We give and get instructions all of the time. Whether it is a tutorial on a website, a recipe for dinner, or directions to the post office, instructions are all around us. We go through various processes too, as do many natural phenomena. Life cycles, routines, photosynthesis, digestion - processes are everywhere! Instructions and processes are so much more easily understood when accompanied by visuals. When we storyboard a process or create a sequential diagram, we can focus on discrete steps, cause and effect, and sequence.
Storyboarding makes us internalize meaning, focus on the essence of what we need to say, and display it visually. It also provides common visuals for a group of people. People can have different impressions or personal biases that affect thought patterns (see our article on the Ladder of Inference), so presenting information visually and verbally communicates ideas in a better way.
By breaking down a process, we can focus on three important things: What is the end goal or purpose? What are the individual steps? What are potential setbacks that can be easily avoided? There are many processes that can be storyboarded. Here are a few ideas for various subjects and grade levels. Storyboards can be created by teachers for students, or they can be created by students to showcase learning.
Processes can be very clearly explained or demonstrated and all students SEE the process in the same way. In addition, storyboards can be referred to at a later time for reinforcement, reteaching, or review. Having a visual record is really useful! Print out comic strips, create a shared folder on the school network, or otherwise make the storyboarded process available. For example, put a long division comic in a math notebook or folder that students can reference when doing independent work.
Check out all these different examples of processes. Notice the different layouts and approaches. Variations on the traditional layout make for a more engaging experience. Depending on the purpose of the storyboard diagram, have a character say what to do with speech bubbles, or narrate with titles, descriptions, or both! Show either a realistic situation or do an explanation for more abstract ideas.
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