Towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society


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After the completion of the lesson, ‘The Little Fir Tree’, by using ACE (Acquiring Competence in English) pedagogy (that is, by narrating the story and interacting with learners using pictures), I helped them produce comic strips to illustrate the lesson.  My students are familiar with producing discourses since last year. Drawing comic strips to the lesson, ‘The Little Fir Tree’, came as a next step.

All of this began when my students came to me last week and asked, “Sir, once you said we can make a comic story book. Shall we make it now?”  I was amazed to hear this from them, because I had discussed this idea with them last year and they had remembered and initiated to do it, too.

Importance of Comic Strip Activity in a Second Language Classroom:

Pictures and visual arts have always aided in better learning in students.  Producing comic strips provide authentic language learning opportunities for all kinds of students – slow and fast.

The Process:

For Class 4, Unit 2, Prose Lesson – The Little Fir Tree, students enacted the story, after I had completed teaching the lesson in class. Once they had done this, I asked them to write a narration of the story. The plot of the story in the lesson had to be given as a story. And once this is written it will be easier to draw pictures for each scene of the story. Since students were already familiar with producing discourses, they were able to draw pictures and write narration and dialogues to the characters, by themselves.

When they started writing, I probed them with questions to help them with it. Interaction plays a crucial role in stimulating and triggering student’s thoughts and in expressing their ideas.        

When I was interacting, I asked few questions like:

  1. What is the story about?
  2. Who are the characters in the story?
  3. What are the actions/events happening in the story?
  4. Where is the first event happening?
  5. How should the narration go?

The ideas were elicited from students and written on the blackboard. The more I probed, the more my students exploded with different ideas.

Some of their responses were like this:

“This story is about A Magician and A Fir Tree.”

“The first event happens in a magic show, where The Magician is showcasing his magic tricks.”

Then, students worked in groups to write the narration. I also ensured that every member contributed at least one idea to the group. Then, they wrote a narration for the lesson, “The Little Fir Tree” using the pictures from the lesson. Later it was edited through interaction. In editing, the language generated by students is refined by negotiating with them and asking the opinions of other students too.

When I was editing my students’ narration, I asked questions like:

  • What is the story about?
  • Who are the characters in your story?
  • What are the actions/events happening in the story?
  • Do you think a word is missing here?
  • Do you want to use this word instead of that?
  • Do you want to make any changes in the sequence of the story?
  • Is the narration well organized?
  • What will he speak here?

Once the narration was edited, I explained them that making a comic story strip is in some ways different from writing a narration. I explained to them – A comic strip is a sequence of scenes from a story that is represented through pictures of the characters, narration of events and even includes dialogues that the characters speak, usually given in speech bubbles. ”

My students asked, “Is this like stories printed in weekly magazines like ‘Vaaramalar’?”

I said, “exactly correct.”

That’s it. They understood the concept. Later they sat in a group for planning the illustrations to be drawn and where to write the sequence of events and dialogues.

Once they discussed and decided, they made a rough model of the comic story in their note book and showed it to me. Later I gave them some strips of chart paper. They divided each strip into two parts and made into a comic. While doing I felt amazed by the way, they shared their works among themselves.

Ragavi and Monisha illustrated the pictures.

Mathivathini coloured the pictures.

Yashwarthini wrote the fair copy of the narration.

Keerthana wrote the events and dialogues in the comic strip.

Thus, they produced the comic strip for ‘The Little Fir Tree.’    

The comic strip produced by my students:












Term: Term 2

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