Storyboards are used to plan and discuss the animation project. They are usually a series of sketches with notes on to help develop ideas, sound, artwork and props. Once the project is planned, the storyboards are used for reference during the animation process.
Download a blank storyboard here.
In addition to the storyboard, another sheet which is of use to the animator is the Exposure Sheet (also known as a Dope sheet or X sheet). This is used to plan and record each shot as the animator creates the frames. An animator can use this to consider the number of frames per second for each scene and what actions should be carried out in each frame before shooting. This becomes more important when there are several 'actions' going on in one scene. It is also commonly used for a Head Animator to pass on their intentions to other animators who are working on a project.