We’ve been having a little discussion over in the discussion boards about students creating their own magazine covers as a way to express their personalities and tell their story. Along those lines, how about making a comic book or graphic novel?
But this program is just for Macintosh users They have a PC version now (some free and PC ideas at the end, though)- ComicLife from plasq comes bundled with the Intel Macs or is $24.95 ($29.95 for the deluxe version which adds lots of fonts and templates). They advertise that there is no learning curve and I have to agree (especially for students!) Everything is pretty up front on the creation page: page templates, fonts, speech balloons, importing pictures…. Export options are also straight forward. I like that you can save your book as a QuickTime movie that moves from page to page as you hit “play.”
You can approximate this on your own by making your comic frames in any number of programs. PowerPoint and Kid Pix let you save your slides out as pictures. They can then be imported into a Word document for instance (make sure you set “float over text”) and arranged comic book style. The Draw document in AppleWorks also lets you create separate boxes to fill with text and pictures. Opaque ovals can then be added as speech balloons. A bit more work than ComicLife, but free for those with programs that allow the flexibility of placing text and pictures.
And now back to those magazine covers. In your program of choice, import an image that’s big enough to fill the page. Now make a title or some headlines in a contrasting color (good use of WordArt) to place on that image. Add smaller pictures and more text boxes as teasers for the stories within. We did something similar to this in the library of my former school to celebrate National Library Week. There have been magazine covers, wanted posters, “Read” posters, trading cards… Let your imagination run wild!