Strategy 5: Creating a Story Board


After students participate in an activity (reading a text, conducting research, inquiry, watching a performance) they are given a story board strip of 4 or 5 boxes and asked to retell the important elements of the activity in sequence.

Each box should include a thought or speech bubble as well as a graphic or drawing. Asking students to use a limited amount of boxes forces them to choose only the most important elements of the experience. This strategy engages students in sequencing, using cause and effect reasoning, synthesizing, summarizing, and identifying main ideas.

Story boards can also be used as a pre-writing activity, to help the students organize their thoughts, arguments, or plot, depending on the type of writing. This is very good for helping students pay attention to structure in their writing, and the comic strip aspect appeals to students who like to draw.

Storyboards can also become the basis for a science fair presentation or research paper, making the process of scientific research manageable for students. This strategy is also good for describing a plan for a science investigation or civic project, such as a design for building something, showing the steps in the process.

Example: Storyboard on pH Data from Teaching the New Writing, Herrington, Hodgson, and Moran p. 153.
Try it: Read the biographical sketch of Susan B. Anthony and create a storyboard, using four boxes.

Homework: Try the strategy with your students, then write a few short comments in the discussion tab about how it worked and what changes you might suggest, if any.