Susan Riley | October 2011

Storybords for Students

What organizational tools do you use with your students? There are so many graphic organizers, resources and even apps students can use. But there’s one organizer I use whenever I’m looking for students to go deep into a topic.  It’s called the Storyboard Organizer.

Artist’s Storyboards

Artists use Storyboards all the time as a way to jot down ideas, take notes, or to quickly sketch out the overall process for a piece.  These are used all the time in music production, visual art, choreography, and screenwriting.  But did you know that these Art Storyboards are a great way to help your students to organize their own thinking?

I have a set of Storyboards that I use to help students process various focal points in math, reading, writing, and science.  Each looks very similar but has a different label on the sections of the Storyboard.  In essence, though, the uses are the same.

Storyboards for Students

Students can use these Storyboards to map out the process of a math problem, enrich their writing and sequencing, identify plot, structure, and theme in a story, or to illustrate their use of the scientific method.

Simply choose whichever Storyboard you need for your subject area. Then, have students fill in the blank windows with a sketch showing the elements of the “shot”. And then, identify the artistic element used during each scene.  Essentially, they are creating a map of a video to explain the concept you are teaching.  Allow students to have a creative license here – they can draw, color, write, whatever in those boxes.  The labels can then be used to go into a little more detail of the image.  However, the real depth of these Storyboards lies in the finished product.

What Comes Next

After you have students use the Storyboard to plan and think through the problem/story/etc, then, have them actually DO the problem or WRITE the story.  You will find a depth to their thought process, language use and choice of details that you haven’t seen before.  This is because they are organizing their thinking before they even begin the actual project, eliminating frustration, fear, and confusion during the activity.

However you choose to deepen student learning, remember to consider all of the arts as a connective tool to help in the process.  Looking for more? Download these storyboards for each subject area below:

Writing Storyboard

Reading Storyboard

Math Storyboard

Scientific Art Storyboard

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan