Understanding how a television is produced will
help students to understand how the persuasiveness of
a story and how the story elements create emotions to
make viewers feel a certain way about the content.
What is a Story?
A story is an account or recital of an event or a
series of events, either true or fictitious. A prose or
verse narrative intended to interest or amuse the
hearer or reader; a tale. The plot of a dramatic work.
A news article or broadcast.
As a scriptwriter, your goal is to tell a story that
will be seen not read. So, you have to tell it in a way
that makes the reader "see" it. And you want them to
feel like they're seeing a video, not a slide show.
Basic story elements include:
- Stories are a basic human convention.
- They are a means of transmitting the lessons
- They are a means of coming to grips with
- They are a form of entertainment.
Stories come out of an oral tradition. Storytelling
is somewhat of a lost art. The rich tradition is still
found in family settings and in some community
festivals. Stories are a great way to carry on family
traditions. Several geographic locations where you can
still find storytelling traditions are in the Appalachian
Mountain regions of the South and in the Midwest.
We see examples of compelling stories in the
media of public broadcasting. Many good stories are
told on public radio, as in Prairie Home Companion,
and on public television, as in My Journey Home.
The stories told by the characters in My Journey Home
tell about their struggles to understand having their
lives influenced by two different cultures: the culture
they know now and the culture from which their
Watch a segment of My Journey Home and describe
the characters and the settings you find in it.
Definition of a Storyboard
A storyboard is a panel or series of panels of
rough sketches outlining the scene sequence and major
changes of action or plot in a production to be shot
on film or video.
Like an outline for a paper, flowcharts and
storyboards save time and improve the quality of the
final product. They allow you to map out the details
of the student-produced spots.
Storyboards are a critical step in planning your
eventual shoot. Developing a storyboard is a great art
and Language Arts activity. Developing the storyboard
allows for a visual interpretation bridge between the
script and the video.
A good way to think about a storyboard is to have
students review comic strips. Comics are an excellent
teaching tool to illustrate what a storyboard is. The
Sunday comics section is the best source.
Storyboards Your Map
Developing a storyboard for your student-produced
video essay will allow you:
- To explore the elements of storytelling;
- To explore the interplay of graphics and
pictures in a story; and
- To explore sequencing in a story.
You will need:
- Construction paper or poster board or sheets
- Colored pencils, felt-tip pens or crayons.
- Tape or glue stick.
Activity adapted from YouthLearns' Teaching
Multimedia Skills: Telling Stories in Words and
Pictures by permission from the Educational
Development Center, www.youthlearn.org/learning/
Initiative offers youth development professionals and
educators comprehensive services and resources
for using technology to create exciting learning
environments.YouthLearn is a project of the
Education Development Center, www.edc.org.
- Read students a story or have them select a
story they like and read it aloud to the group.
- Divide the students into groups.
- Working in groups, have students select and
draw the most "visual" images from the story
on their work sheets.
- Once each group has completed their work,
have them number the pages and lay them out
in a sequential "essay."
- Have students determine if the pages adequately
describe in visuals the story they just heard.
- Compare different pages that contain similar
activity. How are the texts and pictures different
or the same?
- Look for patterns in the story. Do certain things
happen when a particular character appears?
Look for patterns in the illustrations separate
from the words.
- Remove a page or two from the sequence and
talk about what happens to the story. Can you
still understand it?
- Take a particular page and see what questions
it makes the students think of.
- Cover the page numbers and mix them all up. Now try to put them back together in order as