Hi! My name is Dan Rosseel and I am here to tell my personal story of why I used Storyboard That in my classroom and why I joined their incredible team in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I taught sixth and seventh grade History as well as sixth grade Reading for four years in a South Texas middle school. My school had a 91% economically disadvantaged student population and the adversity my students faced on a continuous basis inspired me to do everything I could to close their academic gaps.
I needed engaging lessons that got my students excited about reading, but also reached Level 4 of the Depth and Knowledge (DOK) chart. The traditional methods of reading a hard copy story and answering comprehension questions is what I wanted to gear away from because the future of education is a digitized classroom.
I found the results of using Storyboard That regularly in my classroom to be staggering. Using Storyboard That every other week helped contribute to close my students’ Lexile measure gap by an average of two grade levels. My students were pleading with me to finish their storyboards, finish at home or even stay after school to continue working on assignments. In four years of teaching, I have truly never seen engagement on this level.
I moved to the Boston area and decided to help grow the company I quickly began so passionate about. I joined Storyboard That because I personally experienced how the product enhances student engagement and performance in the classroom. I wanted to join a credible company that prioritizes student outcomes. I recommend Storyboard That to any educator looking to move towards the future of education, the digitized world of storytelling.
Storyboard That loves to hear success stories from teachers. Here are a few of the great stories we've received!
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This past school year, I had the opportunity to teach a group of English Language Learners in addition to typical social studies learners. The addition of English Language Learners provided an added challenge to me. I so wanted to meet their needs, but at the same time, felt inadequate. After the training provided by my school district, my team was still not sure how to handle what we were now up against. Our challenges continued throughout the year, but my team persisted. We were confident that if we continued to make our best effort we could and would reach these struggling students. Many of these children had no or very little support at home with working mothers and fathers. One student in particular stood out as one who wanted to succeed if the proper channels were opened. This child along with the rest in this group, could understand the story, the material when I introduced Storyboard That. The ideas in pictures along with short, concise captions made all the difference for many of these students. Simply reading from a textbook or listening to me explain, did not in many cases enforce the concept. Many could not understand without the introduction of Storyboards. I would say that last year I had my students make about four Storyboards, on average one a quarter. I noticed that my students got excited when they learned we would be doing another Storyboard to enforce a concept! I truly thank you for the opportunity you have given my students and many others.
This past spring, I used Storyboard That as an assessment project to show understanding of The Hero's Journey and how it connects to stirs elements and plot. I teach 7th grade, so getting all of my students to master these concepts can be challenging, especially for my boys. They also had to present their creations to the class. This project was a total success! Some of the best ones were done by my boys! This was a great way to engage my at-risk students and help them to understand and demonstrate some of the most essential skills in writing a story. Thank you for being a part of this success.
My gifted students were so excited to use Storyboard That when I showed them the program. Since I am always looking for appropriate ways to find creative extensions, this really fit the bill with their creative minds. We were writing original stories about local townspeople for [our county]. The students were to set a historically based local man or woman into a fiction based story. We used the program to outline our stories prior to writing. The creative process really flowed as they were modifying the scenery to match the description in their stories. After writing, the students read their stories out loud while displaying the finished Storyboard slides on the classroom projection screen. The audience sat attentively watching the slides while listening to the reader. No small feat for antsy middle school children.
I am a special education teacher working in a full-inclusion elementary school program. I discovered Storyboard That this past school year while searching for resources for one of my students with autism who has an auditory processing disorder. At our school, students use the reader's workshop model with an embedded book club component. This student struggled greatly with comprehension. He would have trouble keeping track of what happened from one chapter to the next which impacted his ability to engage in higher level conversations about the theme and character traits. Storyboard That provided excellent visuals to help him keep the plot organized in his mind. It also was a lifesaver for me as a special education teacher, as there are thousands of pre-made visuals ready to go. General education teachers at my site are also beginning to use it. I am also a teaching assistant for a language arts course in the local university teacher education program and highly recommend this resource to our student teachers.
