A Lesson in Technology…


I devote one day a week in our elementary school supporting teachers in their quest to integrate technology into their curriculum.  Developing projects that integrate the “4” Cs, creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking of a 21st century learner is a welcomed challenge to my workweek.  The lesson I developed with a fourth grade 1st year teacher was creating a Book Trailer using iMovie. This lesson begans with the viewing of several fun and engaging You Tube video book trailers. The enthusiasm was palatable and the teacher and I heard more than once, “How way more exciting” this was going to be then the usual response to literature writing.   Freidman (2013) comments about student motivation and personal connection resonant as I reflect back on this lesson.  More significant though are the thoughts of Will Richards and Tony Baldasaro .  They blog about the need to “curate for the new elite” the out of the box, the nontraditional learners. Using iMovie instead of the traditional pen in paper to summarize a book really addresses this idea. One of our goals for the lesson was to evaluate the work of two students that found it hard to express ideas in written form and see if the new modality captured their ability.

Creativity was the most prevalent (Hobb 2011) competency in this lesson.  The students were given choice and autonomy to see what they could do using technology. Access, analyze and acting competencies (Hobb 2011) as well as reflection were also components found in the lesson but not as strong as creativity. Personally using challenge-based learning projects that reflect the “acting” ability, is an area that I need to further develop. Finding the time and project that works within the confines of the curriculum is difficult. Or maybe this is the idea that I need to leave behind as I move towards creating a new type of learning environment.  An environment where Thomas (2011) states “You get to see students learn, discover, explore, play, and develop, which is the primary reason I think that most of us got into the job of teaching.”  Thinking back I realize that we did create the classroom where the teacher guides as the students play in our lesson; Making a Book Trailer. But I need to trust in that process and continue to use technology to create an environment according to Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) that engenders and embraces change.


Friedman, T. (2013, March 30). Need a job? Invent it. The New York Times Sunday Review. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/friedman-need-a-job-invent-it.html?smid=pl-share&_r=1&amp

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Jekins, H.  (2011, January 19).   A New Culture of Learning: An Interview with John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas (Part One)

(Web log comment) Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2011/01/a_new culture of_learning_an_i.html

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

Lesson Plan

Title: Book Trailers using iMovies       Subject: Language Arts              Grade: 4

Rationale: The purpose of the lesson is to generate enthusiasm for reading, to assess the student’s comprehension and opinion of a book.  To create a persuasive challenge based project in which students express their view and present it for an intended audience.  Book trailers are a very popular. There is a wealth of material available.  I created the lesson based on the Common Core Standards for 4th grade language arts (RL2 ,RL3, RL12, Rl13, RW1, RW6).

Lesson Objectives:

  • Student will read a book determine central ideas of the text and analyze their development by summarizing the key supporting details and ideas.
  • Student will use a storyboard to create a text that includes descriptive details and a clear sequence of events
  • Students will create a book trailer
  • Student will analyze how multimedia elements can contribute to the meaning and aesthetics of their work
  • Students will collaborate, share and publish their work

Prerequisite Concepts and Skills

  • Technical skills, Google Docs, iMovie

Materials and Resources

Internet connected computer w/LCD projection capabilities

Storyboard Template


Student Reflection Sheet


Time: 5-6 45-minute class periods



Day 1: Introduction

  1. Begin with unrolling a movie poster or a red carpet (red chart paper). Talk about the movies, movie trailers and the excitement they generate for seeing the movie.
  2. Introduce book trailers to the students.
  3. View some trailers.
  4.  Discuss their reactions to the videos.  Which ones did they like?  What about the trailer made them want to read the book?  Good trailer versus bad trailer?  Is this an effective way to get someone to read a book?
  5. Create a chart.

Day 2:  Planning

  1. Revisit the chart and discuss the elements that the student should include in their trailer.
  • Include: Main idea of the story
  • Include: Characters and setting
  • Include: Details that give away something that will entice the audience to read the book
  • Include: Title, author and a picture of the cover of the
  • Include:  Music, graphics, text
  • DO NOT Include: Copyright restricted material
  • Include: Reference page at the end
  1. Distribute rubric and storyboard template. Explain the instructions and expectations of the project.   Review how to use iMovie and other media tools
  2. Give the students planning time.

Day 3-5: Work Days

  1. Conference with the students about their storyboards
  2. Students are finishing storyboards
  3. Students are looking for images and music
  4. Creating iMovie
  5. Peer editing their work
  6. Complete the reflection page
  7. Upload trailer to Google Drive, share with teacher and 2 other classmates

(We create tech. workers for each of the projects we do in class.  These are the students that are proficient in the technology we are currently using and can trouble shoot along with the teacher.)

Day 6: Share and Celebrate 

  1. Students present trailers.

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