If you teach French or Spanish, we have lots of resources ready-made for you to use in the classroom. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use Storyboard That to teach students who are learning other languages! The added visuals make Storyboard That a great tool in any language classroom, and the possibilities are endless, especially since you can customize projects and content so it matches your curriculum and the level your students are at.
Below you’ll find lots of suggestions on how to incorporate storyboarding and digital storytelling into your language classroom. From posters to narratives, students will have fun while they’re mastering new vocabulary.
The prospect of learning vocabulary can seem boring to students, but once you add visuals, you can make it more engaging! With these activities, students should be focused on making sure they’re using the correct vocabulary and matching it with visuals. You can provide pre-filled templates for students with either images or vocabulary depending on whether or not you’d like to scaffold the assignment.
Defining words is the first step in learning new vocabulary in any language. With a second or third language, visuals make it much easier for students to make the connections between their first language and new vocabulary.
Vocabulary posters make a great addition to any classroom, and if you’re virtual, you can still send them out to students to view digitally. They serve as background reinforcement for students, and can be made custom to the lesson and themed as desired.
Spider maps are a great activity for students to practice new vocabulary in a unit. They can use each cell to define and illustrate a new term, or practice using each new word in a sentence then create an illustration that goes along with their sentence.
Grid and matrix storyboards are perfect for practicing verb tenses and conjugation. Students can start from scratch and use each cell to write a sentence for each tense, and illustrate their sentence. To scaffold this activity, you can provide an illustration for students to write a sentence about or write a sentence and have students fill in the blank with the correct tense or conjugation before creating the illustration themselves.
Creating a menu for a restaurant or a class dinner is a fun way to practice food and dining vocabulary. For this project, students can either create a menu for a restaurant that might exist in a country that speaks the language they’re learning or they can create a menu for what they usually eat at home. Both of these provide students with the opportunity to practice new vocabulary, and can be paired with research into the culture and traditions of different countries. The brochure templates make great starting points for students.
Labeling is often used in the classroom when learning colors or classroom vocabulary, but it doesn’t have to stop there. When at home, students can create labels and affix them around the house—in their bedroom, bathroom, kitchens, and living rooms! Once students have created labels and printed them, they can practice asking for things with their family (who will have the handy labels to help). The labels also serve as reminders, and students may find this learning aid more helpful at the beginning of a unit.
Flashcards can contain either full sentences or single vocabulary words. They can have the image on one side and the language translation on the other, or have words on both sides. Having students create their own is a great way for them to identify the things they still need to learn in order to improve. But you can always create your own class set of flashcards and keep them on hand for lessons. Outside of the traditional use with partners, one of our favorite ways to incorporate flashcards into the classroom is as students are entering. Hold up a flashcard and have them identify the correct word or phrase as a kind of warm up for class. You can review current vocabulary or brush up on old words before diving into a new lesson!
Telling a story is beneficial for language learners at any level. Creating comics with Storyboard That allows students to practice both descriptions and conversations. They can talk about their day, their weekend plans, or even create a fictional narrative. The complexity and specifications of the assignment can easily be scaled based on the vocabulary they already know and how much you’d like them to be challenged.
Students can also make summaries of stories they’re reading in class or movies they watched. This is a great way to see if they understood the story and encourage them to seek out literature and media in the language that they’re learning. If they are assigned to read outside of class, students can also create book reports and posters about their chosen story.
Creating a dialogue is also a great way to practice vocabulary and sentence structure. This is an activity students can complete individually, and they can present it to the class with a friend to practice pronunciation. For this, students will create a simple conversation between two people about a topic like the weather, school, favorite sports, or favorite foods. You can check out our example for ESL for how this would be done.
When studying a language, it’s also important to introduce students to the culture and history of the people who speak it. Not only does this make their experience richer, it also gives perspective on why some words might be borrowed from other languages or why the language is so widespread.
There are lots of different projects that can be done with posters. Some of our favorites include travel posters for a country or city, or more specific posters that focus on an important dish, holiday, or person.
Travel posters are a way for students to explore the culture of and country in which their chosen language is spoken. This type of project can be done at the beginning of the year, when students are new to the class, or at any point along the way as a summative project.
Creating a biography poster gives students the opportunity to research a famous historical figure or pop culture icon from a country that speaks the language they’re learning. Getting to know the people of a country helps students better connect with the culture and remind them that it is a living, breathing world.
Travel brochures can be an alternative project to travel posters if you want to give students options. They can focus on a country, a town, or even a landmark, and can be done in the new language or in English (or whatever the student’s native language is). The brochure templates can be printed and folded up like a real brochure, and students can pass them out or create a tour to go along with them!
Once you know what type of project you want to do with students, make sure to create an assignment from your dashboard. Then you can add instructions, templates, and examples to guide students as they create. You can also add multiple templates to an assignment, so if you’re doing a poster project or looking to provide extra scaffolding, you don’t have to worry about limiting students!