Posts Tagged ‘cartoons’

Stripgenerator is another comic strip creation tool. I’ve blogged about a couple of these already (see Chogger, Witty Comics and Make Beliefs Comix) and Stripgenerator works much the same as these. Basically, the main difference between them all is really the style of comic strip character and artwork that you want to produce. Stripgenerator has a fairly cool, alternative-type thing going which I quite like, and I would probably use this one more than Make Beliefs Comix perhaps, as it also gives you a variety of items to pick from as well as characters. I reckon boys particular would like the style of characters that Stripgenerator offers.

Signing up is as usual free, and little information is asked for apart from a username, email address and password. Signing up means you can hoard your comic creations in your gallery and use them whenever you want, rather than having to print them out immediately (or screencapturing them) as you need to do with Make Beliefs Comix. You can also find created comics by tags or description by using the search function. Completed comics can be embedded onto websites or emailed to pupils, the email option being good for pupils to send you their completed work without having to worry about printing problems (a common excuse at my school! – either paper is missing or printers are seemingly always broken!)

Creating the comic is easy. Just choose which character and items you want to use and drag them into the panels. You have a choice of how many panels you want to use, and the tools to adapt the images are very easy to use. Here is a rapid creation of mine that I made in about 5 minutes.

Quick and easy and cool looking as well. As I say, it is worth having a go with this comic creator as well as Chogger, Witty Comics and Make Beliefs (and probably others too!) to find out which you and your pupils most like and which is easiest to use for what you need.

Another little tool for helping make speaking a bit more fun is Blabberize. It is a little similar to Voki (see earlier post on this) but a bit more basic perhaps. Rather than creating your own avatar from a series of cartoony figures, the difference here is that you will upload a photo from your computer, draw a mouth that will then move around when you are speaking and then either record or upload a recording. It is a very simple tool to use, requiring little practise, simply follow the instructions on the page and press the relevant buttons, and you will end up with an amusing little photo speaking in your voice.

The uses for this should be fairlyobvious too. I actually haven’t used it with a class yet, but I think I will use it with my 3rd and 4th form groups and get them to make little recordings on topics we will cover in class. I think it will be a good way to do descriptions for example – pick a photo of someone famous and they can describe them. It is a good tool for readying pupils for presentations and so on as well

It is a free tool to use, but you will need to sign up in order to save your blabberized photos. After you have finished and saved the little video, pupils will need to copy and paste the URL that they have made and email it to you. Theoretically, you could then embed them onto a webpage and share them with the class and maybe use them as a listening exercise.

 

I have already blogged about one cartoon creation webtool, Chogger, which is so far my favourite one to use. There are a couple of other alternatives for you and your pupils to make your own comic strips, and I’m going to introduce two of these today, Witty Comics and Make Beliefs Comix. These are both decent little tools, simple to use and with enough range to make them useful for a range of activities.

Starting with Witty Comics, go to the website here and click join to sign up (though you don’t necessarily have to). It is, naturally, free (long live free webtools!) Once you have done so you then have your 3 strip comic panel infront of you. You can adapt the background by clicking on the icons in the scene section, and change your characters by choosing which person you want for character 1 and 2. For the words, simply type in what you want them to be saying and choose the relevant speech bubble. And that’s really it! As I sau, there isn’t much else you can do with them, so possibly it doesn’t have as much flexibility as Chogger, but it does the job. Here is one I’ve quickly done for this blog.

You can click on this link to see it as well.

Make Beliefs Comix is very similar but you have a couple more options, as you can add more objects and move characters around the panel a bit more so there is more flexibility and therefore it could be used in more situations for vocabulary and so on. It is also a little more ‘cartoony’ than Witty Comics. You don’t have to signup which does mean that you have to either print out, screen capture or email to people if you want to store your comic creation, which is a little inconvenient as I am a natural hoarder and like to be able to find everything easily on the site I go to! With this site you click on things that then go into a ‘selection window’ . You click on the panel that you want this image, scene or speech bubble to go into and double click. You can then adapt them by using the tools on the right. When you are done, click next, and then make sure you have a printer attached if you want to print it out as you need to do this straight away. I have screen captured my one below with Jing, but you can also email them to classes or yourself to print out late.

There are a lot of uses for these comic creation sites, probably mostly with your younger year groups, either recent starters or maybe groups wth 1 or 2 years of the language. They can be language introduction tools, sources for comprehension exercises, ways of creating a picture that pupils can describe orally perhaps, and of course they can create their own to do writing practise in  a more creative way. My 3rd form pupils have a couple of their creations stuck into their exercise books, and they can be used nicely as simple display options for walls, pinboards and your door. Nice, easy and effective.

