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TeachNet Grant: Five Frames: Digital Storytelling with Stills
Anne Kornfeld

Newcomers HS 
28-01 41 Avenue
Long Island City, NY  11101

High School- Digital Imaging/Photography, Language Arts
About the Grant:

How it Works - Storyboarding and Story telling

Follow the guidelines of the 5-frame story:
1st photo: establish characters and location.
2nd photo: create a situation with possibilities of what might happen.
3rd photo: involve the characters in the situation.
4th photo: build to probable outcomes.
5th photo: have a logical, but surprising, end.

Share stories on Flickr, Ning or other interactive blog

Final Project/Product - Give us at least one example of a culminating activity or project students are required to complete.

The visual stories will be posted online; students will comment/respond to one another's work using constructive criticism.


How This Grant was Adapted:

Using comics and graphic novels as a basis, students create a story that hones their skills by working within the structure of 5 frames. Students employ visual thinking to explain an idea. Finally, the 5-frame story provides an opportunity for students to use basic technology to create stories and have the ability to share and interact with a broad audience.

Tips for the Teacher

This lesson assumes that students will have prior knowledge and experience with Internet etiquette/cyber-safety; using appropriate language and not disclosing personal information. All students should have parental permission forms to participate in online activities. Students who do not have this permission or access may participate in an internal dialogue done in Word and moderated by the teacher.

As the end product of this project is to have students post their photo stories to a social network, it can be done in either of 2 ways. One: posts can be done on Flickr.com, which entails students having  Yahoo.com accounts and they will join the 5-Frame story group, which seems to be a docile and good-natured bunch. However, this site is open to others and that may be an issue for some. You can start your own group in Flickr.com and password protect it. Alternatively, you can start your own social network using Ning.com and this will allow you full control over content and who can be accepted into the Ning group: http://about.ning.com

This project works best when students are supplied with digital cameras. However, as the destination for their images are online, low-resolution (72ppi) are acceptable and students can even use the cameras in their cell phones to capture images. Alternatively, if there is no access to any digital cameras students can download images and create a written story around five found images.

Project URL



Objective 1: Understanding and application of a visual frame story.

Objective 2: Use of digital photography as a tool for storytelling.

Objective 3: Uploading images online and responding to others via a social-networking environment.

Objective 4: Using storyboards to convey ideas.

Websites Used

 Link 1: http://storyboards-east.com/sb_stwrwk.htm
 Description: Storyboards from Star Wars
Link 2: http://storyboards-east.com/storybrd.htm
Description: Links to notable storyboards
Link 3: http://flickr.com/groups/visualstory/
Description: Gives the framework for the 5-frame story and the home of this art form.
Link 4: http://5frame.ning.com/
Description: A Ning group dedicated to the 5 frame story.
Link 6: http://re-title.com/exhibitions/archive_nohrahaimegallery290.asp
DUANE MICHALS:   Photography Beyond Photography
PACE/MACGill Gallery
Link 7: http://digital-photography-school.com/telling-stories-with-photos
Telling Stories With Photos

Description: Multiple Images Photo Stories
Link 8: http://astoriedcareer.com/2009/03/from-6word-stories-to-5frame-s.html
Description: This blog explains how the author sees the 5 frame story as a variation of the popular 6-word memoire.
Link 9: http://ftvstudy.com/page24/page24.html
Description: Blank Storyboards

Standards Addressed:

Standard 1:

Students will actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the visual arts and participate in various roles in the arts.  Grade: High School Subject: Art

Standard 2:
Students will respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.  Grade: High School     Subject: Art

Standard 3: NETS
Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a.  apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b.  create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c.   use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
d.   identify trends and forecast possibilities.
Grade: High School    Subject: Technology

Standard 4: Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.  
a.   interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b.    communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c.    develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
d.    contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
Grade: High School      Subject: Technology

Standard 5: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
a.   identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation
b.    plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c.    collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
d.    use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
Subject: Technology

Standard 6: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
Listening and Reading: to acquire information and understanding involves collecting data, facts, and ideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and using knowledge from oral, written, and electronic sources.
Subject: ELA

Standard 7: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
Oral communication in formal and informal settings requires the ability to talk with people of different ages, genders, and cultures, to adapt presentations to different audiences, and to reflect on how talk varies in different situations.
Subject :ELA


Lesson 1:

Title - Telling a story through frames: looking at storyboards.

