There are a lot of ways to tell stories. These days, a lot of them seem to use speech bubbles. Photo memes are everywhere, from the ever-present talking cats to political commentary. Graphic novels use comic book formats to tell increasingly sophisticated tales. So it occurred to me that adding speech bubbles to photos might be an interesting way to teach story format. Even young children can draw a series of pictures with speech bubbles that that tell a story, developing the understanding that most stories have a beginning, middle and end.
Students who are a bit older may want to add speech bubbles to photos in a similar way—either to tell a story alone, or as illustrations to a more developed piece. I have no experience with speech bubbles or related software on my computer, so I went looking for an option that was 1) on the web 2) easy to use and 3) free. The photos below represent my very first attempt to use the SuperLame system for creating speech bubbles—a system that is not lame in the least. You might need to click on them to read the bubbles, but I didn’t want them any larger here. I also could have added sounds like “Boom!” or “Kapow!” but those didn’t seem right for my poor daffodils (note that these are old photos—no daffodils are on the scene yet this chilly March!) There are lots of other ways to do it, but Superlame provides one easy option for creating speech bubble stories, and without links to online photo galleries that can risk exposing students to inappropriate content.
Think about how you could use speech bubbles to present content across content areas.
- Of course, you can use them to tell original stories.
- In science, students could upload graphics and label parts of an ecosystem, cell, or any other complex system.
- In history, students could upload photographs and either label important events and participants, or create imaginary dialog. Depending on the assignment, the dialog could represent either accurate understanding of point of view, or alternate choices. Alternative options can provide the impetus to explore the consequences of events, and what might have occurred in other circumstances. Flexible thinking, indeed!
- If studying another culture, students can upload photos and label key aspects of the photos, or have their “characters” explain important aspects of their lives.
There are a million other possibilities. If your students create some, we’d love it if you shared them.