11.14 {Whatever Wednesday} Our STUDENT-MADE Book Trailers

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. Though often a cool quote or poster, it might simply be a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.

I’m still a little surprised when I use the term “book trailer” with someone and they give me that cross-eyed look. “Oh–you don’t know about book trailers?” I say. “They’re like movie trailers for books. Or, as I like to think of them, book talks on steroids.”

It was about 5 years ago I first heard about book trailers on NPR. I was scheduled for an observation that year and thought, This sounds like the perfect project–authentically interesting, tech-centered, and bookish.

I work with great colleagues (special hats-off to my fellow TechGeekExperimenter Mr. Peterson–How many free periods and lunchtimes have we sat with our computers learning and teaching each other new things? you can view his book trailer blog post here. ), and when I shared the idea they all jumped in and we worked to make it better. This year we switched things up by using Animoto to make the trailers. This made a little more work up front setting up accounts, but saved a lot of student work time since Animoto automatically produces the eye-catching special effects.

If you’ve ever done a project like this before, you know that it’s essential that students plan and prepare so they don’t end up piddling around aimlessly on the computers. You can see in the slideshow below that the students did a lot of planning on paper before ever touching a computer. You can find a brief description of the steps you see here following the slideshow.

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Steps students took to make a trailer:

  1. Choose a book—and partner (if desired)
  2. Fill out the book information sheet to show knowledge of the book including characters, setting, major and minor conflicts, and climax (that which must not be revealed in a trailer).
  3. Use the Animoto text box planning page to decide what words will show on the screen—a combination of information and leading questions that arouse interest.
  4. Use graphics planning page to decide what images will be needed to accompany the words.
  5. Cut out text boxes and images and lay them out in order on a storyboard– a large piece of newsprint. Here is a cool video about storyboarding–I especially like :24-:41
  6. Get on http://www.jupiterimages.com and find the best available pictures for the trailer.
  7. Crop pictures and upload them to Animoto.
  8. Type up all text.
  9. Arrange text and pics according to the storyboard.
  10. Choose a fitting song.
  11. Choose a fitting theme.
  12. Produce and download final video–teacher drops video onto his thumb drive then uploads it to YouTube so you can watch them on this blog.

See? Simple! (By the way, if you are interested in any of those planning pages, let me know. I’m happy to share.)

And nowwwwwwwwwww….


Class A Trailers

[If you want to see the individual trailers in the above playlist, click here.]


Class B Trailers

[If you want to see the individual trailers in the above playlist, click here.]


Class C Trailers

[If you want to see the individual trailers in the above playlist, click here.]

What did you think? We look forward to hearing your responses.


21 thoughts on “11.14 {Whatever Wednesday} Our STUDENT-MADE Book Trailers

  1. This project looks great! I’d love to level this down some for my 3rd – 5th graders! I know this is an older post but could you share the planning sheets/graphic organizers you used? Thanks!

  2. David,
    I am a librarian for 7th and 8th graders and I have been planning an Animoto video project with some History students. I would love to see what you’ve created as planning sheets. Also, I noticed you send your students to jupiter images – are they copyright free? I’ve been using Creative Commons but in our school, many of the creative common sites are blocked. Do you have a go-to lesson on using copyright free images? So glad to bump into your site. Thanks for sharing your forms.

  3. These are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I would love your planning sheets. I hope to do this with my students this year. There are so many programs people use today. Is Animoto the best or is that what you have access to?


    • Hi Paulina. Thanks for visiting.

      I think Animoto is a very easy way to create great looking trailers without getting into movie making computer work ona program like iMovie. That’s my opinion after doing both. It is a little more restrictive, but the product is great.

      I’ll do my best to get those sheets to you. Remind me if you don’t get them by Sunday night.

  4. Hello,
    I do a very similar project with my 6th grade students! I will be doing summer reading book trailer project and will be showing these as examples. Would you mind sharing the forms?

  5. Hi David- Thank you for sharing! My 6th and 7th graders will be working on a similar project come January. Would love to see the planning pages to get a better idea. Thanks so much!

  6. Pingback: 11.21 {Whatever Wednesday}: A Two-fer | {Eat the Book}

  7. These were amazing! I will be using them with pre-service teachers the week after Thanksgiving. Kudos to your classes they did a great job!
    Laurie Fowler, Tuscaloosa, AL

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