Comic strips are a written conversation between two or more characters. They add a “conversational twist” to what we are learning. I know that it is not authentic language interaction, but it helps prepare students for the real thing. Also they have concrete evidence of their language ability. The students are pretty independent during this time, so think about doing real interpersonal conversation with them one on one while the others are working. Recently it was a successful sub plan for me.
Inspire their writings! A quirky prop? A funny new word or phrase? The moon? My grandmother?
A free app that I suggest is Cartoon Studio (thank you Rachel W.). I like how it looks real and the characters inspire the dialog.
A free website is www.toondoo.com. It has more features like changing the expressions and positions of the characters.
And of course you can always give them a blank paper where they can draw their own. They enjoy having options!
Now when that’s all done, use their comics as interpretive reading activities. (What kind of relationship do the characters have? What was their problem?) Ask some class “actors” to act them out and it becomes an interpretive listening activity. I’m all about making my life a little easier.