Karen's Linguistics Issues, March 2002 | This Month's Articles | Previous Months  


Cartoon Strips Revisited

 by Rolf Palmberg, Dept of Teacher Education, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

This activity is based on the traditional "fill speech balloons with text" cartoon strip activity that students everywhere seem to enjoy – only this time there are some extra twists to it.

1. Select a cartoon strip consisting of a series of four pictures that tell a story. Each picture should have a speech balloon or a thought balloon containing text. Prepare a transparency version of the original cartoon strip to be displayed later on an OHP.

2. Remove (cover, hide) the text from each picture and prepare transparency versions of the modified cartoon strip (now showing empty balloons). There should be one transparency version for every four students in the class.

3. Cut each transparency version of the modified cartoon strip into four pieces (with one picture on each piece).

4. Divide the class into groups of four, and give one picture to each student so that there are different pictures for each student in each group.

5. Tell the students that each of them now has got one picture from a four-picture series that make up a cartoon strip. Tell them what the topic of the cartoon strip is (unless this is evident from the pictures), and ask each student individually to provide his or her balloon with a short sentence or a couple of words to go with the picture and the overall topic. Ask the students neither to talk nor to show the pictures to each other.

6. When the students have all written something into the balloons, ask them to share their pictures and texts within their group and to arrange the pictures in the most logical order. They are no longer allowed to change their texts.

7. Ask each group to present their cartoon strip to the class and to invite their classmates to comment on their suggested presentation. Since the students were given pictures cut from a transparency both the presentation and any re-arranging of pictures can be done very easily.

8. When all groups have finished their presentations, show them the original version of the cartoon strip.


©Rolf Palmberg 2002. All rights reserved.