The New York Times Learning Network has cited MakeBeliefsComix as a fun classroom resource

Respond to News by Making Your Own Comics! If “Welcome to the New World” or the all-comics edition of The Magazine have inspired your students, maybe they’re ready to start creating their own comics and characters that respond to the news in some way — whether by debating hot-button issues, expressing their own opinions about something they’ve […]

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Uncover Benefits of Comic Strip Generators for Students with Autism

Source: SpecialEdConnection®, July 11, 2017 Issue date

Key Points:
* Encourage students to use comic strip generators to express feelings
* Promote conversation about comics among students
* Allow students to review their strips when needed in the moment

When a student with autism struggles with responding to a bully or raising his hand in class, encouraging him to create a comic strip representing the situation may help him clarify why he is upset and figure out how to overcome the challenge.

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Jasherah Nalls, a student at The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, and the teacher Lauren Fardig-Diops using the comic strips from Make Beliefs Comix.

THE POWER OF DIGITAL-COMIC THERAPY IN SCHOOLS

NEW YORK—Every day, the teenagers Jeremiah Aponte, Jasherah Nalls, and Paula Rodriguez squeeze into a small four-story building housing three schools and close to 1,700 students in the South Bronx neighborhood.

Mostly serving generations of families living in one of numerous high-rise public-housing projects or homeless shelters dotting the area, The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a New York City public high school, sits in the country’s poorest congressional district. Recently, The New York Times cited the city’s 40th precinct as having the highest murder rate in the city, but where there are the fewest detectives per violent crime. To get to their school, these three teens must also walk through a neighborhood that includes two methadone clinics.

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Comic strip created by one of Symonds's students

DIGITAL COMICS BOOSTING SKILLS OF STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

In an increasingly social media–driven world, school library media specialist Cindy Symonds sees herself as the personal tech guide to the teachers and 560 students at Round Top Elementary School in Blythewood, SC. One media tool she’s recently introduced is interactive comic strips. Her students have been creating stories using the comic generator MakeBeliefsComix.com.

With perpetually limited funds, librarians and teachers are turning to the growing number of free make-your-own-comic websites and apps. These allow students to create their own characters, settings, dialogue, and stories. In particular, they seem to be stimulating literacy, communication, and linguistic skills among students with special needs. Often, they improve such students’ attention span and increase their class participation.

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Top Picks from Common Sense Education

3 Great Free Arts Websites for ELLs

Arts-based projects are a great option to support and encourage English-language learners (ELLs). Arts tools offer a variety of media for creative expression — from comic strips to radio production to virtual art collections — that can help ELLs feel more comfortable practicing their English and communication skills while embracing their own cultural backgrounds.

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(Photo: Martin Ringenbach)

MAGICAL KINGDOM OF LEARNING

Eleven-year old Joe struggled with temper tantrums. His anxieties drove him to physical violence and numerous school suspensions in Wales, United Kingdom. A year ago his uncontrolled outbursts were tempered after James McKeon, a school psychological counselor, began working with him using MakeBeliefsComix.com, one of the world’s most popular educational comic websites.

The troubled teenager learned to channel his anxieties and fears into storytelling using the comics. Working one-on-one twice a week, they tapped into two resources offered by the free site.

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Makebeliefscomix

NIFTY COMIC-CREATION TOOL OFFERS POSITIVE, UPBEAT MESSAGES.

Parents need to know that Make Beliefs Comix is a website and app where kids can create their own positive comics using a charming cast of predrawn characters. Kids don’t have to register to use the site, and, because it doesn’t let users post comics, it provides a safe experience (kids get a reminder to either print or email their creations to themselves or a friend). Generally, content is controversy-free. The Printables section features a few religious references; an activity encourages kids to create a prayer for someone they love, a parental-advice section briefly mentions God’s plan, and another item refers to past lives. However, the nondenominational references don’t encourage kids to believe or support any particular religion, and the comic creator itself doesn’t include any religious overtones.

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