Curriculum Storyboards are Designed to Engage Our Learners


How do the core components of curriculum storyboards connect with UDL principles? How do those connections influence our designs? This is the first post of a 3-part series exploring the relationship between Curriculum Storyboards and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The core components of curriculum storyboards are hard-wired to correlate with the key component of engagement. In her book UDL Now!, Katie Novack contends:
Nothing happens without engagement or the “why” of learning. Simply put, if a learner doesn’t see a reason why they should learn something. They likely won’t put in the attention or commitment to learn it. (UDL Now! CAST, 2022)

The curriculum storyboard asks each unit to have a compelling title, image, and focus of the story that connects and engages the reader to the content. It helps frame relevance and purpose for the learner and their families.

Second, readers of the storyboard can see the progression of the storyline as it builds from one unit to the next. The flow of meaning making and engagement is strengthened as learners connect the story from one unit to the next.

The idea is that students need to understand why you, the educator, have made the choice of focusing learning on this particular topic or subject. And when you communicate that narrative in clear, accessible, compelling language it invites students as partners in the learning experience and clarifies for families how they can support their learners at home.

Denton ISD Kindergarten Science
For example, Denton Independent School District in Texas has been working with Allison in designing curriculum storyboards. They are publicly sharing their initial storyboards with students and their families both in English and Spanish.

We encourage you to examine one of their sample storyboards with the following reflective prompts in mind:

  • What do you see? Where does your eye go first? How do you read the storyboard
  • How is it written to engage the reader? What are some ways they clarify content connections for their learners (e.g., using prior knowledge, perspective, and relevance)?
  • How might this inspire your own creative thinking and writing as you begin to lay out the curriculum for your students and families?
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