Instructional strategies and tips for using comics in class!
Our comics are a super fun way to hook readers! While the adventures involving our dog and cat are, of course, science fiction they are VERY heavy on science fact. Best of all, they model and support the spirit of inquiry! If you are new to our comic, click here to read the back story. There is even a pdf version you can share with families! Each mission has an adventure that unfolds over six episodes so you can build anticipation while exercising memory skills.
PreK: Encourage your pre-readers to make up their own words as they read the pictures to tell a story. If they have trouble getting started some simple questions can prime the pump. For example, look at panel 1 and ask, "What is Curiosity Cat doing?" "How do you think she feels?' If students answer with single word replies, model complete sentences. "Curiosity Cat is wearing her glasses. She's reading a big book about dinosaurs. She is very excited!" For this age group, I recommend printing hard copies of the little book format to support book handling skills.
Kindergarten: Our sounds effects are geared towards supporting kindergarten reading skills. As students learn to connect sounds and symbols, empower them to use that beginning knowledge to read! Try these activities:
First Grade: Our speech bubbles provide a bit more challenge for early readers. While most of the dialog is comprised of common sight words or easy to decode text, there are some trickier words in there. Words like "dinosaur" and "curiosity" may not be typical grade level decodable words, but students will soon learn them as they'll be repeated throughout the adventure. Try this: project the comic on your white board. Have students indicate the words within the speech bubbles that are easy to read and cross them off. Next circle the remaining words. What strategies can they use to figure them out? Write each of these words on an index card and place a small picture cue next to it. Finally, erase all your marks and read through the panels together. Reference the tricky word cards you created as necessary.
Second Grade: For many second graders, much of the comic will be easy to read but the texts boxes are most likely to be at their instructional level. Form mixed ability teams to read the various parts. One group can read Curiosity Cat's speech bubbles. Another will read Data Dog's thoughts and words. A third group will act as narrator reading the text boxes. Everyone can join in on the sound effects! These mixed ability choral reading groups can even take on a bit of a reader's theater feel with each group working on expressive reading.
Meet Beth and Curtis!
Presidential Award-Winning teacher and hula hoop fanatic, Beth loves bringing real world science to kids! Beth is fascinated by engineering challenges, technology, and outdoor learning spaces. After 25 years teaching kindergarten, she’s excited to share her passion and experience on-line with classrooms from around the world!