Increase Student Engagement, Enthusiasm, & Confidence

By Kristy Littlehale

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As a high school English teacher in a vocational technical school, I see firsthand the benefits that visual learning and hands-on assignments have on my students. When my kids use Storyboard That, I see huge jumps in their retention of information, enthusiasm, and confidence. While I began writing for Storyboard That last summer, I didn’t get a chance to see the fruits of my labor until this past school year when I started using the software in my classroom. In my mind, I knew what the platform could offer my students: it’s visual, it gives them a linear way to tell a story, it’s easier to edit than a poster, etc. But I quickly found that Storyboard That held so many unexpected benefits for my kids that I got even MORE excited about using it!

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Information Retention

One reading that I do every year with my seniors is the Mesopotamian work, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and every year, it is a struggle to get them to remember the content because, well, the book isn’t the most exciting piece of literature ever. This year, I utilized the heroic journey Storyboard That assignment and I discovered that even by January, or finals time in May, my kids remembered more elements of the story than any of my past classes ever have. In addition, when I pulled up the boards as a review for the final exam, it was a great memory jogger! My kids didn’t have to read each individual description – they just saw the pictures and remembered the biggest plot points of the story. Below is a shortened example like of the boards they came up with:

Epic of Gilgamesh Example
Epic of Gilgamesh Example


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Engagement & Enthusiasm

Many of my students are hands-on learners and most are tech-savvy, so to combine both of these elements pretty much made their day! My kids LOVE picking out their own scenes, customizing their characters, posing them, cropping stuff, and throwing in fun text bubbles. They are working closely with the text, but they don’t even realize it! There were many instances where the bell would ring and they would look up, dazed, from their computers and realize that an entire block had passed them by and it was time to leave! The level of student engagement was incredible, and also fun!

A lot of my students really got creative, too, and some of them incorporated funny things into their boards! (Who knew learning could still be fun in high school?!) Here are some examples that are like the boards they created:

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One surprising and unexpected benefit of using Storyboard That in my classroom was that when it came time to present their storyboards, so many of my kids were extremely confident! For the students who aren’t so good at drawing (like me), Storyboard That put them on a level visual playing field with their more artistically-inclined peers. For the students who struggle with writing, they didn’t have to fill up an entire slide or PowerPoint presentation; instead, they could add dialogue and short blurbs and still accomplish their task. I asked students to note at least one artistic element that they incorporated during their presentations, whether it be a zoom and crop, a shadow, layering, adding glow to the moon, etc. This led students to be more excited about sharing a cool thing they did, or it got them excited about something cool their classmates did. In addition, not every storyboard is going to be the same – and that’s OK! I can still assess that the kids are grasping what I need them to know, even if they differ slightly in their approaches and results.

BONUS! Easy Substitute Plans

For me, I have to say that I was pretty excited to utilize Storyboard That when I was unexpectedly out sick in February with the flu. In a middle-of-the-night panic, I realized that I didn’t have anything for my freshmen to do on their own because we were at an awkward point in the curriculum. Beyond that, I needed them to behave for the substitute. I quickly logged onto my Storyboard That teacher dashboard and created an assignment for my students.

I had them read the short story “The Interlopers” by Saki, and I put up a plot diagram template. (We were in the middle of To Kill A Mockingbird, and we would be discussing plot lines for novels soon, so having a short review worked!) The students came in, opened their Chromebooks, saw my email, logged in to Storyboard That, and quickly got to work. They found my template and my instructions. They read the story together in their groups, and then split off to work on their own plot diagrams. Students who didn’t finish could bring it home! It’s so easy for them to use and have fun with. The best part is there were no disciplinary write-ups waiting for me when I returned, and I could check on students’ progress from home. Here are some examples like the different versions of “Climax” from the story that resulted (and all were valid!):

Interlopers Different Climax Examples
Interlopers Different Climax Examples


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Teacher Favorites

Get the most out of Storyboard That with these great features!

Classroom Features

During your 14-Day free trial, you and your students will have full access to all the classroom features.

  • Unlimited Storyboards with up to 100 cells
  • Personal Teacher Dashboard
  • Support for Google Sign On

Photos for Class

Easily find that perfect photo thanks to integration with Photos for Class.

  • Millions of Creative Commons photos
  • Automatically cited when used
  • Makes storyboards POP

Powerful Export

After your storyboard is created easily export it to high resolution storyboard cells, PDF, slideshow, and so much more!

  • Export to PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides
  • Upload to your blog, wiki, email or social media
  • Create classroom posters and custom printables

Presentation Ready

Quickly turn any storyboard into a presentation to receive immediate feedback!

  • One Click Live Slide Shows
  • Export to PowerPoint (Keynote, and Google Slides compatible)
  • Create a new presentation just as easily after edits
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•   (English) Increase Student Engagement, Enthusiasm, & Confidence   •   (Español) Aumentar la Retención, el Entusiasmo y la Confianza de los Estudiantes   •   (Français) Augmenter la Rétention, L'enthousiasme et la Confiance des Étudiants   •   (Deutsch) Erhöhen Student Retention, Begeisterung, und Vertrauen   •   (Italiana) Aumentare Student Ritenzione, Entusiasmo, Fiducia &   •   (Nederlands) Verhoog Student Retention, Enthousiasme, & Confidence   •   (Português) Aumentar a Retenção do Aluno, Entusiasmo e Confiança   •   (עברית) שפר את שימור סטודנטים, התלהבות, & אמון   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) زيادة الطالب الاحتفاظ، الحماس، والثقة   •   (हिन्दी) छात्र प्रतिधारण, उत्साह, और विश्वास बढ़ाएं   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Повысить Удержание Студентов, Энтузиазм и Уверенность   •   (Dansk) Forøg Student Retention, Entusiasme, og Tillid   •   (Svenska) Öka Student Retention, Entusiasm och Förtroende   •   (Suomi) Lisätä Opiskelijoiden Säilyttäminen, Innostusta, ja Luottamus   •   (Norsk) Øk Student Retention, Entusiasme, og Confidence   •   (Türkçe) Öğrenci Tutulumunu, Heyecanı ve Güvenini Artırın   •   (Polski) Zwiększenie Retencji Studentów, Entuzjastów i Zaufania   •   (Româna) Creșterea Student de Retenție, Entuziasm, și de Încredere   •   (Ceština) Zvýšení Student Uchovávání, Nadšení, Důvěru &   •   (Slovenský) Zvýšiť Zadržiavanie Študentov, Nadšenie a Dôveru   •   (Magyar) Növekszik Student Megőrzése, a Lelkesedés, és Bizalom   •   (Hrvatski) Povećajte Zadržavanje Učenika, Entuzijazam i Povjerenje   •   (български) Увеличете Задържането на Студентите, Ентусиазма и Доверието   •   (Lietuvos) Didinti Studentų Susilaikymas, Entuziazmas, & Pasitikėjimą   •   (Slovenščina) Povečajte Študent Hrambi, Enthusiasm, & Zaupanje   •   (Latvijas) Palielināt Studentu Saglabāšana, Entuziasmu un Uzticību   •   (eesti) Suurendada Student Säilitamine, Entusiasmi, ja Usaldus