Mike Peto’s Comic Book Idea

I had asked long time PLC member Keri Biron to share the following with the Connecticut group and thanks Keri! –

Good Morning,

Ben asked me to share with you all Mike Peto’s comic book idea.

Basically, once you have created a story with your class (either from a One Word Image, which is a class created character or from an Invisible, which is an individually created character), you have an option of having the students create a comic book.  I personally do this as one of the last activities in the cycle.  So, once you have typed the story and the students have read the story, as well as have done various reading activities with the story, you can have them create this little comic book.

I attached three images which will show you the front, the inside, and the back of the little book.  It is literally one page of paper folded in half.

I have also attached a link below which will take you to Mike Peto’s blog where you can download a template for this book.


You will see in my attached examples that I have actually written by hand the story in the various boxes.  The students then have another opportunity to interact with the text and get additional visual input as they read and then create images that represent the text.

What is best about this activity is the ability to create your own classroom library-at no expense!  We briefly touched upon the importance of Free Voluntary Reading. What I will be doing this year is choosing the booklets that contain the best drawings from each class and then have them laminated.  Therefore, by the end of the year, I will have anywhere from forty to one hundered different story “books” that my students can read at the beginning of the period-maybe more depending on how often I create a story.  This number will keep on growing as I continue to do this through the years.

Please let me know if you have any questions!




23 thoughts on “Mike Peto’s Comic Book Idea”

  1. Keri I think we should follow your lead and make this into a third extension activity (seventh point on the Invisibles Star Sequence). I’ll ask Mike if he’ll let us do that.

  2. Thanks for posting the images, Keri. I realized it’s important to show students an example after I presented this comic-book creation storyboard thingy to them as an activity I want them to do while I take a mini-paternity leave. (Our second baby, first girl, Hannah, was born on Friday and is very healthy.)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I’ve printed out the templates but haven’t taken the step to do them yet. Would you let the kids print themselves or do it yourself as a time saver? I’m thinking that it might be fun to let the students choose their favourite story and illustrate it themselves. Maybe do it once a month or every couple of months.

    1. Julie Quenneville

      Congratulations on your baby girl!!

      I’m finding that my students are itching to get our stories into drawings. With our first story this year, we did a six/eight panel comic. Each student did the whole thing. With our latest story, I divided it into sections, and had pairs of students draw their section out of a hat. Then, it becomes a compilation, while-class comic. (And it doesn’t take as long.)

      We have quite a lot of iPads in our school..I actually made my stories to date from the grade 1 class into Book Creator stories….then I airdropped them into all the classes’ iPads. Who cares if they’re super basic? It’s good reading for all my grades.

      We will do iPad projects shortly, possibly with the Shadow puppet app. Kids can type out the story, add pictures, and record their voices. I will choose exemplary ones to be shared on school iPads. Eventually each class will have an ever-growing library of student-created texts.

      Pixton.com is a great website (like the now-defunct bitstrips).

      I love the idea of doing this every few weeks though…once you have a few stories, you can give students the option of which story they’ll do output on. They are loving readers theatre!

      I also found a cool activity on martinabex.com…each sentence is represented by a clip art image. You make four of each and aim for a deck of 52 total cards…they become a deck for Go Fish. To ask for a card they must state the sentence for the card.

      Anyways, all these activities are very well received by my students!

      1. These student-recorded-readings are a great idea, Julie.

        Ben, 2 or 3 years ago you were excited about having students use a storyboarding app. I forget what apps you got into were called. You had an artist or two using the app to create the drawings. Then you could do a voice over and have students, for homework, listen to the story while viewing the art. You haven’t mentioned doing this since then. Since, well, the Invisibles and all.

        I’m going to assume it’s not something you’ve promoted, these online apps for storyboarding, in part because, like many such projects, they can engage kids tremendously the first time around but then the 2nd time around they lose their luster and become more work-like instead of play-like.

        More power to teachers for switching up these projects, or cycling them through your semester, in ways that keeps kids engaged and doesn’t stress you out. Julie seems to have a great plan.

        1. Sean you touch on a monumental point that Tina and I have often discussed. This work is not about finding apps or cool activities (there are thousands) but instead stepping onto the moving conveyor belt of a taxonomical process (the Invisibles Star Sequence for us) through which we march each week. The difference is one’s sanity.

