Monday, April 27, 2015

Comic Strip Quotation Marks

It's spring and and with spring comes a lot of things that can distract 10 year old learners: hormones, new sport seasons, sunshine, allergies, love....  it all boils down to spring fever and keeping my kiddos' attention keeps ME on my toes!   That's why I'm so excited to share a fun way to practice or review quotation marks and descriptive writing  in the classroom!

My students had so much fun with this Comic Strip Quotation Marks lesson!  This would be great for any 3rd - 5th ELA grade classroom.

Last week, in class, my fourth graders started learning about the proper use of quotation marks.  We started out the week by brainstorming what we already know about quotation marks, creating an anchor chart, and reading and looking at real world examples of quotation marks in use.

The next phase of the lesson included reading "The Mystery of the Missing Socks" a Grammar Tale from Scholastic.
You can find this at  
On Tuesday of this week, we put all of our new knowledge to the test by turning comic strips into stories!  

Comics are great to use to practice using quotation marks because the dialogue is already placed in speech bubbles.  All students have to do is describe the setting, add the action, and use the quotation marks correctly.  I happen to have a bunch of old comic strips in a box.  I have been saving them for "someday" and that day was Tuesday! 

My students had so much fun with this Comic Strip Quotation Marks lesson!  This would be great for any 3rd - 5th ELA grade classroom.

I spent some time going through the comics looking for ones that were 1. appropriate and 2.  had enough dialogue in them to make them useful.  When I was done I had about 15 strips that would work. 

 I took the comics to the copy machine and made a packet for each of my table groups (We are in "wagon trains" right now, so there are 8 students per group).  

To start the lesson, I asked my class if they liked comic strips.  Of course, most of them said, "YES!" I explained what were were going to be doing and then I modeled for them using a Hagar the Horrible comic.  
When I was done modeling how to take the speech from the comic and put it into quotation marks, I handed out the packets of comic strips to my table groups.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd give my students time to read through the comics together.  They were very excited and it was difficult to get them to settle down and get to work.  

For the first draft I had students focus on writing the dialogue, using dialogue tags, quotation marks, and other punctuation correctly.  I encouraged them to be descriptive and add action so that scene and mood for each panel was clear.  
My students had so much fun with this Comic Strip Quotation Marks lesson!  This would be great for any 3rd - 5th ELA grade classroom.
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The next day, using the model story I wrote the day before, we talked about adjectives and adverbs.  Together, we went through my story and highlighted any examples of those two parts of speech.  As we were looking at my story, we talked about whether or not the scene and mood were clear. 

  • Did I use the BEST word choice?  
  • Could I be more descriptive?  
  • If we closed our eyes and read the story would we have questions or would we be able to clearly visualize the actions, facial expressions, and tone of voice of each of our characters? 
After revising my story, I challenged students to revise their own stories by adding at least 3 adjectives and 3 adverbs.  

My students are still working on their revisions and will be sharing them in class on Wednesday!  I am looking forward to hearing how their stories turn out and seeing how they are doing on their use of quotation marks!

As an extension to this writing activity,  you could add a comic strip writing station to your literacy station.  Students could take comics and write stories or take short stories and write comic strips!  What a fun way to integrate the arts and encourage creativity in writing!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope that this post has inspired you to use comic strips in your classroom!


  1. Love, love, love the idea of using comic strips for descriptive writing! It really wraps up everything the students have been working on all year - all the story elements, grammar, setting the tone, and lennnnnngggggthening your sentences to be detailed and precise. However, adding the element of using quotes directly from the comics takes the pressure off of the students to create a story. The story is already written - they just have to be the author of description. I can't wait to used this in my writing block.

  2. Thanks! I think that the opposite would be great too. Give students a short, funny story, poem, riddle, or joke and let them create a comic out of it.