Original Cartoon Creation
At the top of Bloom's revised taxonomy is creating. One of the most challenging and fun tasks that our students can tackle is to create an original cartoon. The steps I use to help students wrap their heads around this task are as follows:
1) In a whole class discussion, we recall The Far Side as a whole and what made Gary Larson's situations humorous. Typically, students remember the unusual scenarios, role reversal, and the fact that his humor often forces the audience to think in the abstract.
2) Individually, students brain storm "What if?" scenarios. As an example, we refer back to specific Far Side cartoons we've discussed and imagine the "What if?" scenarios Gary Larson envisioned before he created them. For example: what if two men were stranded on an island with a telephone booth? Or: what if a chicken was sick and he had to eat chicken soup? Students brain storm and keep their ideas on paper. I encourage them to write down anything that comes to mind, even if they think it's bad. Often, a simple twist to an idea can make it spectacular.
3) In small groups, students share their brain storms with each other. This offers them the opportunity to bounce ideas off their classmates, as well as gauge reactions to discover which "What if?" scenarios would be the most humorous.
4) Using the tools available at http://www.toondoo.com/, students take their favorite "What if?" scenarios and make them come to life. Examples of original 5th grade student cartoons are below.
*Sometimes the free registration at toondoo runs very slowly. When this happened with my classes recently, I just paid for a subscription at http://www.toondoospaces.com/. A month subscription for 30 users was a very reasonable $8, and it worked flawlessly.
5) We come back together and share our cartoons within small groups. Instead of explaining their own creations to the class, students must analyze and evaluate the work of their peers. I have students nominate their favorite cartoons (they can't nominate their own) to be shared with the entire class.