I purposely have waited to mention the book being featured in this trailer project as I didn’t want to put any of you off. However, at this point I will reveal that it is (unsurprising to those who know me) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As I have done for decades I read the annotated version aloud while my students followed along in my large collection of illustrated editions. They loved the different approaches to the art, the puns, the characters, dancing a quadrille, playing indoor croquet, and everything else we do as we read the book. Because I know how much fun the book is for them I challenged them to communicate that in a book trailer, especially to those who are dubious that it is still a book for children.
My wonderful colleague and tech specialist Ellen Nickles who has embraced the project did a lesson taking apart my model trailer to show different ways it could be created. We then asked the children to consider the mood they wanted to impart in their trailers and then to come up with some text, quotes, and images to use in it. They did a great job with this, getting the sense of the book in their text and choices of quotes from the book. The only problem for some was having too many quotes or just too much text. When this was pointed out they eagerly return to rethink this. As for the illustrations they could create their own or use John Tenniel’s as they are out of copyright.
After Ellen did a fabulous Imovie demo, they were off creating their trailer. I was amazed at how well they did this. Not only did they require minimal support, but the room was incredibly quiet — they were completely focused and engaged. Admittedly, they have been working on various tech projects all year and most of them had used Imovie before so they quickly adapted to the specific demands of this project tech-wise. Still, I think it was their complete engagement in the project that was what mattered more than their tech ability.
Students drafted versions of their trailers and then I looked them over with them and gave them suggestions (just as I would a piece of writing). They did, as was to be expected, get a bit carried away with effects, often putting way too many for such a short piece of video. But once I pointed this out to them, they were very open to bringing them down into a reasonable and less distracting number. Lastly, we introduced music. Ellen made several versions of my trailer with different kinds of music (from this royalty-free music site) so the children could easily see why some did not fit. With remarkable ease they selected their own and added it to their own trailers. Interestingly, I had expected them to go wild with this and have to suggest better choices, but that wasn’t the case at all. They made excellent choices, every single one of them!
Next: The finished trailers.