Ditch Boring Book Reports for Animoto Book Trailer

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Are your students tired of writing old fashioned book reports? Are you tired of reading those same boring book reports? Try something new and exciting that kids will enjoy creating and you’ll enjoying grading–the Animoto Book Trailer. Jeri Hurd presented a workshop on replacing the archaic book report with a simply stunning video slide show that kids will enjoy creating.

After students finish reading that required class novel, they will be able to create a professionally crafted, automatic and customized image/music video that captures the gist of the story in less than two minutes. According to Hurd, this project will take approximately one to two weeks to complete. I am looking forward to replacing the traditional Approach Paper students in my grade 7-8 Language Arts class are usually assigned with the Animoto book trailer project.

Here’s how:

  1. Register for a free Animoto account
  2. Write the script: After students read the assigned novel, plan about approximately 30% of the time to write the script.
  3. Collect about 20 images (no clip art) to decorate, demonstrate and illuminate story characters and plot. Be patient in during this process. Images should symbolize aspects of the story with emotional impact. Use Creative Commons to avoid copy write issues or have students take their own photos.
  4. Record music using GarageBand, MYNA or Audacity.
  5. Site sources using BibMe

Book trailer of the novel Hunger Games

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About Brent Fullerton

International educator who enjoys learning about ways to enhance learning.
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3 Responses to Ditch Boring Book Reports for Animoto Book Trailer

  1. Hi Brent. Brilliant post. Boy, there were just too many good workshops this year. Makes me wish we could get access to all session resources (like Kim and Jeff did for us).

    I can’t wait till Monday to show this to my 4th and 5th grade colleagues. Fourth grade usually does a book talk – the kids present a poster and we video tape it for their digital portfolio. Students then have a chance to reflect on their ‘performance’ and content by watching themselves a few days later. Some kids excel at this type of presentation, but others can be painful to watch. Like Seinfeld said: not that there’s anything wrong with this format, but the Hunger Game video you embedded blew me away with the potential.

    Thanks for sharing and giving us all the ‘tools’ we need to create the Animoto Book Trailer. (BTW, I kept thinking – is this a movie?) I think ‘script writing’ for a 2 min trailer is an excellent opportunity for students to focus on what got them excited about the book, how to get their audience hooked, and how to write short, but effective sentences that … well, let’s face it, could land them a great job later.

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