As any of my old art teachers will tell you, or even some of my pupils who have had the misfortune to see my attempts at drawing on the whiteboard, my ‘art’ is ‘artbreakingly bad. I can’t draw very well at all, something which always disappointed me. Luckily there are a number of comic creating tools on the internet which solve this problem for me, as I enjoy using comics both as comprehension tools, and increasingly, as ways for pupils to produce language in a more fun way. I have a number of Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes Spanish comic books which I often photocopied and put on my door for pupils to read, or tippexed out the words and got them to write in new words for and now I can create my own.

My favourite one at the moment is Chogger. It took a little practise to get used to how it worked, and I found a few of the controls a little fiddly to begin with, but I really like the results it gives, and you have a lots of options to make your comics. In fact I used a chogger comic in a job interview I had, a job which I got! I used a comic to introduce the present subjunctive and one of its uses. Below is a picture of it, and you can see the whole thing here.

Signing up is free (you will see this trend of using free stuff developing – I think it is my natural Scotish miserliness!) When you have logged on, or accessed the site, click on ‘Build Comic Now’ and it will take you to the comic creator tool. Firstly you choose your layout for your strip, which gives a variety of comic panel options. Then you have the option of choosing your image. I tend to find pictures from the Google Images option, which gives you a massive choice of course, though you can also drw your own, take a photo or upload images you already have. Pictures taken from Google Images can be adapted to a small extent and once you have picked one you simply click ‘Add Image’ and it will be stored in the section in the top left corner with the shadowy head! The image can then be dragged and resized into the panels. To add speech bubbles, click on the bubble icon in the top left and then drag the type of bubble you want into the relevant panel. Then you can type into it, adjust the font size and size of the bubble and you then just continue the process until you have filled up your comic panels. For accents, you will have to use shortcuts, or cut and paste from a word document.

You can always add more panels if you find your comic beginning to expand from its original length. When you are done, simply click ‘finish’ and then give it a title and description to help you and others find it afterwards. This is the one downside I think of Chogger; the way of searching for comics is not ideal, you have to know what you are looking for. When you have clicked Publish, I strongly recommend copying and pasting the URL at the top of the page and save it somewhere to help you use it again. Obviously you can print them out as well, but in my view Chogger needs to sort out how your comics are stored in a more organised fashion, possibly on your profile page for instance. Hopefully this is something they will improve.

My 4th form had a go at making Chogger comics and it worked really well. I did it in a language lab lesson so I could show them how to do the fiddly bits with speech bubbles. Be ready to stop the faffing around looking for loads of images but apart from that they can produce nice looking comic strips in a very short period of time. It is an easy way to do lots of written tasks and better than simply just setting a fairly standard written prep, especially for younger age groups perhaps.

As always, if you do any chogger cartoons and wish to share, please let me know!

Videos are popular with pupils and teachers alike. Things like flip cameras are great for making short videos in the classroom, but another technique is to use online cartoon animations. There are various options for doing these, but the one I prefer is GoAnimate. GoAnimate allows you to create cartoon videos with the language actually spoken, and can be set for a variety of languages too, allowing pupils to hear the language pronounced authentically, or to record themselves speaking as the characters.

There are quite a few other options to make cartoon videos such as Dvolver, DomoAnimate and Xtranormal which I will do blogs about at some point as well, but I prefer GoAnimate as I think it is easy to use, and gives you a simple option as well as the option to be more creative if you have the time. When you register for free you have enough tools and options to make a good video without having to sign up for the GoPlus option which costs you money. There is also the Goanimate for education you can pay for, but I haven’t bothered with this, preferring to get pupils to create their own logins.

When  you have signed up, you basically have two options to create a video – you can either use the quick video maker or the full length video. With the quick video, you basically have a readymade template of a conversation between 2 characters that you select in which you just have to type in what you want them to say. For the full length you have full directorial rights for a 2 minute vid (unless you go GoPlus, when you can do longer). Both are very effective, the first one is ideal for the quick designing of a listening exercise and for pupils to produce an easy video without faffing about with effects and so on!

Here are links to two of my own videos, the first a quick video, the second a full length one (though not yet complete actually!_ if you want to have a look.

Vacaciones ideales (quick video maker)

House description (full length)

Not that in the first video I used the text to voice option (changing the voices to Spanish), whereas I recorded the second myself. You can also upload pre-saved spoken passages though this takes longer.

There are loads of uses for this as I’m sure you can tell. I have used them as listening exercises in class, and tried to get pupils to do them as well, although the class I did it with had trouble saving and uploading them. This is a problem with my school’s systems which the IT guys are trying to sort out, so maybe give it a trial run if you want the pupils to make their own, which is the best use really. It obviously gives pupils to speak Spanish in a ‘safer’ way than aloud in class, practise role plays or work towards speaking assessments. They can collaborate or make their own, do presentations possibly and lots of other speaking activities. Plus, videos can then be used as listening exercises for other classes either by saving the URL or embedding on websites or blogs.

I haven’t included instructions here as to how to make the vids as there are tutorials available on the net, but please leave a comment if you need help. And if you do make videos, let’s share! Happy animating!