Storyboarding for English As a Second Language Classes
Jan 19, 2015 English as a Second Language (ESL) 4003 Views
Storyboarding for English As a Second Language classes
One of the important goals for any ESL class, and one that tends to get lost in the shuffle of grammar, writing and vocabulary lessons, is simple language production. One great way to get students to produce language is by the use of storyboards.
Storyboarding started in the movie industry with the creation of cartoons which later developed into moving pictures. Storyboards are used all the time now to set up action sequences for films and commercials. I introduce students to the storyboard concept by giving them very simple examples. I will show a YouTube storyboard video made by 5th and 6th grade students to show the class what I am looking for. These students retell the story.
Students are working from a textbook where there are a number of fairly simple fables and tales that they read each week. We start with the story they just read. I tell them they will retell the story on the storyboard.
Students are divided into teams of four. (Improvise with odd numbers.) Each student is handed a blank sheet of white paper. I then have them fold the paper in half and then in half again thus creating four equal squares.
Students number the squares 1, 2, 3, 4. Students self-select who will be number one, then number two and so on to four. Then, all the number ones in class start in square 1 and start the story. It is generally best to start with the title. For example, using Six Blind Men and the Elephant, they start with the title in square one and draw an elephant.
We move onto all the # 2 students and those students need to draw/describe some of the Blind Men and what they saw. Then the # 3 students can draw/describe the rest of the Blind Men and what they saw. In square 4, the students need to summarize the story, such as; 'they all saw something different.'
Once the team has gotten all of the four squares filled out, it is their turn to retell the story to the class. They take their papers to the white board, redraw their pictures and then each take turns reading their section of the story. (It is important to emphasize that each student talks and no one does all the talking for the group.)
Once students are comfortable with this process, they can move onto PowerPoint presentations. At this point, the teams each pick a different story to retell. They can work together on the computers in the school library. Students will generally utilize more slides to get their story told and will pull graphics from the internet or sometimes create graphics themselves. It is not important at this phase of their learning to be original. It is important that they retell the story in a comprehensible manner. The teams then present their PowerPoints to the class. Students generally do very well on this exercise and enjoy doing the creative work and also, collaborating in teams. Lastly, they are producing language, in their own words!