There are two very important parts of my syllabus that are constantly overlooked by students: the attendance policy and the electronic devices policy. I have decided to reformat how I present that information using a pretty cool website called Toondoo. Here is one strip that I created (the entire attendance policy cartoon is three of these and fits nicely on one piece of paper):
It was free to use, although I am now noticing that it advertises only a 15 day free trial. Well, I just needed a few hours on a rainy summer day to play around with the website. I have to say, it was enjoyable figuring out how to put together my own characters. I even created a cartoon Stephen Krashen to interrupt my spiel on “how languages are learned” and just cut to the chase. One of the advantages of the site: it was very easy to create characters who can express a variety of emotions. A major disadvantage, however, is that it is difficult to place a female character in the cartoon without presenting tired, sexist images. Most of the female outfits are not school-appropriate. This does not make the website useless for my purposes, but it is a reminder that I am the one who actively controls the messages being conveyed in my classroom.
I briefly flirted with the idea of creating cartoons for some of my class stories, but then realized that my student-created cartoons are infinitely better. On the syllabus it will stay. Here is a link to the website for those of you interested in adding cartoons to your syllabus: toondoo.com