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What is a Traditional Storyboard?

Storyboard Template: Traditional Storyboard Layout

A storyboard is a graphic organizer that uses images to tell a story. Originally, drawings on separate pieces of paper that told a story were pinned to a board to serve as reference for animators, filmmakers, and more. Walt Disney and Howard Hughes were some of the first to use this process. Check out this Wikipedia article for more information on the evolution of the storyboard! The traditional storyboard is a perfect start for digital storytelling, creating graphic organizers, and helping students visually reinforce their learning.

Traditional Storyboards Help You:

  • Organize Your Thoughts
  • Plan
  • Sequence
  • Tell a Story
  • Present Information

Breaking Down the Traditional Storyboard

When you open the Storyboard Creator for a new storyboard, the layout is our traditional storyboard layout. The linear direction of the cells is perfect for storytelling, explaining, and showing the passage of time.

Cell Layouts

All storyboard layouts can add an additional title and/or description. This gives the author a total of four different layout options and opens up new possibilities by adding another level of information. Check out the examples of all cell layouts in a traditional storyboard below!

Cell Layout Options

  • Cell Only
  • Cell and Title
  • Cell and Description
  • Cell, Title, and Description
Cell Layout Options

Examples of Each Cell Layout

Application: How can I use a Traditional Storyboard?

There are many uses for storyboards in the entertainment industry, the business world, and education. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Entertainment IndustryBusiness WorldEducation
  • Plan for shots in a live-action video
    (commercial, vlog, TV show, film, etc.)
  • Pitch a product idea
  • Keep track of characters in a text
  • Plan a narrative for animation
  • Make "How-To" instructions
  • Summarize a text
  • Plan scenery for a stage production
  • Illustrate potential outcomes
  • Create a picture story
  • Plan or create a graphic novel or comic
  • Present ideas to peers and colleagues
  • Create an illustrated story

  • Classroom Use: How can I use a Traditional Storyboard in my Classroom?

    Storyboard That is an amazing tool for schools! The traditional storyboard layout is the original and most flexible layout. Below are examples across all subjects, and an additional section just for special education and IEPs.



    Foreign Language


    • Narration of a Historical Event
    • Mini-Bio of Historical Figures
    • Summary of Important Documents
    • Dialogues
    • Plan for Film Project
    • Short Story
    • Explain Steps in an Experiment
    • Summarize Information
    • Instructions to Solve a Problem

    English Language Arts

    ELA and Storyboard That work wonders together. There are many ways you can make a book come alive with various activities using the traditional storyboard. Plus, students love coming up with their own stories and making visual presentations with the Storyboard Creator!

    Example Activities

    • Plot Diagram
    • Character Map
    • Hero’s Journey


    With the combination of Photos For Class and the custom artwork from our artists, the traditional storyboard is an excellent medium for presenting historical information, important people, and current affairs.

    Example Activities

    • Narration of a Historical Event
    • Mini-Bio of Historical Figures
    • Summary of Important Documents

    Foreign Language

    Images are the same across languages! Integrating visual images with learning a new language can help reinforce vocabulary and syntax.

    Example Activities

    • Dialogues
    • Plan for a Film Project
    • Short Story

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

    Create your own comics to engage your students, or have your students make storyboards to explain concepts to other students.

    Example Activities

    • Explain Steps in an Experiment
    • Summarize Information
    • Instructions to Solve a Problem

    For more ideas on how to use storyboards in your classroom, look through some of our lesson plans for activities, template storyboards, and more!

    Applications for Special Education

    Storyboard That is a fun tool for everyone in the classroom, but may be particularly useful for students on IEPs and 504 plans. Graphic organizers serve as a way to structure or guide a student's thinking. The traditional storyboard makes scaffolding instruction easy and engaging!

    Storyboard That allows the creators to incorporate pictures, colors, and text into their graphic organizers. Not all students have stellar handwriting or drawing abilities. Incorporating a storyboard-style format into digital storytelling allows handwriting abilities and drawing talents to become irrelevant. All students end up with a graphic organizer they can look back on later and still be able to understand it.

    Educators can use Storyboard That to create their own customized digital assignments or print-outs. Here are a few additional ideas on when to use a traditional storyboard for special education:

    • Create visual vocabulary boards
    • Keep track of characters in a story
    • Use Storyboard That instead of a pencil and paper assignment
    • Tell a story or introduce a topic
    • Plan a piece of writing
    • Create boards for games, rewards, and communication needs

    Related Activities

    How to Teach with a Traditional Storyboard


    Introduce the Concept of Storyboarding

    Begin by explaining to your students what a traditional storyboard is and its purpose in visual storytelling. Discuss how storyboards help organize thoughts, plan sequences, and effectively convey information. Show examples of traditional storyboards in different contexts, such as film, animation, and graphic novels, to provide visual references.


    Demonstrate Storyboard Creation Process

    Walk your students through the process of creating a traditional storyboard. Explain the structure and layout of the cells, emphasizing the linear progression of the story. Show them how to add images, titles, and descriptions to each cell, and how these elements contribute to storytelling and comprehension.


    Model Storyboarding Techniques

    Model effective storyboarding techniques by creating a storyboard together as a class. Choose a familiar story, topic, or concept, and guide the students in selecting key moments or important details to include in the storyboard. Discuss the decisions made and the reasoning behind them, highlighting the cause-and-effect relationships and sequencing of events.


    Provide Opportunities for Practice

    Allow students to practice creating their own traditional storyboards. Assign topics or prompts related to the subject being taught, such as summarizing a text, explaining a scientific process, or retelling a historical event. Encourage creativity and critical thinking as they plan, sequence, and visually represent their ideas in the storyboard format.


    Incorporate Collaborative Storyboarding

    Promote collaboration and teamwork by assigning group projects that involve creating a traditional storyboard. Assign roles within the group, such as writer, illustrator, and presenter, to encourage division of tasks and shared responsibility. Have groups present their storyboards to the class, explaining their creative choices and how they effectively conveyed information.


    Assess Understanding and Creativity

    Evaluate students' understanding of the subject matter and their ability to effectively utilize traditional storyboards. Assess their comprehension of cause-and-effect relationships, sequencing, and the overall clarity and coherence of their storyboards. Additionally, assess their creativity and ability to visually represent ideas and concepts in an engaging and compelling manner.

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Traditional Storyboard Layout

    How can traditional storyboards be used beyond the realm of film and media production?

    Traditional storyboards can be used in a variety of settings, such as in marketing campaigns, educational presentations, and even in personal projects such as home renovation planning. They can be adapted to fit any project that requires careful planning and visualization.

    What are the common elements found in a traditional storyboard?

    A traditional storyboard typically includes a series of panels that depict the action and dialogue of the project. Each panel is accompanied by a brief description of the shot, camera angle, and any important details, such as lighting or props.

    What are some best practices for creating a traditional storyboard?

    Some best practices for creating a traditional storyboard include starting with a clear project outline, using simple and clear drawings, incorporating accurate shot descriptions, and collaborating with the creative team to ensure that the storyboard accurately reflects the project vision.

    Image Attributions
    Find more storyboard activities like these in our Special Education Category!
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