          1. Invisibles Star Sequence = L2 Taxonomy

            “We’re stepping up that language acquisition taxonomy as we sequence from the conversation to the reading…” says me to anyone impressed by education jargon. I’m going to remember to use the word taxonomy from now on, as we silently make a nod to Bloom.

          2. There’s Bloom affective domain as well… We all address the Affective Filter in different ways but I feel we need to be more vocal about it. Ben, you’ve been awesome in this regard. I wonder why is it that there is push back when you get REAL.

      2. Update: After doing the card game activity, I am of two minds: part of me loved it because the kids were super-engaged and amazed me at how well they could connect the picture with the sentence from the story. Another part of me, though, doesn’t want to do it again. It took a lot of time to prepare! Reminded me of last year in my theme unit days. Hmmm…I will do it again only with special stories. Or for during the winter months and we get half the kids because of snow days! A favourite story can be brought back to life through a card game. Or…I could keep them for when I’m sick and need a surefire sub plan. It proved very successful but one certainly wouldn’t want to do this all the time.

        1. It’s all about our time. Teachers seem to just work all the time. And accept it as normal. Statements like this are rare, and healthy, indicating a big change in how we perceive the value of our time. I like it.

  4. Instead of the comic books (which I plan to try soon) I’ve been creating classroom library materials in a slightly different way. After a story cycle is complete and there is a writeup of it that has been ‘processed’ – I often have it onscreen and ask the Ss where there should be a page break for illustrations. There end up being 2-4 sentences per page. I make sure to insert a title page with the class name, and also page numbers. Then, between classes I print out the mostly blank pages that have a small block of text, and I auction them off next class – as in, “Who want to illustrate the title page?’ or “Who want to illustrate the page where the worm eats the potato chips?’ I have enough copies of the story so that everyone has at least a page to illustrate in class for a few min, with a few extra for early finishers. My protocol is that they use crayon or colored pencil on clipboard or dry erase lapboards; I ask for large and colorful illustrations that must match the meaning of the text on that page; don’t color on top of the words or page numbers, or within a half inch of the left margin) [Elementary, my dear Watson!]

    Then I collect and order the pages, staple and viola! In one story cycle across say three grades (12 sections) I make have 12-18 books – every class’ is a variation on the same story but with different names, places, animals, cognates, etc. These are 7-10 page class-made storybooks. With say 15 on the shelf, indivs (depends how big the class is) or partners can read together for 10 min of FVR every few weeks – and/or keep trading books for the whole 30 min class period – every version is novel as either the story details or illustrations are fresh…
    This is the only way that FVR has worked for elementary so far – class generated stories then turned to books/comics….
    If you like I can send Ben some photos of a recent class created book for the PLC. BONUS**:Adminz love this proof of literacy…

    1. Alisa, I love this idea of asking where they think the page break should go and then asking students which part they want to illustrate. Thank you for posting this and I would love to see some photos of the finished products.

  5. I get chest pain every time I think about using the 1-to-1 iPad cart in my classroom for stories, worried that my slow and non-intuitive tech ‘skills’ will drag us down and kill the magic! SO very time they offer me a cart I say, “Sometime soon….” Truth is I hope NEVER. I don’t want that in my classroom! There, I’ve said it.

    1. I actually love technology and have tried ways to incorporate it more. Google translate, though, ruins the fun. This year I have stepped back from using so much technology and have a zero toleration policy for phones in my class, unless there is a rare occasion where I ask them to take them out.

      That said, on Friday I used Quizlet Live, and it worked extremely well. I used Quizlet Live last year when I taught textbook vocab, but I actually liked it even more now that I use CI. I made questions from the OWI’s we have done … for example: Q: Who is as a big as a school? A: Calvin the Chicken Nugget Q: Is Calvin purple or brown? A: purple (No two answers can be the same, or it won’t work. Meaning you can just use the OWI’s name as the answer multiple times.) To answer the questions, they really had to read and understand.

      The students loved this. They were reading and discussing the questions in L2. Definitely a great activity to do with iPads.

  6. I have a hilarious Halloween story about a pickle and his friends who travel the streets of Hollywood, meet Gordon Ramsay, and use Airforce One to fly back home to a haunted house. I will send it soon! The method was to randomly choose one scene (groups of 2) and draw it, accompanying it with the sentences from the scene.

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