Kids, computers and comics

In a day when most ten-year-olds can do more with a computer than their parents, it shouldn’t seem unusual that students aged 14-18 are excelling in the cyber world.
Math Coach at Pinecrest Elementary School Carlene M. Grossi, M.S. taught an Intro to Computer Class this summer to incoming or current Immokalee High School students in a unique and engaging way.

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Students made their own two-panel comic strip!
The kids learned about clip art, copyrighted art and placement, text boxes, a multitude of things many of their elders have never even heard of. They used a PowerPoint layout and did a two screen comic, which was based on class vocab and content.
From June 15 till July 9 they began every day at 7:30 and ended at 4:30 to 4:45. At the beginning of every class Ms. Grossi gave students three vocabulary words and they had to write what they thought it meant, even if they had no idea they had to come up with some answer. Then one of their regular daily assignments was to search for the meaning of the word and give additional information. After lunch, they always sat down and reviewed their morning work, with vocabulary being first. They then agreed as a group a good way to describe the word and its meaning as related to computers and came to a consensus definition she would post on a bulletin board.
Three weeks into the class they had accumulated a bevy of vocabulary and began the comic strip project. They used the preconceived definitions and the real ones as material for their comics.
Ms. Grossi said the kids did a great job and really dove into the content. Her favorite part, as a teacher, was teaching or showing them something in a certain content and having them demonstrate proficiency. Power Point transitions, animations, sound and timings – they did a great job in all of it, she said.
Ms. Grossi’s very good friend and comic strip artist, Brad Gilchrist, judged the strips. He worked on the Muppet’s comic strip for years and now has The Greenhouse Comics with a new character called “Wormy.”
Another project was Virtual College Tours of Florida colleges, which they posted on the district’s Edmodo system for all students to view. Every time they worked on a project she wanted to make it worthwhile and apply the lesson to real life situations so it would have absolute meaning to them.
Ms. Grossi said, “I guess the best compliment a teacher can get, besides being called “Mom” by mistake, happened to me when they asked if I would be teaching this class next summer because they wanted to take it again. My heart swelled and I smiled and said, ‘You all passed you can’t take it again, You will receive credit. You need to go on and take the next course.’ And they said, “Miss, can you teach it?’ And that is why, despite all the political rhetoric that is occurring in education these days, I love my job. Imagine, if the conversation was modified a bit and occurred at your job or any job. You’d get up early the next morning and go in with a smile on your face and teach (work) your heart out.”

Patty Brant, Publisher of the Immokalee Bulletin can be reached at pbrant@newszap.com

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