I think we can all admit to writing at least one school report or taking one test based on the amount of knowledge we could scrounge from the movie version of the book.
I know, it’s painful to hear your students say, “Oh . . . I didn’t read the book, but I saw the movie” because you know just how much they are really missing.
If you are having trouble getting your students excited to read or if you are looking for a new and innovative way for your students to give a “book report”, turn that problem into an opportunity! Have your students make a movie trailer or create one as a class.
Here’s how to put a new spin on the ol’ book report assignment.
Obviously, the first step to making a movie trailer is having a story. Start by having your students choose a book and read it . . . in preparation for making their movie trailer, of course.
It might be beneficial to limit your students’ book choices to those that have not yet been made into movies. This will allow their imaginations to run wild.
As your students read the book, you can stage intermittent assignments that make them think about attributes or parts of the book that are exciting or meaningful and might be intriguing to a potential audience.
One way to get your students more involved in the story they are reading is to have them conceptualize the setting and the characters in the book. Have them write down detailed descriptions of one or two of the characters in their book and describe a unique scene that stands out in their mind.
Have them describe what type of movie this book would make and choose a theme for their upcoming trailer. Is the movie a going to be a romance? A thriller? From here your students can start to plan to shoot their movie trailer.
Once your class is done reading their book, have them plan the overall concept of their movie trailer. Start by showing a few different types of movie trailers. Discuss the different approaches. For example: some film studios start with music and their logo while others dive right into the heart of the story.
Have your students decide what message they want to convey to the audience, which characters to feature, and any bits and pieces they might want to include that will captivate their audience.
Give them an assignment where they write or draw the storyboard of their short film.
How you choose to complete this step is up to you. You might have your students complete this portion of the assignment at home with friends or classmates or have them do it during class over the course of a week at school.
Your school may or may not provide the equipment—if film equipment is an issue, something as simple as a smartphone can shoot basic video footage for fun.
Be sure to inform your students that the goal isn’t to create an award-winning movie trailer, but to accurately capture what they felt the book meant to them.
Finally, when everyone has read their books and completed their assignments, you can celebrate with a movie day! Pop some popcorn and have your students bring a tasty treat—then kickback and watch some awesome movie trailers!
When your class has completed the assignment, be sure to have your students post their movie masterpieces to Bulletin Boards in Alexandria to share with their friends, other teachers, and family members. Learn how to post to Bulletin Boards here.