape. After creating your comic with your desired setting, characters and speech, the project will be ready to be presented in class.    

Using Google Slides comics in the classroom is an entertaining tool that enhances student learning and adds an extra element of fun into classroom activities. Try this technique today in your next lesson to increase engagement with your students.

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