Book Trailers

We watched our first book trailer together when we read The One and Only Ivan earlier this year.   We were mesmerized by how it drew us in and made us want to read the book–even more than we already did!  Then we went 1:1 with iPads, and I knew that this would be something we’d have to do for ourselves, especially since we had some iMovie experts in our midsts (yes, I’m talking about you, Anna K., Aiden and Jack!).

Then, it was time to start thinking about service learning projects, too, and suddenly it all seemed to fall into place….

I was having a conversation with our librarian, Mrs. Meihaus, about my idea for wanting to learn about  book trailers (and at that point I didn’t really have a direction I wanted to go in, or anything more than a desire to do it), and she told me about an idea she’d just learned about from our Scholastic rep–just the day before!  Talk about good timing.  This idea she’d found out about involved creating cards on the shelves that link QR codes to book talks, to help readers as they make decisions in the library.  Seemed like a perfect fit!

So we just dove right in and started making movies the next day, right? Nope.

We had a TON of work to do first.  And what was great was that my kids knew what that work was without me even telling them.  I just asked the question “What do we need to know before we can start our book trailer project?” and this is what they said:

It's messy because we used it as our checklist to make sure we had done all of the prep work before we go to our movies.  What a great example of kids creating a project--they led us where we needed to go!

It’s messy because we used it as our checklist to make sure we had done all of the prep work before we go to our movies. What a great example of kids creating a project–they led us where we needed to go!

We spent many days together reading book reviews, and learning what was supposed to be included in one.  We read examples of them, and practiced writing our own on books we’d read together and individually.  We watched several examples (both good and bad) of book trailers and kept notes about what made them successful, i.e. which ones made us actually want to read the featured book and why.

About that same time, I came upon a Twitter chat where the topic was book trailers and several teachers were sharing ideas for how they make these productive with their students.  I LOVED the idea that Jenn Fountain (@jennann516) was sharing about how she managed student made book trailers.  The way she used storyboards to help students thoughtfully plan the pictures and the text they wanted to include was the missing piece of the puzzle, and seemed to be just what we needed!


Devan loved this project!


Remember Jack, the iMovie expert? He’s hard at work on his storyboard and book trailer about the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio–a class favorite this year!


Aiden (another in house expert) decides which pictures from The Kissing Hand to include in his video.


Damonte is hard at work on his book trailer for a text about Lamborghinis. Another place we got ideas for books was from Ms. Dale, one of our kindergarten teachers. We made several for some favorites that we knew some of our newest friends at Robinson would want to read in the fall!


Don’s using his storyboard as he creates each scene of his iMovie.


One of Keelan’s videos was from that kindergarten pile–The Hello, Goodbye Window.


Anna K. (on the left) was a wiz at iMovie! I love how kids taught other kids how to do things and answered questions when we needed to troubleshoot why something wasn’t working. Here she helped Sammy figure out how to fix a problem she was having with a picture.


Owen working on a book trailer for Mouse Counts.


Sophia and Jernandra worked together, too. Jernandra’s book trailer was about Super Fudge.


Sometimes the pictures we added were from the internet, and sometimes they were ones we took ourselves.  IMG_0863 IMG_0865See?

So, kids chose books (we started with our favorites, but also brainstormed other ways of choosing like book award lists for the upcoming year, book award lists from previous years, books that are frequently checked out from our library, etc.) and began to create our storyboards.  Once they had an approved storyboard, they went to work in iMovie, which we worked together to figure out—remember those experts I mentioned in the beginning?  They helped lead small groups to coach kids on what to do–and Jack even taught me how to do it!  What a great app, by the way, and on the iPad it’s SUPER SIMPLE to use.  I highly recommend using it if you aren’t already.

But just because our book trailers were finished, that didn’t mean our project was done.  We wanted to then link all of those trailers to QR codes that kiddos in our Robinson library can scan and learn more about the book as they are shopping for books to check out.  That meant we had to answer the “where do we put them when we’re finished making them” question from our original chart.  Many suggested we put them on our blogs, and we already a class YouTube channel, but we had to make sure it was some place that would be able to get through our internet filters at school (so kids could actually watch the videos we were creating!), that would be able to hold a large amount of data, AND that would be online (otherwise we wouldn’t end up with a QR code!).  I decided that SchoolTube was probably our best bet.

It was really great when we finally got to the end of the project and we were working in the library to finally attach all of our QR codes.  (Even this part of the project was kid-led, too, as someone suggested it would be a better idea to attach the code to the actual book, rather than the shelf.  Genius!)  We were super excited to be able to call in Mrs. Sisul, our principal, who supports all of the crazy and fabulous things we want to try with technology, and show her how they work.

Don and Owen showing Mrs. Sisul how to scan our QR codes to get to our videos on School Tube.  She was so excited for us!

Don and Owen showing Mrs. Sisul how to scan our QR codes to get to our videos on School Tube. She was so excited for us!

So at the end of it all, we ended up with over 50 TITLES that now have book trailers, and each copy of each book in our library has a QR code attached to the spine or the cover (depending on where it would fit)!

IMG_0872 IMG_0871

I wish that I would have had time to do the last reflection piece after this project, to have my kiddos tell you all that they’d learned throughout the process, but alas, we worked right up to the very last minute–and then it was summer!  So I ask now, to all of my 5th grade friends who worked on this big service-learning project with me: What did you learn from this experience?  What do you know now that you didn’t know when we started? What was your favorite thing?

And now it’s your turn to check out all of our fabulous work!  While I’d love to individually post every trailer here for you to watch, it makes more sense to direct you to our Robinson School Tube channel so you can check them out there! Happy watching and thanks for leaving us your comments about what you think!  We worked so hard and are so proud of what we accomplished!



7 thoughts on “Book Trailers

  1. Jen–this is the neatest idea! I cannot wait to use the QR codes with my kiddos in the fall! (AND….to pick your brain and learn how to do ALL of this). Thanks so much for sharing! About how long did this take?

    • Thanks, Jenn! I think that overall it was about a 4-5 week project. I made the whole thing into a UbD that I’d be willing to share if you want it–went along with our synthesizing unit in 5th grade, but could easily be adapted to something in 4th grade, too, for sure! I’d love to show you more! I was amazed at how well it went–kiddos totally stepped up and did some incredible work. 🙂

      • I would love to see your 4-5 week project. I also teach 5th Grade, and I really want to do this with my reading class. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I really liked figuring out how to work iMovie. It was a challenge but when I figured it out it all clicked in my head!!!!!

  3. I’m so glad that my post could help! I was smiling so big looking at your pictures of the students with their storyboards. To me, it makes the whole process easier because it keeps students on track and keeps them from getting stuck on one picture.

    • There are plans for more iMovies to be made this summer as a means to advertise. Mrs. Meihaus plans to use it (them) in her library orientation lessons for the fall. Cool, right?

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s