Future ‘Peanuts’ makers of the world get their start at CVES

January 2, 2013

By Staff

By Sebastian Moraga
Megan Algrim loves teddy bear cuddles, but her first loyalty is to her dog, so that’s what she’s drawing on the computer screen.

The dog jumps off a plane, shouting for help on the way down.

Then, his parachute opens and he reflects, “Ah, that wasn’t so bad.”

Then, his plane lands and he finds a spot on one of the wings of the plane.

The end.

Or maybe the beginning, if Parker Norah wants to continue drawing his “Dangeres Dog” cartoon.

Students at Cascade View Elementary School embarked on an eight-week project to create their own comic strip using Microsoft Paint. The strips will be finished in February.

Every week, the strips progress a bit more, right alongside the children’s computer skills. Besides drawing the strip on the screen, they learn about saving and opening files, erasing and starting over, and setting up desktop backgrounds.

“My goal is to teach technology in a fun way that encompasses ‘real world’ activities for students to draw upon and become excited about,” teacher Heather Hall wrote in an email.

Students like learning about technology while drawing a self-portrait, a comic strip or an animal.

“I picked a doggie because I have a dog,” said first-grader Megan Algrim, who clutched a teddy bear throughout the entire hourlong class.

Hall engaged students not just in creating but in observing. Students went on an “art walk” around the lab, giving positive feedback to their classmates, and anonymously voting on their favorite.

“The student with the most number of votes had their project printed out for the bulletin board in the lab,” Hall wrote, “along with their picture.”

Principal Ray Wilson praised Hall’s inventiveness.

“She has really raised the bar for our students’ experiences,” he wrote in an email.

The next step of the project involves students creating a two-character strip, complete with dialogue or thought bubbles, Hall said. The two characters will interact through eye contact and speech.

“Students will create three slides in ‘Paint’ for their comic strip,” Hall wrote. “Eventually, these slides will be inserted into a Word document as a comic strip.”

Students will give their comic strip a title — Dangeres Dog is taken, though — and then save it to their own drive in the school’s computer.

“Each student has a drive. That way, it will be in all the computers at school,” Hall told the class Dec. 13.

Students have really taken to their creations, but also to the medium that produces them.

“It’s been my observation that young students of technology learn quickly,” Hall wrote, “and are eager for more knowledge.”




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