Tag Archives: non-fiction

Creating Comics on your iPad

Comics are very powerful pieces of writing.  Students enjoy reading and creating comics. Two apps on the iPad,, Comic Life and BookCreator, allow students to create their own comics. ComicLifeSample

One of the best ways to engage your students in a story writing dialogue activity, is to use Comics.   What better way is there to show how writing dialogue needs to appropriate, clear and effective?  If their characters’ dialogue does not drive the plot, then the audience cannot follow their story.

Students can use Comic Life or BookCreator  to display their understanding of any topic in their non-fiction writing:

  1. Autobiographies or Biographies
  2. Speech Plan
  3. Instructional/Procedural Write
  4. Travel Guide
  5. Poster

Comic Life and BookCreator have many unique comic features and the purpose for using these features needs to be explained to students.

  1. Panels and Pages
    • a panel is like a paragraph, with one main idea
    • size of panel shows time and importance
    • we read panels left to right, top to bottom
  2. Pictures
    • Background
      • shows us setting
      • develops mood
    • Foreground
      • Characters and important objects
  3. Text Features
    • Captions
      • carries the narrative of the story
      • tells us about setting
      • explains what happens between panels
    • Speech and Thought Bubble
      • displays characteristic of characters
      • Is often the core text feature, giving the most information
    • Lettering
      • Onomatopeias
      • Title
You can also have students explore App Smashing by:
  1. Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
  2. In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
  3. Create their own characters in Avatar Creator

Here is student instructions for using Comic Life

ComicLifeiPad

and Comics in BookCreator

BookCreatorComics

Using Book Creator to Explore Non-Fiction Text Features

Before you have students create a non-fiction book in Book Creator, you must explore the features in a non-fiction piece.

Text features in a non-fiction piece of writing, is like story elements in a fiction piece of writing.  Just like you need to teach students about characters, setting, problem, plot and resolution before writing stories, you must also teach students about specific features of non-fiction writing.

These feature are there to help the reader make sense of what is written.

Features include and are not limited to:

  1. HeadingsText Features 1
    • Helps to know what the text topic is about and help make predictions.

  2. Timeline
    • Helps determine the time an event happens.

  3. Labels
    • Helps identify a picture or photograph, and/or its parts.

  4. Photographs
    • Helps understand exactly what something looks like.

  5. Captions
    • Helps better understand a picture or photograph.

  6. Comparisons
    • Helps understand the size of something by comparing it to the size of something familiar.

  7. Cut Aways/Cross Sections
    • Helps understand something by looking at it from the inside.

  8. MapsText Features 2
    • Helps understand where things are in the world.

  9. Types of Print
    • Helps by signalling, “Look at me! I’m important!”

  10. Close-ups
    • Helps seeing details in something small.

  11. Graphs
    • Helps in a visual way so that it is more easily understood by readers.

  12. Charts or Tables
    • Helps by giving information in a visual way so that it is quicker and easier to read.

  13. Diagrams
    • Helps with a drawing  of the parts of something.

  14. Indexes
    • Helps with an alphabetical list of most everything covered in the text, with page numbers.

  15. Table of Contents
    • Helps identify key topics in the order they are presented.

  16. Glossaries
    • Helps define words found in the text.