Author Topic: Calvin and Hobbes Activities  (Read 967 times)

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Offline Emily Doehring

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Calvin and Hobbes Activities
« on: March 13, 2017, 11:49:44 PM »
Calvin and Hobbes
One reason why comics are so great is because they can make reading in an L2 much easier (via visual clues) and more fun! Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comics are great for L2 learners because they appeal to such a large audience (both children and adults alike tend to find Calvin and his stuffed tiger to be a very entertaining pair), each strip is short so they are quick and easy and don’t require a lot of memory on the part of the reader, and they apply to a wide range of proficiency levels, meaning that Calvin and Hobbs comics can be relevant, level-appropriate reading material for beginning students to advanced students.
For a 6 year old, Calvin has quite an impressive lexicon. Depending on your class, choose strips containing Calvin’s existential musings for an older/more advanced crowd and discuss what Calvin means. Sometimes he can be very hard to understand! (See Attachment below for two Calvin and Hobbes comic strips for advanced learners.)
Choose strips with more physical humor and reduced vocabulary for younger/lower proficiency level students. (See Attachment below for two Calvin and Hobbes comic strips for beginning learners.)
Comic strip humor can be confusing at times – with the link featured above, go through several comic strips with your class using an overhead projector (or by printing out the desired comic strips if your classroom isn’t equipped with the right technology) and talk about them. What are they about? What makes them funny? Can they infer the context of the comic strip? (A lot of Calvin and Hobbs comics start right in the middle of all the action. Can your students figure out where Calvin is, what he is talking about, and what he is doing based on the dialogue and the pictures?)  This activity is not only a fun, easy approach to light group reading for your students, but it helps them to infer context based on dialogue and learn more about American humor. This could either be a fun warm-up activity you do with your students every once in a while, or you can assign them “bulk” Calvin and Hobbes reading to do outside of class. In class, you can have your students write and draw their own Calvin and Hobbes comic strip after they’ve studied several strips themselves.

TIPS: the last comic strip in this post (the only one in color) would also make for a great introduction to onomatopoeia in humorous writing. For younger students, have them try to make the sounds Calvin produces at the dinner table – they can use the written words and the pictures for clues!
Here a link to a Calvin and Hobbes worksheet that might be useful for younger/lower-proficiency ESL/EFL students:

Image credit:,isz:m&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjKk9P8k9XSAhXHyyYKHdB0C_QQ2A4IHCgD&biw=1163&bih=537#imgrc=ALW5jc5LiEP-MM:
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 12:05:34 AM by Emily Doehring »