Teaching Kit

Current Events Comic Strip Teaching Kit

Learners will discuss current events or a relevant civic issue and refine their own opinion on the topic. Learners will then remix a comic strip to illustrate their point of view. The comic strip format enables learners to tell a story using six or more frames for images and captions. They will add a photo of themselves to the comic strip using Thimble’s “selfie taker.”

Made by Mozilla Learning Network

Materials

  • Internet-connected computers with cameras for each student, or pairs of students
  • Paper and pens
  • Printouts of blank comic template
  • A set of commonly available crafting materials for each student or group.
  • A set of commonly avaialble matwerials to be used as weights.

Learning objectives

  • Remix a Comic Strip to express an opinion about a current event or civic issue
  • Identify and use HTML tags
  • Use Thimble’s “selfie mode” to add a picture taken with the computer’s camera
  • Conduct a web search for an image to use to replace an existing image

The concrete Web Literacy skills that will be developed are in the domains of Search, Remixing, Composing, and Sharing

Agenda

  1. Introduction (5 minutes)
  2. Build an Argument (25 minutes)
  3. Small Group Brainstorms (15 minutes)
  4. Thimble Tour video (3 minutes)
  5. Self-Guided Tutorial (25 minutes)
  6. Reflection (15 minutes)

Introduction (15 min)

Introduce a controversial and timely topic that’s relevant to your learners or to your coursework (for example: student dress codes, plastic bag bans, or animal testing).

Ask probing questions to help learners refine their own opinion on the matter. Allow learners to discuss and try to persuade one another.

Build an Argument (25 min)

Explain to learners that part of today's work will be constructing an argument on a current events topic like the one you just discussed. First, though, it's important to think about how to build a strong argument.

Explain that to warm up, we're going to try and build the strongest structures possible out of a few recyclable materials at hand. After we build, we'll try to make connections between our strongest buildings and what we think has to go into a strong argument.The building activity will be part teambuilding and part learning about arguments.

  • Have students form groups of 3-4. Use playing cards to gather learners into groups of 4 by numbers or some other random method of grouping.
  • Give each group a set of commonly available recyclable materials or classroom materials. For example, you might give learners 8 pieces of newspaper, two straws, two popsicle sticks, a pair of scissors, about 12" or 30cm of tape, and a balloon.
  • Give learners 10-15 minutes to use the materials to build the strongest structure possible.
  • Invite learners test their structures with a commonly available unit of weight like a set of textbooks or bricks.
  • Ask learners to record the heaviest load their structure held before collapsing.
  • After learners have tested their structures and recorded their results, ask each group to explain its strategy and share the results of its work.
  • Once each group has shared, ask all your learners to draw some conclusions about what made for the strongest structures.
  • Then ask if learners can see any connections between what makes for a strong building and what makes for a strong argument.
  • Record these connections on a large post-it or whiteboard or projected document.
  • Post learners' connections in a someplace highly visible way in the room so they can use these argument tips in making their current events comics.
  • Help learners to draw conclusions like, "Arguments need strong foundations," or, "Arguments need multiple supports," or, "Arguments need to stand up under pressure."
  • Once you've wrapped the discussion, move on to the rest of the Current Events Comic Strip activity.

    Small Group Brainstorms (15 min)

    Bring learners back to making their own strong arguments by explaining that next they will all be working on comics that present their opinions about current events that interest them. Remind them that they should use the lessons they learned from the building activity to craft strong arguments in their comics.

    Break learners into small groups (perhaps by their current events interests) and distribute the blank comic strip templates (each student should have a few blank templates). Allow students time to brainstorm in small groups how they would like to represent their opinion about the topic in comic strip form. Learners should sketch out their ideas for visuals and words.

    Thimble Tour video (3 min)

    Project the Thimble tour video so all students can see, or have them watch on their computers. The Thimble tour video is available on thimble.mozilla.org.

    Self-Guided Tutorial (25 min)

    Your learners can remix this make and use the built-in self-guided tutorial. You may want to do a lesson on finding and using Creative Commons-licensed images.

    Reflection (15 min)

    Have learners pair up with someone who had a different opinion on the topic. Partners should share their comic strip with one another, and respond to any questions. Each partner should share one piece of positive and one piece of constructive feedback for the other.

    Ask the full group if anyone was persuaded by their partner’s comic strip, and, if so, why.