I've just started to use 'Storyboards' with my ESL class who are new to film-making. I want to encourage them to plan before they begin shooting.

They're pretty reluctant as I mentioned in my recent blog post. So I'm wondering what techniques you've used - websites you've found - any ideas at all to help them with this important stage in the film-making process.

Tags: ESL, esl, film, film-making, storyboards

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As part of the Applying Information and Communication Technology course I'm doing with my 9s for the first time, I'm supposed to go over storyboarding. We're having a trial run with the kids storyboarding a fairytale. Later on they'll storyboard their stop motion animation before they start that.

I've told them they can create the storyboard freehand (draw it), use a program like Paint (already on the computer) or use one of the many comic strip creators that are out there on the Web. The comic creators tend to limit you to three panels, so I've said that a storyboad of 12 panels could be done in four comic strips.
Hi Greg. In my current context, I don't get beyond the age-old technique of outlining for writing projects. However, I just came across a fantastic storyboarding application that could really change the way that I have students do multimedia projects in the future.

The benefit of this is the ability to integrate many different kinds of media into the storyboard. Maybe this will make the process more interesting for your students.

The product is called celtx (http://www.celtx.com/)

Thanks for the suggestion.
I've never found students to be reluctant to storyboarding. There's a great film you can show them here about storyboarding. Choose storyboarding at top left or any other technique.
That's what I've been looking for a film or short guide on storyboarding. Thanks heaps.
Love the comic book creator and other technical solutions! I wonder if the kids are reluctant to draw because what they see in their heads doesn't come out of the end of the pencil. (I can totally relate to that!)

Technology might help some of these kids, but not all. Maybe some of the more artistic kids could volunteer to act as scribes for other kids? All they would have to do is describe what they want in the frame and the scribe would draw it. It would also serve as a way to encourage collaboration and discussion about planning and technique as they work together.
I work with lots of English Language Learners as well but in the primary grades. We use storyboarding not just with filmmaking but also with everyday writing as a way of planning out what you're going to write and to allow students who aren't yet writing much to be successful.

I try to emphasize the difference between illustration and sketching. Storyboards should be sketches and not published pieces of art. I'm not much of a visual artist myself so my modeling of how you draw stick figures and label those pictures helps.

Also see special features disc of Monsters Inc which has a storyboard to film comparison that can allow students to practice storyboarding with a clip and then compare it to the original storyboards.
Hey Sylvia, the other thing that I love about your idea is the opportunity it provides to talk for my English as a Second Language students. They have to craft and refine their language so as to be clear for another student.

And yes I think you've hit the nail on the head in terms of the image not looking like you see it in your head. I can so relate to that too. One thing I've found though too is that knowing about different ways of shooting films etc also is linked to one's culture - ie. movies, television, ads watched.
Hey Greg,

I worked pretty hard to make a guide to writing storyboards. I found my ESL classes loved the assignment. Here's a link to my "synthesis" assignments. Just click storyboard.

Thanks heaps for sharing this Michael. It's so interesting that people seem so much more willing to share and trade ideas online.
Hi again Michael

What did you do to lead your students into storyboards? Did you use an clips - specific websites etc? I need as much visual support as I can for my ESL students (who are adults)
THAT's what I love about Ning. You can just put out a question that is really challenging you and there's the wealth of knowledge that comes back. Thank you so much to all of you for giving me a few leads in terms of links, and also the idea of scribes which would work well in my class given they're very good at helping each other. I think because my students are range from young adults upwards that some attitudes towards drawing etc can be fairly rigid. Yet they're having a go but I want to give them more support in doing so.

So once again thanks James, Mathew, Sylvia, Daniel and Michael..will see how we go this week



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