Crash! Boom! Bang! (Writing with Comics)

onomatopoeia comic10
We’re shifting into Figurative Language techniques as we move towards poetry — a bit earlier this year for us for scheduling reasons. The other day, we tackled onomatopoeia (the hardest word to spell when your type fast) by using comics as our jumping off point. We began with a Wordle list that I generated of various sound effects.
sound effects

After talking about the use of sound effect words in comics and its use as an art form to denote action and sound on a flat page, and then looking at a comic page in which onomatopoeia was used, students then had the task of creating their own comic strip about whatever they wanted, using at least five examples of onomatopoeia. They did a nice job with their comics, and you could have heard a pin drop when they were working on them, too. They seemed surprised that we were doing comics for writing class. But any chance to give them a taste of some alternative form of writing and reading is something worth gravitating to. Don’t dismiss comics as juvenile literacy. There’s a lot going on in those frames.
See some of the other comics.

Oh, we also watched the short cartoon from the Dr. Seuss story, Gerald McBoing Boing (the boy who doesn’t speak words). The kids loved the video, even though the cartoon is pretty dated. But the show’s art is something I love — it is so very different from any other cartoon, particularly the Looney Toons of the same era. And since Gerald talks in sound effects, it is a perfect example of onomatopoeia. I have the DVD but, no surprise, you can find it online, too.

Peace (in the comic frames),


  1. A few thoughts:

    1. I’ve never seen the video before, but I dig the animation. I’m an animation geek. It’s part of why I like watching the Christmas shows (especially the animation of Frosty and Charlie Brown, but also some obscure ones from the fifties) because they aren’t identical to the Disney stuff. But this . . . man, this is awesome.

    2. I love the combination of hand-drawn and technology that you encourage. To me, that’s the type of blending that we need to see more of.

  2. Awesome…I am going to have to steal this idea. Thinking out the comic strip is also a great way to build upon the narrative skills we’ve been working on in writing workshop. I can see why the kids were so quiet while working on this!

  3. Students are so capable of doing so much. Wonderful lesson & loved the comics. I’ve done this with book responses sometimes & even content research, but never thought of using it for onomatopoeia. Thanks for sharing all!

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