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 made two of them to go over during the second week of classes, after things have settled down a little as far as class changes go and once other teachers are no longer going over their rules. Students will have experienced my classes and, hopefully, the idea that they need to be in class and paying attention will make more sense once they experience how comprehensible input works. Here is the one about the electronics policy:
Here is the one that I made to introduce my controversial (but extremely important) attendance policy. Oh boy did this policy irritate some coaches, teachers and parents who were constantly pulling kids out of my classes without any respect for our class time!
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