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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids have to register and submit a username, password, and age to use Bitstrips. If kids say they're under 13, they're asked to submit a parent's email address. During the verification process, parents can check a box to let their child publish comics that anyone can see on the site or choose not to. Parents can also allow or prevent their kids from sending and receiving friend requests, chatting with other friends, sending and receiving messages from other users, or prevent their kids from viewing and posting comments.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids can choose from different features to customize characters, and then use them to make a comic strip on BITSTRIPS. They're guided through each step and can flex their creativity without feeling like they need to have advanced artistic abilities. A companion site, BITSTRIPS FOR SCHOOLS, lets teachers create a classroom portal and assign suggested activities that will help kids learn about various Common Core Standard topics, including specific subjects like geometric math principles and more general topics, like interpersonal skills.
Is it any good?
The BITSTRIPS community-based site gives kids a chance to create and share narrative comic strips. They can customize characters (including themselves), insert them into comics, add text, and post the result on the site. The comic creation tool, which includes drag-and-drop and click-to-select features, is easy to use. But it provides kids with an impressive amount of options and eliminates the need to draw things by hand, which makes the experience faster and less frustrating than some creative sites.
A spin-off website, BITSTRIPS FOR SCHOOLS, makes the tool a stronger learning resource by offering virtual classroom set-up and dozens of activities teachers can assign to kids, covering topics like math, history, and business.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what chronological order means and how it's used in writing. Can your child identify the beginning, middle, and end of a favorite story?
How does a story change when you tell it to someone, instead of writing it down? What things can be conveyed better in print than with your voice?
Creating a story is an entirely different experience that hearing or reading one. Discuss a recent event in your child's life that could be turned into a comic strip or story. What pictures would your child include? Is there any information that should be left out because it doesn't really relate to the main point?