Friday, November 13, 2015

Storyboarding in Seventh Grade Language Arts: A Google Drawing Exploration!

This week we have a guest post from Brittany Rivera, 7th Grade IRLA at CMS. 

To be frank, the 1-to-1 initiative intimidated me. Even as a third-year teacher, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could possibly change from the way I was “used” to teaching. How could I consistently incorporate this much amazing technology in the classroom? How would I get there? How could I use these devices in the best way possible?

I started thinking about my visual learners and the goals I wanted my kids to reach. I wanted them to feel like close reading was a natural practice as opposed to something they “had” to do. It wasn’t enough to model and practice close reading on paper. I needed to do something else.

The New York Times Ed Blog opened a lot of doors for me and inspired me to try Storyboarding as a way to practice Close Reading. Students were placed into three groups with a different short story per group. The focus of the lesson was using a Storyboard to gather relevant evidence as well as choose visuals to increase their understanding of each piece of evidence. In the day’s experience, I found that my students felt more empowered in terms of understanding their stories, and their inferences and claims were so much stronger.

Using Google Drawing, students were able to develop their Storyboards. They could share their work with partners within the classroom and participate in a gallery walk where they had the opportunity to see other students work and how they incorporated visuals into their analytical reading work.  It was truly an awesome experience and gave kids the opportunity to interact with texts in a more creative way!

My Model
Students participating in our Gallery Walk
Students were given the option of using paper storyboards over the Chromebook; Chromebooks were used most often!

A student’s work on the short story “The Stolen Party”

A student’s work on the short story “Thirteen and a Half”


  1. Thanks for this, Brittany! I'm definitely inspired to get my kids using Google Drawing to create a storyboard or maybe a flowchart to support close reading (one of our Historical thinking skills) in the content area. I'm planning asking the kids to use Google Drawing to create a storyboard that shows how the problems of the Articles of Confederation led to the Constitutional Convention and eventually to our US Constitution. Hopefully, this will allow the students to comprehend and interpret history as a more of a flowing narrative (as opposed to splintered facts and details) and create a visual representation of historical events as a story unfolding. I know it will increased engagement and reach more learners because of the creative component that the more sterile charts and recording sheets don't allow for. At the very least, it'll be a change of pace and yet another way for them to show what they know... : )