Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology

Captivating Ideas for Writing with Cartoons

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

After blogging about this before I’m sure you know by now that I’m a big advocate for using cartoons to get students writing.  So, here we go again with more detail and more ideas.  provides an easy tool for creating short comic strips.  You can choose to have a 2, 3, or 4 window comic strip.  Students can email or print it out for their teacher.

I made this cartoon with this new tool.  short, quick, and easy


Why Comic Strips:

1.       Comic strips are about good writing not good pictures. 

2.       It helps them hewn their skills of knowing their audience. 

3.       It helps them focus on important content and story line.  (key story elements)

4.       It gives them a strategy to order the sequence of events. (beginning, middle, and end)

5.       Students will learn how to infer ideas to their readers.

6.       The student must know the Plot, Scene, and Characters to write a good comic strip.

7.       Students will use “voice” as their character develops. 

8.       Students will learn how to write dialogue correctly.  (bubbles mean quotation marks)

9.       It makes the student think outside the box. (no pun intended)

10.   While using their higher order thinking skills they will learn to analyze and think critically.

Strategies for Using Comic Strips:

1.       Have a collection of quality comic strips for your students to analyze. 

2.       Discuss character development. Who? What were they like? Why are they that way? Look at the “voice” of the character. What is their personality like?

3.       Discuss the story line.  Does it have a plot?  What is the point?  Did it communicate?

4.       Discuss the setting.  Where? When?

5.       Have students create a scrapbook of their favorite comics.

a.       They should collect different styles. Funny, Serious, Political, etc.

b.      Have them do some research about the history of the comic they like.

6.       Start with a sequence of pictures or drawings and have the student fill in the script.  This takes the focus off of the drawing and puts it on the content.

7.       Have the students stick with their character for several comics.  This will give them a chance to develop the characters personality.

8.       Keep the comics short.  This is not a comic book project.  At least not yet.

9.       Have the students use their characters and write a full length story based on their comic strips.  You’ll be surprised as to how they turn out.


After reading this post, take a look at these TEKS and just imagine how you can use comic strips to teach these.  If you aren’t in Texas and you are reading this take a look at your state’s writing standards.


If you have other ideas please leave a comment.  I’ll add it to the list.  This list is not exhaustive nor is it the only way to teach writing.  It’s only one of many strategies that I have used. 


After writing this post I felt like I may need some supporting documentation, so I turned to good ol Google.  Here are some links to what I found.

Wish I had this when I needed it!  It’s full of templates, ideas, samples, tools, and a rubric.


Here is a Comic Strip Template from Microsoft.

Inspirational/Cartooning Extra

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Last weeks Tech Tip about Cartooning started some interesting buzz.  I’ve heard of several teachers using a Cartooning site with their students for writing.  If you found to be difficult to work with, found objectionable material, or you just didn’t want to create an account here are two others that you can use.  These are also free and do not require you to sign up for anything.

Here is a link to a lesson that someone created for comic strips in Second Grade.

These two sites have several lesson plans for 3-5th grade.

There are lots more lesson plans out there for Comic Strip Lessons.  Google is a good thing.

Again with any site “you” preview it first before you let your students on it. Be Safe!

Btw: is working on a student version for kids.  I’ll let you know when that comes out.


This week’s new Tech Tip is more inspirational than it is a tip.  The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia web site is a site for education and technology.  It has a video that dignifies the use of technology in the classroom.  It is 5 min long and worth it.  Let it inspire you to use technology in your classroom.

By the way, is a great site for learning more about technology integration.