Posts Tagged Language Arts

Got the Book Report Blues?

Kids love stories and kids love technology.  What better way, then, for them to show what they’ve learned than through a book trailer?  A book trailer is like a movie trailer.  You know, the short video clips where that guy with a really deep voice describes all the thrilling parts of a movie without giving away the ending.  Kids can do the same thing!  (Minus the deep voice.)

The first part of the process looks like this:

  1. Kids read and enjoy a book
  2. Kids create a Powerpoint highlighting key points of the book
  3. Kids save their Powerpoint as JPEGs when they’re finished editing

After they’ve saved their slides as JPEGs (picture files) they now have a variety of options to create an exciting multimedia presentation (don’t freak out, it’s really easy!) and Photo Story 3 are two really great options for creating a book trailers.  And the best part is, the LCISD CITS team has done all the heavy lifting.  That’s right, we’ve created simple cheat sheets that will walk you through the entire process whether you decide to take your presentation online ( or want to add narration and your own transitions (Photo Story 3.)  Either way, you can’t lose, so check out our cheatsheets in the Digital Storytelling section of the Resources page!

P.S.  Don’t forget the most important part…SHARING the Book Trailers!  You’re principal will think you’re top-tech when your kids broadcast these on the morning announcements.

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Character Analysis…Facebook Style

As a former Reading teacher, I love any innovative ideas to use with stories and novels!  I ran across this awesome idea and have been so excited to share with anybody and everybody.  Free Technology for Teachers (a fantastic blog to follow!) posted an update to a previous entry about using Facebook to create fictional profiles for characters from a novel.  Due to internet filtering, most teachers and students cannot access Facebook at school and it is against the Facebook user agreement to create fake accounts, making this idea pretty hard to implement. Well, Read, Write, Think has come to teacher’s rescue with a fantastic program!

Profile Publisher is their newest product that allows you to create either a personal profile or a profile for a story book character.

Not only does the Profile Publisher mimic the look of Facebook, it contains many of the features that a Facebook profile would have: Name, Personal Information, About Me, Latest Blog, and Interests.  I love the helpful hints it has for each section to help students think of what to put in each area!

Need a few ideas of how you can integrate this into your classroom?  Let me help:

  • Have students create their Personal Profile at the beginning of the year as a get-to-know you activity.
  • Create character profiles for characters in a novel or story. Have them update the profile as the story goes along…a great way to develop a much deeper understanding of who those characters are!
  • Profile a famous inventor. Make that connection between who they are and what they did!

One final benefit?  They are easy to print, and it all ends up on one page!!

Honestly, we know our kids are probably using some social networks at home, so let’s embrace the tool and find a safe way to make it work in our classrooms!

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