Dvolver is a free online tool in which you can create short “comics” of dialogue between 1-2 characters. You can have a song in the background, pick from a small selection of backgrounds and characters and have them talk to eachother. The words are visible but they do not actually speak the lines.
Here is the short video I made about a brother a sister discussing a present for their mother for Christmas:
Strip Generator is another site you may use to create comics and this site gives you a much more options when creating your comic but it is also more time-consuming and less animated than the prior. You have to manually insert your characters and dialogue into the boxes. This site offers more characters and varieties of frames. You can also insert items into the frames, such as a baseball bat, a camera, an umbrella, and many more. In order to get even more options or features, you can pay a membership fee. The prior comic creating site also allows you to create your strips without even “signing up” or creating an account.
One of the problems with both of the generation sites is that they do not correct your grammar and do not recognize French accents. I would have to print the comic and write in the accents for the comics before making copies of it for the class.
For both comics, students would answer questions that I would supply them about the events in the comic. For example, one question could be “What gifts does Margaux end up buying her grandmother and sister?” (Cadeau pour Noel ) I would ask questions in English for lower level French classes and in French for upper levels, (French 2-5). Students would be expected to respond in French for all levels. For lower levels, I may supply the answers in the form of multiple choice.
A follow-up activity would include the students making their own comics. Depending on the technology in the school, this may need to be done by hand. Let’s pretend the school is equipped with computer labs and/or tablets for all students. I’d provide a day of class time for students to complete their comics on one of these sites. They would be required to have at least two characters and to use vocabulary relating to the current unit/chapter, such as holidays, gifts, and shopping expressions. After they have completed their comic they would get into pairs and read their comic to their partner. After, the reader would ask their partner at least 3 simple questions about their comic, using the TL. My goals of this assignment would be for students to:
1-enjoy the fact that they are free to use their own personal ideas and creativity to create their comic.
2- use the target vocabulary in a meaningful and appropriate way through the dialogue between characters.
3- successfully answer the follow along questions to the comics I created, using their knowledge of French and their target vocabulary.
4- communicate in French with a partner about each other’s finished comics and be able to successfully answer the questions their partner asks them.
I could certainly have students create their own comics using either of these sites. After trying out both, I might prefer the second site because of the more options you have. However, both have their own pluses and minuses. I do really like the animation component of Dvolver. I would probably test out using both in the classroom and survey the students on their preference.