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It’s no secret that storyboards are an extremely useful tool for visual communication. But what you might not know is how much more useful storyboards are when the cell size is increased to 16x9. While 16x9 has been the industry standard in movie making for many years, we feel it is also a great layout for teachers!

Read on for 5 ways teachers can use our 16x9 layout during ELA units!

(And while you’re at it, learn more about our 2-week free trial.)

Plot Diagrams

Your students can create their own summaries by filling in a plot diagram! Each cell can be each step in the Narrative Arc, or alternatively, each cell could be an act in a play, stanza in a poem, or chapter in novel! Using a 16x9 layout is perfect because it allows the student to include more characters, dialogue, and detail in general.

Get other ideas on creating plot diagrams.

Literary Conflict Analysis

A key aspect to many works of literature is the idea of conflict. Our 16x9 layout makes it so easy for students to visualize each type of literary conflict in the story. Using the larger description boxes is perfect for adding tons of details and helps students practice reading comprehension and writing skills, too. Win-win!

Find more information on literary conflict.

Character Maps

A story would be nothing if it weren’t for the characters. Creating a character map enables the student to track specific details about each character while reading!

Our 16x9 layout allows for SO much space to write details about each character. This storyboard can be created digitally or printed out to create a worksheet that students can write on with a pen or pencil.

Pro-Tip: The grey/white lined boxes can be found under 16x9 Scenes > Patterns (it appears blue/white in the storyboard creator, but I changed the colors!).

Personal Connection to the Text

For many students, connecting to the messages within a work of literature can be difficult, if not impossible. Using a 16x9 storyboard, instruct students to create a scene, or many scenes, that shows how they can connect to a specific theme or the entire story as a whole. The 16x9 layout is important here since it allows for more space to include as many details as possible.

In this example, the student has picked a specific passage from The Fault in Our Stars and given ways that they connect with it.

Try this activity with your students and see how much they can include using this larger layout!

Current Events / Historical References

Related Activities

A great way to expand students’ knowledge of important ELA topics and events is by investigating historical events, key births/deaths, and other happenings that occurred each day!

Using the 16x9 layout, ask that students research what happened in history on a chosen day and then create a storyboard about it! Here, we found out that on June 30, 1936, Gone with the Wind was published. Then, we found out that Gone with the Wind was actually the first movie to be completely storyboarded before film production began! How cool is that?!

How to Teach Character Analysis using Storyboards


Introduce Character Analysis

Explain the importance of character analysis in understanding literature and developing critical thinking skills. Define key terms such as traits, motivations, and conflicts to provide a foundation for character analysis.


Select a Literary Work

Choose a literary work, such as a short story, novel, or play, that contains rich and complex characters for analysis. Ensure the selected work aligns with the grade level and interests of the students.


Guide Storyboard Creation

Teach students how to create storyboards that visually represent key traits, actions, and motivations of characters. Introduce storyboard templates or provide students with blank panels to sketch their own visual representations.


Analyze Character Development

Instruct students to analyze and depict the progression of a character throughout the story using their storyboards. Guide them in identifying how the character evolves, reacts to events, and interacts with other characters.


Facilitate Discussions

Encourage students to share their storyboards with peers and engage in group discussions. Lead discussions that explore character traits, conflicts, relationships, and the impact of the character on the story.


Reflect and Summarize

Guide students in reflecting on their character analysis process and the insights gained through creating storyboards. Ask students to summarize their findings in a written or verbal format, highlighting key character traits and their significance.

Frequently Asked Questions about 5 Ways Teachers Can Use the 16x9 Layout for ELA

What is the 16x9 layout, and why is it useful for ELA units?

The 16x9 layout refers to a storyboard layout where the cells are in a widescreen format with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It is commonly used in the film industry, but it can also be a useful tool for teachers during ELA units. The larger cell size of 16x9 allows students to include more characters, dialogue, and detail in their storyboards, making it an effective tool for visual communication and learning.

What are some ways that teachers can use the 16x9 layout in ELA units?

Teachers can use the 16x9 layout in a variety of ways, including creating plot diagrams, literary conflict analysis, character maps, personal connections to the text, and current events/historical references. These activities can help students visualize key elements of a story, understand literary devices and techniques, develop reading comprehension and writing skills, and connect with the text on a personal level.

Can storyboards be created digitally or on paper?

Yes, storyboards can be created digitally using our easy-to-use storyboard editing tools. , or you can be created on paper by printing out storyboard templates. Both options can be effective in helping students develop visual communication and storytelling skills.

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