What is 5 Frame Storytelling?

5 Frame storytelling is telling a story in 5 or less frames (or photos) with no words, just images!
It takes skill to be able to create setting, character, mood and a storyline within the 5 photos, but is alot of fun and great for developing oral, written and visual language skills in students.

Join the flickr group!
This is the original 5 Frame Storytelling group on flickr.
After talking with the administrator of the group I set up this group 'Tell A Story In 5 Frames' for students 5 frame stories.
Please add you or your class!


Below is an outline of a unit on 5 frame storytelling I completed with a group of 7/8yr old students.

5 Frame Storytelling

Here are a few good examples from flickr.
The Jump - By Crap Camera
The Birds - By Anusrinivasan

The 5 frame storytelling group on flickr is a place where people from all around the world gather to share their 5 frame stories with others. It allows people a place to share and recieve feedback. It also allows those who monitor the group to provide feedback and commentary on what THEY think is happening in the story.

The Process
For 5 Frame stories to be successful there are a few elements that need the most consideration...
  • What are my aims for this unit i.e. to improve visual literacy skills, written language, storyboarding skills etc
  • What is going to be the brief for the students (what do I want them to do?)
  • How are they going to do it

Starting Off - Intro to the unit

Before you start the topic with the students explore flickr. Not just the storytelling group. Explore what the website has to offer. Then concentrate on the 5 frame storytelling group. Find stories that you think demonstrate the key ideas well and provide good examples for your students. You also need to consider age appropriateness.

Gather the links of 5 frame stories (like the ones above) that you think will be good motivators for your students.
Begin the unit by explaining what a 5 frame story is. Then sharing these good examples.
Discuss with your students elements of visual language - composition, lighting, angles etc and how they add effect to a photo and can change what a story is telling you. This can be related to the books by Anthony Browne where students have to look further than what's on the surface to find the interesting things.

Oral Language
Choose one good example per day.
Start by sharing with students the title of the story... ask them to predict what they might see in this story and what might happen.
Go through the sequence one photo at a time. Ask students to buddy up with others and share their predictions - What is happening in the photo? What might happen next? Then share predictions and ideas with the class.
Continue throughout the sequence showing 1-2 photos at a time depending on the story.
After the final photo go back through and show the story as a whole. Ask the class if this is what they predicted would happen? Who had a different idea?
Can be related back to De Bono's 6 thinking hats... Use your white hat, what is happening in the photo? What could be happening outside the photo? Use your green hat, what could be happening outside the photo? etc

Written Language
Continue on from oral language. Choose a 5 frame story that has an interesting twist or is something a bit different. My students enjoyed writing stories based around animal 5 frame stories such as The Bath.
Display photos via a projector.

Creating 5 Frame Stories

Brainstorm story topics.
Storyboard chosen topic.
List props needed.
Set up a space in the class for students to work in - encourage creative use of space - go outside, in the playground etc.
Discuss camera use - safe handling, focusing, steady hands, angles.
Get students out photographing their story!

Once finished students need to learn how to upload to the computer and then to flickr.
I taught 2 students who then worked with 1 student each to complete this whole process.

Upload your photos onto your computer - this differs computer to computer. We used iPhoto.

Uploading to flickr

Check out the flickr upload page for more info and details.
Upload your photo to flickr.
Assign it to a group and grab the html code to create a message board message.