Creating Book Trailers in the Classroom

A few years ago I set one of my professional goals at integrating more technology into the classroom. Regardless of the limited resources, I just wasn’t making it a priority like I should have.

I really wanted to tie reading and technology somehow. That’s when I thought why not have the kids create their own book trailers! Of course, despite knowing quite a bit about technology, the thought scared me a bit. Was this a task that was doable or would it be overwhelming and time-consuming?

That’s when I decided to contact the school technology teacher. (They are amazing, aren’t they!?)

Motivate students to read books, while engaging them with creating their own book trailers with this fun reading activity. Grab a freebie to get started!

She was positive it would be a great opportunity for the students to do and promised I wouldn’t be biting off more than I could chew. Despite her reassurances, I was still nervous that these book trailers would turn out horrible or that the creation process would drag on for weeks and months and possibly years!

I first showed students several book trailers from new releases. We analyzed them together (Hey – look at that! We met a Common Core standard!) and discussed what they noticed. Students noticed they were more about getting others excited about the book and wanting to read it. I was so excited that they got that! (You can find great book trailers here.)

I then informed the students of the project- which they were super excited about. In fact, I’m thinking they were probably making plans in their heads about being a big Hollywood director before I even finished explaining. I explained that they would read a book of their own – on their level and had to be a chapter book – and would then create a book trailer themselves to share with the class. You can download my explanation attachment and rubric by clicking here.

Once we went to the computer lab, we used Windows Movie Maker. I was originally thinking iMovie using our iPads, but honestly, I didn’t want to spend the money on the app. We spent several days in the lab adding images, music, and editing to create our trailers. Then we had “a movie” day where we watched them together and discussed which books we couldn’t wait to watch!

This activity opened the door for so many discussions such as author’s purpose- what do you want your reader to walk away with? For story elements – what is the plot? What would make a great cliffhanger? What was the climax? Summary – what are the important elements you need to include? Citing your sources and plagiarism and so much more! It was truly worth it! We had a blast, students got some great book ideas, and we learned in the process! What more can you ask for?

Here are two examples of a book trailer created by two different students:

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. ctuski

    This is great! I also want to incorporate more technology in the classroom but it's scary at times. I like the idea of a video advertisement because it ties in so many different standards. Roughly how much time did you give your students to accomplish this project? What did your "calendar" look like?
    Thanks for the awesome description and idea!!!

    1. Tammy

      Hi! It took us about 3 weeks total- with the first week being the drafting mode- where we planned out how we wanted to do it, what we wanted to have included, what our main idea was going to be, so on (my approval). Then we spent about 2 weeks in the computer lab actually learning about movie maker (a few days) and then the rest of the time crafting it. Afterwards, we spent a few days presenting it (I spread it all out). I hope that helps!

  2. Krista Openshaw

    What a GREAT idea! I want to use this idea for my next book project but I'm wondering if you would be willing to share anymore of your student's book trailers? I'm also wondering about how long it took for you to teach your students how to use Movie Maker and for your students to create their book trailers? Thanks for such a great idea!

    1. Tammy

      Hi Krista, you too are a no-reply blogger meaning when it emails me your comment, I can't reply to you by hitting reply in my email. So I will reply here and hope you check back to see it. 🙂 Thank you for your compliments. Unfortunately, these are the only two that I can share because of permissions. I'm very sorry. I wish I could. The students actually picked up on using movie maker very quickly! I was super impressed. Overall, it took about 3 weeks to complete from beginning to end- with two weeks being in the computer lab. I hope that helps!

  3. Sara Landgraf

    This is a great idea! I wish we could get Movie Maker – it looks like such a great program. Do you know of any similar apps/extensions for Chromebooks? That's what we now have access to (for better or for worse – perspective, I suppose!) 🙂 Thank you for the idea!

  4. missart

    What grade level did these? 3rd grade? I was surprised to see Hunger Games. I am the school librarian for our elementary and we don't even carry the book. I have been wanting to create book trailers and you have inspired me to start tomorrow!

  5. Ryan Hutson

    Hey folks,
    One idea I’ve used many times at the middle school level in my SS classes was Aurasma. It’s a free app that allows you to embed video and photos onto, in this case, a book trailer. For instance, Sam reads the Hunger Games and you link an image of the cover of the book to his video of him explaining a chapter, major event, characters, book trailer, etc. I used to hang the images (FDR/New Deal Murals) outside my door and anyone with the app who walks by and scans it can see the video or picture the students overlaid onto the image/book cover. My SS kids ran with it and were doing AMAZING things by the second or third day. I’ve seen it used for at-home reading practice for elementary students and a host of other ideas. If you download the app., hover over the back of a one dollar bill and you will see how it works! Hope you enjoy.

    1. Tammy

      That’s a great idea! Thank you for sharing! I’ve never heard of it but will definitely be checking into it.

  6. Julie

    I am so impressed by what you have done with the book trailers! I am hoping to do something of the same sort this school year with our 4th and 5th graders. How did you get the images that you used in the videos? I am wondering about copyright issues using images from the internet. Thank you so much for sharing your lesson.

    1. Tammy

      For some things we used creative commons, for other things we selected a drop down feature in google images where we can use images. No matter what though, I used that as an opportunity to discuss citing our sources. That was done in our credits at the end of the trailer and also in the presentation piece they handed it. We discussed plagiarism and how important it is to never claim someone else’s work as your own. 🙂 I hope that helps.

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