In the era of Netflix and Youtube, you know your students are interested in video. They consume it daily and often create it themselves. Whether or not they realize it, they know a lot about different ways of showing visuals, and how different styles and choices can affect viewers.
Ready to tap their interest in/obsession with video to help them with literary analysis?
Storyboarding is a great tool to get students visualizing what they read, and using their critical thinking to make choices about how to represent the text.
What are storyboards, you ask? A storyboard is the tool folks in T.V. and film use to show how each visual scene will be shot. It looks like a comic book, and it works as a guide to show the composition, lighting, angle, camera movement, etc. for each scene.
This is a really helpful video to show students how storyboarding is used by filmmakers. Consider playing it in class when you introduce the concept.
Once you introduce your students to storyboarding, you can start using it as an activity with any novel you are reading.
Here are a few examples of how to build it into your curriculum:
- When you finish a section that is particularly dense with meaning, you can ask students to storyboard several pages into visuals as if they were going to produce a film clip. Then have students trade and share why they made the choices they did.
- When you finish a novel, you can divide it up into critical moments and assign them to students or pairs. When everyone finishes their storyboards, you can gallery walk your way through a speedy film version of the entire novel, seeing everyone’s interpretations and talking about their differences.
- You can use a storyboard as a final project, asking students to be very deliberate in their interpretive choices and turn in a reflection paper with their storyboards that explains how those choices reflect the text.
- You can ask students to create sixty second film versions of a novel or play, first storyboarding their videos and getting a clear sense of how their video choices will reflect their interpretation.
But, you might be wondering, how do you make sure students’ storyboards really reflect INTERPRETATION of the text, and not just ILLUSTRATION?
It’s important to clearly explain that each shot in their storyboard should reflect specific, deliberate choices. Here are some of the important elements they should be considering: