Beginning Book Trailers and Learning iMovie

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SWBAT produce a clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience by beginning book trailers for their independent reads and learning computer skills.

Big Idea

Can you convince me to read the book you read?

Previewing Summer Reading Book Trailers

15 minutes

We will be in the library for today's class, working on the book trailers for their choice reads. But before we break up to work independently, we are going to view finished trailers. All students from 8th to 11th grade are actually watching these particular book trailers; this just happens to be great timing.


Students will watch three book trailers; each trailer was made in house by a committee of teachers (including me) for the three summer reading options. I already posted one example here; this example is a trailer for The Art Of Racing in the Rain. All grades read the same text over the summer as part of a One School, One Book Program and the faculty develops cross-curricular activities and lessons based on the text. We also try to invite exciting speakers to come in the fall.


Like every class, we will watch the trailers and vote on one book for the school to read this coming summer. But then, to relate specifically to our task today we will also discuss how each trailer impacts our desire to read certain books (SL.9-10.1). Ultimately, we are learning about elements of persuasion and what they look like in this format. This discussion is a great transition into today's activity, as they are beginning their trailers and need to think about what an audience wants to see and hear (SL.9-10.3).

How To..

10 minutes

Even though most students are familiar with iMovie (W.9-10.6), I want to review a few points before breaking up to work independently.


First, we will review the basics of iMovie (it's fairly intuitive, but instructions can't hurt). We will do so by watching a "how to" video, found on YouTube. There are many available. I chose one that is about 5 minutes long and truly addresses the very basics, beginning with how to open the program and how to add images and movies. I will pause a couple of times during the video to specify some areas. For instance, how to save and pull photos from their school folder, so that their data is not saved on hard drive of the computer they work on today. 


I will also review some basics about Macs because not all of my students are used to using a Mac. I will teach them how to right-click, find their school folders, and search. These small tips will save them time in the long run.

Starting the Trailers Independently

30 minutes

I don't expect that students will get too far on their book trailers today, but they can certainly start the foundation of the 2 minute video. They want to provide an objective summary of the text (RL.9-10.2), but they also need to be clear and coherent in their presentation (W.9-10.4), so that their peers understand the plot enough to want to read the book themselves.


At the end of the project, students will be assessed on:

  • Presentation/Persuasion
  • Content/ Storyline/Plot
  • Images: did they create a distinct atmosphere/tone?
  • Audio: does it match the storyline and create emotion?
  • Voice: is it clear and understandable? does the pacing fit the atmosphere?
  • Awareness of Audience
  • Interest Level
  • Duration/ Length: 1-2 min

Here's the rubric.


At the end of the project, students will hand in:

  • list of sources
  • their original storyboard
  • a written explanation of their choices


During this time, I will help students will questions and concerns. Some students aren't naturally technologically inclined, so I know this project will be more trying for them, but I believe that nonetheless, it's good for all students. They learn to think about a specific audience, communicate with purpose, and utilize technology. Communicating effectively isn't just about writing a great essay, even in English class. I hope that this project will illustrate this point.

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes of class, I will remind students about how to properly save their work, so that they can find it again and to log off the computers.


Their homework tonight is to find or create any images, video, or sound files that they want as part of their trailers, so that they are prepared to work again tomorrow. I expect that several of them will realize that they want to use something else/something more during the course of their work today.