Objective 1: To make students aware of visual storytelling: creating a message with an economy of images.

Objective 2: To look at storyboards and how artists tell a story through various frames; use of story arc.

Materials 1: Computers with Internet connection
Materials 2: Printer ( if available)

Procedure 1: Solicit from students how stories are told.
Procedure 2: Observe how story arcs work in comics; how characters move from one situation to another to cause a change and/or transformation.
Procedure 3:  Explain that frame stories such as comic books can have the following elements: exposition, rising action, climax, resolution, falling action - in other words: beginning, middle, and end.
Procedure 4: View notable storyboards and visual story sequences (See step 4: Relevant Websites); discuss how they fulfill the elements above.
Procedure 5: Students brainstorm ideas for stories.

Assessment -
Students write an informal critique explaining which story they thought was most interesting/effective and why?


Lesson 2:

Title - Creating our own storyboards

Objective 1: Students will utilize storyboard frames and story telling elements to create a story.
Objective 2: Transfer written ideas into visual stories.

Materials: 1: Storyboard frame templates (can be downloaded from above website).
Materials 2: Drawing materials: pencils, pens, etc.
Materials 3: Simple story to read out loud by teacher.

Procedure 1: Teacher read a simple story such as fable; students take notes.
Procedure 2: Students use notes to create visuals representing ideas from the stories.
Procedure 3: Students use their ideas to illustrate a 5-frame storyboard.
Procedure 4: Storyboards get posted and students read another's story and write down the meaning; constructive criticism to improve stories.

Homework - Refine storyboards as needed.

Assesssment -Storyboards created that contained storytelling elements.

Lesson 3:

Title - How do others convey 5 frame stories on Flickr and 5-Frame Ning

Objective 1: students will become aware of Flickr and Ning for social networking/photobloging
Objective 2: students will examine on line 5-Frame stories and write appropriate responses. students will post responses.

Materials 1: Computers with Internet access.
Materials 2: Optional: pre-write responses on paper.

Procedure 1: First examine the Flickr 5 frame story. Have students read the directions and look at what others are doing.
Procedure 2: students will make comments using a prompt such as "I find this interesting because.." This will avoid the simplistic "good/bad" answer and encourage critical thinking. students can pre-write responses before posting so that you can check them to be sure they are appropriate.
Procedure 3: Examine the Ning 5-story page and do the same as the above.

Homework- Using the storyboards checked by the teacher, students create their own 5 frame stories.

Assessment - Have the students created appropriate responses that they have posted?

Lesson 4

Title - Posting our 5-Frame Stories

Objective 1: students will learn to edit images to tell their stories.
Objective 2: students will post 5-frame stories.
Objective 3: Writing response to one another.

Materials 1:  Computers with Internet connections.
Materials 2:  Student completed work in jpg format.

Procedure 1: Now that students have shot their 5-Frame stories, they may have taken more than 5 images to convey their story. For the first part of this lesson, students work in pairs to help edit stories to fulfill requirements.
Procedure 2: Chose to work in either Flickr.com if your school allows and you are comfortable in having work posted to their forum or you will have created your own social network using Ning.com.
Procedure 3: Demonstrate how images are uploaded to either site.
Procedure 4: Students upload to sites.
Procedure 5: If time allows, have students comment on one another's work. (You can create a minimum amount of responses, i.e. 2, and/or give extra-credit for more responses, which is optional - it will depend on your students and their writing capabilities.)
Assessment -

5-Frame Story Rubric: (See attached in Important Documents)
The students will have successfully posted and responded to one another's 5-frame story.


Anne Kornfeld is a media diva and wearer of many colored hats. She works with immigrant youth at Newcomers High School, where she has written and implemented numerous grants for teaching media arts. She also teaches the Web 2.0 class for Teachers Network.

Anne's Rubric5frames.doc


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