Here’s a quick description of my current 5th Grade project.
After reviewing watching a video from Discovery Education that featured a traditional Indian folk tale, the class discussed the common elements to fables. We talked about how many stories, not just fables, have a problem that needs solving. In solving this problem a lesson is often taught.
After the video and discussion I quickly introduced the students to ToonDoo.com. ToonDoo is a great tool for creating comics that allows users a very wide range of options including creating custom characters. It has a very user-friendly interface that my students immediately grasped.
Side note: I always try to limit my introduction of new tools to 5 minutes or less. My feeling is that as soon as students see a new web site or program on the board they’re just waiting to be set loose. I try to explain just enough to let get them started and then allow time to explore. I think that learning something through their own investigation is probably more permanent.
The class was given the rest of the period to explore ToonDoo. At the end of the period I took a few minutes to explain to the students that the following class they would be creating comics, in pairs, that had a problem and a solution being shown.
I quickly paired the students off and gave each a simple worksheet to start planning their comics. The worksheet requires the pairs to come up with a title, characters, a problem, and how the problem is solved. Bonus points are given for a lesson or moral to the story.
Pairs will take screen shots (CMD+Shift+4 for the Mac) and put their comics into a word processing file for easy printing.
Voila! Student collaboration, elements of literature, Web 2.0 tools? Check!