I brought a group of teachers at a recent Professional Development session into Bitstrips to show them what a comic space looks like and to work around the idea of digital identity and avatar creation. Yeah, lots of laughter and giggling, and then thoughtful reflections at the end. That’s how PD should work, right?
Over at the Make/Hack/Play, we are encouraged to Make in physical space. I returned to an idea from the summer and worked to remix the Sunday Comics. This is trickier than at first blush because creating a connected narrative from very different comics, writers, characters and story lines is hard.
Here, you have to read each comic with two frames of mind: the comic itself and the story within that small framed narrative AND the larger lens of how might part of this storyline or picture take part in a larger story to be remixed. And you don’t often know what that story will be until you have read all the comics in the section (unless you get lucky and find something neat right away in the first few comics you read). Once you have the larger narrative, you have to figure out which pieces will fit to tell the story, which — to be honest — will always be a bit jagged, due to the mix of art and narratives.
But that’s remixing for ya.
For this Sunday Comic Remix, I centered on a frame from Dilbert about an accusation of using Google Glass in a meeting without permission, which led to an almost dream-like sequence of embarrassment moments, and then there is an apology, followed by a meta-comic from from Doonsbury with a final combustible ending.
I wish the quality of the photo were better (sorry!) but I took it on the iPad. The frame and writing was added in Flickr with the Aviary suite of tools.
It will be no surprise to readers here that I love comics, particularly comics that treat teaching, learning and writing as fodder for fun. This collection from the comic strip Foxtrot — entitled Math, Science and Unix Underpants — had me laughing up a storm through the house, even in places where the jokes were a little too geeky even for me. If you don’t read Foxtrot, by Bill Amend, the stories center on the family that includes a younger brother who is whiz at math and science and technology. He’s the kid who looks forward to that difficult math test and who hacks the family computer (the iFruit) on a regular basis.
There is no connected story theme to this collection, other than plenty of guffaws around science experiments gone awry, math problems as inspiration for mayhem, and computer nerdiness galore. The comics here stretch back years, so there are some outdated jokes about outdated technology. I didn’t mind. For me, it was enough to be laughing out loud. I am actually going to photocopy a bunch of these gems for my classroom.
Our school theme this month is about “respect,” which turns out to a tricky concept even for sixth graders. It’s not as concrete as our theme of “kindess” from last month. We had a long conversation the other day about what respect might look like, and then I had my students go into our comic site to create ideas around respect. Here are a few:
We went on a whitewater rafting trip last week and when we got back, I challenged my students to create comics about the trip, using some of our vocabulary words. A few have gone into our webcomic site but a few chose to do traditional comics.
This will be no surprise to those who read me here, but I was making some webcomics as part of my thinking around Connected Educator Month. The third one dipped into my cynical side as I was scrolling through some of the “Partners” with the federal folks on CE13, and mulling over the times of so many events. (And I got some pushback from the CE folks on Twitter when I shared that one, too, as they explained the difficulties of logistics for scheduling events. They noted that many teachers watch recordings of presentations later. I countered that strong connections come from participating in live events, in the moment, not from watching a recorded webinar where you are a passive viewer. But I do understand the difficulty that they face in scheduling on such a large scale.) I am actually partial to the second comic, with the fish, for some reason. Maybe it is because I am part of a School …
My students are working on their Dream Scene projects (done in a webcomic space) and I am enjoying getting to know them a little better through their aspirations (Note: I am sharing two versions here — the flash version and then the image version.)
My students are working on a start-of-the-year project known as a Dream Scene. They are envisioning some point in the future and thinking about a goal that they have to get there. In the past few years, we have created digital stories for dream scenes, but some technical issues (mostly, moving from PC to Mac and me not being ready for this project) have us instead working in our Bitstrips for Schools webcomic space.
Or as a flash file:
I shared out my own Dream Scene with them yesterday as they began their rough draft work. Today, they will head into the site and use an activity template to create their own. I love this project because it gives me a chance to know more about who they are as a person and where they see themselves going. Some of them really spend a lot of time mulling this one over!