Lights, Camera, Action-Using iPads to Comprehend

Image result for Gizmo Paul JenningsMake sure you check out the lesson descriptions below.

The first chapter book I read was Gizmo by Paul Jennings I remember the day I picked it up and began reading it and then the day I finished reading. I was so excited my first ‘big person book’ completed! Was I now a grown up? Getting to the end of a book can be very satisfying whether you are a kid or an adult. However, as a teacher how can you continue this excitement of finishing a book or motivate students to comprehend once finished reading? Some students would feel relief and are just glad that it’s all over, others will chuck the book aside and not give it a second thought. Imagine being able to motivate students to the point (whether they enjoy reading or not) that they argue over who is right in the comprehension of a book and shout out in the middle of class;

“FINE, I’ll prove it to you, (furiously flips through his book to a page and points) here it says it in black and white!”

“YES! but it is really saying that he feels worried because of it, look it says he was ‘unsure'”

These 11 year olds weren’t just arguing, they were discussing, comprehending and justifying. This was all brought about by the learning experience they were apart of, creating a Book Trailer. I set my students the challenge to design and film or animate a book trailer that would encourage others to read the book. Their work would be assessed in five different areas:

  • Persuasive techniques
  • Comprehension of text (focus on sequencing of text and identification of main events)
  • Use of film
  • Music and;
  • Colour

Exploring and Examining-Learning Experience One

1-2 Sessions

Before exploring a range of movie trailers I showed them one and asked them to explore the detail of the trailer using the thinking routine 10 by 2 (See, Think, Wonder would also be appropriate).

We then examined the following questions;

What made these trailers so persuasive?
What elements of the text or movie did they show?

How did elements such as music, sound effects and colour impact your feelings and thoughts?

To conclude the lesson we watch another 3 or 4 trailers including book trailers such as The Arrival by Shaun Tan and Wonder by J.R. Palacio

Planning-Learning Experience Two

2-3 sessions 

This is where rich discussions about the comprehension of texts begin!To assist in give students direction and to pull the, together as a team we began by creating a comic of their trailer. Some students prefer to draw this on paper and others prefer to use their iPad so they can ad voice and short video clips to show their thinking. Those who used an iPad enjoyed using the app Paper 53 to draw.

During this time students should think about how they would like to present their wok. Some students may like to digitally animate their work using an app such as Puppet Pals, others may like to use other animation techniques such as Stopmotion and Claymation or simply act it out using Greenscreen Technology.

Students will need to reflect on the following questions throughout this process:

  • what type of music can we use to further communicate the meaning of the book?
  • How can I use colour to help the audience feel the characters emotions?
  • What film techniques and camera shots can I use to help the audience become apart of the book? and;
  • What persuasive devices will I use to capture the audience?


Creating-Learning Experience Three

3-4 Sessions

The next learning experience involves the creation of the book trailer. Students understanding of the text continues to develop as they work to construct their persuasive text by re creating characters, scenes and organising film clips. The are a wide variety of apps that can be used to assist students in creating their trailer. Take a look below at some I use in my classroom.

Animation Apps


Filming Apps


Film Editing Apps (Pulling it altogether)



Reflecting-Learning Experience Four

1-2 Sessions

The final learning experiences focuses on reflection and evaluation. There are a range of Visual Thinking routines you could use such as 10 by 2 to help students examine their own and other students trailers.

Alternatively, the students work could be uploaded to tools such as Padlet where students can comment on each other’s work. To provide real world feedback students could upload their work onto platforms such as YouTube where they would receive feedback beyond their peers.

Publishing-How to Present Student’s Work

Using Augmented Reality tools such as Aurasma and Augment are great ways to display students work in an interactive way. Usually, I use Aurasma to attach the student’s clips onto the front covers of their book with a small ‘A’ in the corner to alert possible readers that a book trailer exists.

If you do create any book trailers please share a link below. It would be exciting to see your classes work!


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