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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

MakeBeliefsComix.com Unveils Special Needs Feature for Children

MakeBeliefsComix.com Unveils Special Needs Feature for Children

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MakeBeliefsComix.com Launches Special Needs Section to Help Disabled Students Communicate, Express Themselves by Creating Comic Strips MakeBeliefsComix.com, the free online comic strip generator, has launched a new Special Needs Section to help educators, educational therapists and parents use the site to enable children with a wide array of disabilities communicate more effectively and express their ideas by creating comic strips online. (See http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Special-Needs/) Creating comic strips is a fun way to encourage writing and reading. The new section provides examples of how educators use the site with children who are on the Autism Spectrum, who are deaf/hearing impaired, who have head injuries/brain tumors, stutter, are struggling writers, or have physical and mental disabilites. The content is based on suggestions and input from users who share what they have learned in using the site. The free web site, selected by the American Library Association as a ''Great Web Site for Kids,'' offers youngsters 100 characters with different emotions to choose from, blank talk and thought balloons that they can fill in with text, background scenes, story prompts and printables. Completed comic strips can be printed and emailed. The site also provides a Teacher Resources section (http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/How-to-Play/Educators/) that offers educators 21 ideas on how to use comic strips in the classroom to improve student writing and English skills. There are blank comic templates that can be printed and completed by hand, in addition to more than 100 printables on a variety of subjects. In addition to English, comic strips can also be written in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, German and Italian, offering and a useful tool for students who know or are learning new languages. More than 200,000 educators and English Language Learner students from over 180 countries visit MakeBeliefsComix.com each month to improve their English and writing skills. UNESCO and Google selected the site as among the world's most innovative sites to encourage literacy and reading. The five year-old site was created by author/journalist Bill Zimmerman who for many years created and edited Newsday newspaper's nationally syndicated Student Briefing Page that was twice nominated for a Pulitzer. At MakeBeliefsComix.com there is also a demo on how to use the site as well as a YouTube video showing how ELL students at City College in New York use the site to learn English.

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