Planning Stories with Storyboards

Before creating their video stories, students should organize their video stories through storyboarding. A storyboard is a way for learners to map out ideas for a video story. The storyboard is usually a graphic organizer set-up in boxes or frames that students fill in with the details of their video story. These details might be the music, characters, dialogue, sounds, narration, transitions, script, lighting, special effects, scenery, and so forth. Storyboards inspire more creativity and imagination because they are brain-friendly. The storyboard format helps learners map out ideas, which usually leads to more ideas.

Storyboards can be used for video storytelling projects for very young learners to adults. Storyboards can range from very basic to more detailed. When deciding which type of storyboard to use for a project and how, consider the following:

  • What are the ages of the learners?

  • What type of video story will students produce? Will students create claymation videos, movie trailers, or music videos? Each of these formats will require students to consider different details in the storyboard.

In the links to lesson plans in the previous section, Video Story Projects for Learners, are various examples of storyboards for the type of video story project. Find more storyboarding examples on Bernadean Porter’s StoryKeepers’ wiki.

Let’s examine a storyboard for creating a claymation video. The storyboard that accompanies this video project is the type of storyboard that usually accompanies projects. This basic storyboard has students sketch out each scene and add notes at the bottom of each scene. With a basic storyboard like this the teacher has to guide learners more. When my 4 to 6 year-old students work on filling out their storyboards, I walk around and ask guiding questions. While they are drawing their characters, I elicit vocabulary from them. I will ask questions such as, “Is this a boy or a girl?” “Is it hot or cold?” “Does she have blond or brown hair?” Learners this young can color and draw the details. I have my learners write any notes they can to describe their characters like “brown hair.”

Screen shot of the Claymation Storyboard from Knox County Schools,

The multimedia storyboard below, which was created by Bernajean Porter of the Digitales site, is more detailed with frames prompting students to think about each scene’s sound, voice over, music, and storyline. Consider how this detailed storyboard might change the outcome of your student’s video versus the previous example.

Screen shot of the Multimedia Storyboard created by Bernajean Porter of the Digitales Site