March 29, 2016

English Festival, Celebrating Literature: Book Trailers using Slideful

English Festival participants enjoying professional storyteller, Pam Holcomb.

Annually, my seventh graders participate in our county English Festival. Junior High students from all of the schools in our county are invited to read quality literature, then join together at our local university branch to discuss issues, play games, write compositions and poetry, and create technology projects based on the books they have read. The list of this year's books includes:

Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall
Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Blink Once by Cylin Busby

As a teacher whose students participate in the festival, I am required to "teach" one session, or workshop. By session I am referring to the activities that students choose to complete. There are sessions for writing stories and poetry, sessions for playing games, sessions for drama and music, and an internet session. Approximately 20 students are enrolled in each 50 minute session. I chose to host the internet session and am permitted to develop the activity as I see fit as long as it involves the literature the students read. This is the second year that I have hosted the internet session; last year I had my participants create a newspaper for their favorite book on the list using ReadWriteThink's Printing Press.

This year my participants created a book trailer for their favorite book on the list. Using the free website and following my instructional sheet Book Trailer 101, the junior high students were able to create interactive video book trailers to entice viewers to read their favorite book.

Of course, I did several dry runs before asking students to complete the activity on their own. Here is my first attempt at creating a book trailer using Slideful.

The best thing about Slideful is that there is no registration necessary. Without registering, users can still compile a video of ten images, each containing text, in a single work session (you can not save projects to work on later). This is the only website that I've found that allows non-registered users to COMPLETE a project! If you do choose to register, there is no cost, and you then can increase the number of slides in your videos as well as save your videos to work on at another time.

While I worked on my own video, I compiled my instruction sheet, a step-by-step set of directions that were kid-friendly. The directions needed to be simple enough for students to be able to follow without minimal teacher intervention, yet detailed enough to permit students to complete a successful project in under 50 minutes. When I felt I had accomplished this task, I handed the sheet to two of my seventh grade boys (English Festival participants but not taking my internet session) and said, "Please, do this."

Step 12 on the original directions contained a specific Padlet page.

And they did!

As did all of my English Festival participants. You can view all of the trailers at this blog link.

The festival was once again a great success. I heard tremendously positive feedback from my students who attended and from those from other schools who were in my session. We teachers who took part will be meeting within a few weeks to begin selecting the books for next year's festival, and I will begin searching for a "new" internet/literature project.

Any suggestions for junior high book titles or 50 minute technology projects? I'm all ears!

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