Students in Rakshin Kandola’s Eng. 10 class are creating a different type of book report these days. Gone are the book summaries or endless comprehension questions that students often find very
tedious. In her class, students are making book trailers (in the style of movie trailers) for the books they are reading. Students are working in groups and reading the same material, then collaborating their ideas to create a book trailer that lasts 60 – 90 seconds. In the end, the groups of students present their book trailer and lead a discussion with the rest of the class about the theme, tone, characterization, issues, problem / solution, setting, plot and more. It is likely the collaboration process in which students learn about the different aspects of the story, but it is the final movie presentation during which students really show what they understood.
Students not only learn about different components of a story, but also learn about collaborating, compromising, cooperating, and communicating. They learn how to present information using visual, audio and video components, and learn how to get across a message loud and clear. Lastly, students also learned the value in being organized and in having a plan. Each class, students set goals and wrote a reflection on the process, and used this to guide/monitor their progress. Students also created storyboards and developed a sold plan before opening their laptops and firing up iMovie.
How did they complete such polished book trailers? Below is the lesson sequence for doing this, along with a couple of examples from her class.
1. Select the story they plan to read.
2. Read their books.
3. Use storyboards to plan out their book trailer.
4. Collect images / videos / audio, film and take their own videos and images.
5. Load content onto a usb drive and subsequently on macbook computers loaded with iMovie.
6. Begin to create book trailer with iMovie 11.
7. Midpoint check in. Students present what they have completed and get feedback from other students in the class in regards to their information and technical aspects of the presentation.
8. Continue to work on book trailer.
9. Present book trailer at the class filmfest.
My role in this project was to introduce iMovie to the students and show how they can present their ideas with video clips, images, audio clips, timing of information, camera techniques and more. I showed them how to use timing to create suspense, how to use the camera filters to create mood (e.g. use soft focus to create etherial mood), the impact of background audio on how images are viewed, and how to use the Ken Burns effect to bring attention to part of an image. In the end, students fully understood the finer points of the story, as well as how to convey a message using different forms of media.
Below are some examples of the book trailers the students created, and here is the a link to the series of lessons and project criteria that were used.
Book trailer for the story ‘North End Faust’
Book trailer for the story ‘Rebellion’
Book trailer for the story ‘Door Knobs’
Book trailer for the story ‘The Betrayal’