Thanks for creating such a high-quality resource!
I am a special education teacher. This past year I taught inclusion 8th grade language arts and math, and a block of curriculum assistance. One of my students has a tough home life, and a really sad life story which has turned him angry. He has learning disabilities in reading and math. The difficulties, along with distrust of adults and anger simmering inside added up to frequent disruptive behavior in class and with peers. After coming back from a suspension [this student] was behind in his work. He had a social studies project due the next day, which had been assigned two weeks before. He had to draw a political cartoon. [He] is witty, and has good ideas. He pays attention to topics of interest, and has some street smarts. He had an idea, but did not know how to draw it. I know that [this student] doesn't like to draw. He gave his art teacher fits because he also wanted no help. Because I didn't want drawing to be a cause for frustration and for him to quit, I grabbed my computer and pulled up Storyboard That. Before it was due, [he] had an awesome political cartoon that included an animal, a politician, a speech bubble and text box, on a background that included the White House. [His] social studies teacher accepted the project on time, and was excited about his creativity. Had I not used Storyboard That, he would not have made the effort to produce the cartoon.
A HUGE success story for this past school year for me was discovering Storyboard That! I spent 12 years teaching 2nd graders in which I loved however through some prompting from my principal he wanted me to move up grade levels. With all the technology and innovative thinking in my second grade classroom, he thought I could do wonders with 5th graders! Boy, I was glad. In moving to the classroom, I was delighted to see how much stuff was in the room. That delight turned into disappointment when I started to clean and realized almost all the stuff was between 10 to 20 years old! No child wants a boring worksheet! Neither do I!
In my Social Studies curriculum I was teaching the most exciting events that happened in US history the American Revolution! I spent Saturdays chugging away ideas to help the kids get excited about the American Revolution and along came you all! I found the amazing poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow! My job is integrating Reading and Social Studies! Storyboard That has amazing activities for this poem. I needed Storyboard That activities to get the kids excited about poetry. They hear the word, 'poetry' and they turn it off immediately. Surprisingly that was not the case with this poem and your activities! We analyzed the stanzas, discussed the figurative language and even doodled what they saw through the poem. Their culminating activity was choosing an activity from Storyboard That to show mastery of the concepts for reading and Social Studies. They loved choosing their activities because there were so many in regards to this poem. They actually wanted to do ALL of them! A few of them actually did!
Storyboard That is a wonderful concept, you all probably know that! The kids see comics and they get excited. When I paired poetry and the comics together, the kids looked at it in a different manner. They wanted to do Storyboard That for every activity. At that point in time, we only had a free subscription and needless to say we used it to the fullest manner! The kids actually were sad when our subscription ended. One child said, "Can't you put in another email and get it for us free again?" Though I told him that he was being a good problem solver, it doesn't actually help the situation. We made a list of ideas of how we could get Storyboard That. One recommendation was asking the principal... fast forward a bit of time and the story ends well with my principal purchasing me a subscription. She loved the ideas that were being generated in my classroom!
Thanks for inventing Storyboard That for the kids that love comics and being creative! In a group of 52 5th graders, I did not have one child complain about the activities. It actually started a fire in these children to love writing, reading and social studies... imagine that!
Storyboard That has made an impact in my class in ways that I never saw coming. While I expected students to retell stories to demonstrate comprehension, they achieved so much more. Students who normally shy away from participating in reading and writing activities were actively engaged. Students looked forward to reading assigned materials and sharing their conclusions together. Ideas went beyond simple comprehension; students synthesized material and became responsible for their learning. For the first time, I saw my students collaborate with one another before coming to me to solve a problem and some even reached out to the online chat feature first. The highlight of my year was when students taught me features in which I was unaware, which was a direct result of communicating with a SBT team member. Students gained so much more than graphic novel skills, they learned to advocate for themselves as well as work collaboratively. Students even created a sign in American Sign Language (ASL) which is now used in our high school department.
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