ToonDoo, lifting their own words, is "a wacky way to get creative with comics". I have long been a fan of hooking children on literacy in any way that works and have found, over and over again, that comics are often the key.
During Reading Workshop we have been focusing on story elements. Those 'oh, so essential' components that make for interesting reading. They include a predicament, conflict or struggle; characters, setting and some sort of resolution.
Character study is a rich and exciting land in which to travel, especially for a former thespian. Authors have many techniques to indicate that a character is speaking in a text. One way is by using a speech bubble (not to be confused with the all important 'thought bubble' which is similar). For days now our brilliant artists and story tellers have been finding speech bubbles in their books and including them in their writing.
This story is about an on again, off again makeup party (click on pictures to enlarge).
And this one is about Medusa, the snake haired Gorgon who is looking for yours truly. Thank goodness in the end my intrepid student saves the day by cutting off Medusa's head and biding her a fond farewell.
There are also some excellent children's authors & illustrators who use speech bubbles in their work. Consider 'your friend' Mo Willems and his Elephant and Piggy books, the hilarious pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny & Knuffle Bunny Too and Leonardo, the Terrible Monster. We read many of his books as we explored this topic.
Also, one of my favorite authors, George O'Connor who wrote Kapow! and Ker-Splash! These books tell the tale of American Eagle and Bug Lady, two kids with vivid imaginations and a great sense of fun.
George uses speech bubbles in these and other books. He is currently working on sketches for a new book of Greek Mythology. Talented guy!
We are using speech bubbles to gently guide us into the use of quotation marks. It seems like an organic link; taking what a character says in a speech bubble and surrounding it by quotation marks in the body of a text. Our students are making this connection quite easily this year.
The development of character, the progress in reading fluency & prosody and student motivation have all increased.
Finally, I can't resist sharing one final story. This student had written a story about how beautiful Lauren is (who can argue with that) and I asked, feigning insult, "where is the story about me?"
The next day she wrote this...
"Everyday Gary always says "Go to the table to draw for me".
I say "No".
Gary says "Yes".
I said "Fine!"
Gary said "Oh, that picture is beautiful".
You know that Gary always says that word.
I said "Thank you".
He said "Good, (you're) welcome".
All I can say is...."Beautiful!"