This quarter I assigned the group of gifted sixth graders I am working with for my student teaching practicum the task of writing a book commercial for their self selected independent reading books that they are reading this quarter. Here are the steps we took to create our book commercials. They did a fabulous job and I am so proud of them!
Step 1 – Check out some sample book commercials.
I found a list of sample book commercials here and we spent about 20 minutes listening to some them to get a feel for what they included. This site also has a book commercial guidelines page that is very helpful for setting up expectations for students.
Step 2 – Discuss what a book commercial should and should not include.
We brainstormed on the Promethean board and decided that book commercials DO have: a hook, somewhat of a description of characters and plot, and a cliffhanger. Book commercials DON’T give too much away. We also decided that an appropriate length would be anywhere from 50 seconds to 2:00. I also decided that we would be doing audio only book commercials because students were very intimidated by the idea of being filmed. I wanted this to be a fun and positive experience, so I assured them from day one that we would only be doing an audio commercial.
Step 3 (This is a step that I would add next time) – Students wrote their book commercial rough drafts on paper and were required to read it to a peer before handing in. Did their peer want to read the book after hearing the commercial? Yes or no? Why or why not? These questions led to some fantastic feedback conversations.
Step 4 – Students turned in their rough drafts to me for approval and to double check that they included our big three – a hook, description of characters and plot, and a cliffhanger.
Step 5 – Taping Day! We used the Storyrobe app for the first time and it was very easy to use. First, we took a picture of the book (or student made sign if the book was forgotten) and then recorded their audio. I suggest saving the clips to your camera roll or emailing them to yourself as you finish each one. A few of our clips got deleted when the app crashed. but we just taped them again and they worked fine the second time. Even with this issue, I would still recommend this app for this activity and will definitely use it again in the future.
Step 6 – Share the book commercials and celebrate a job well done!
Here are a few of the book commercials my students made for this assignment. They did a great job and I’m really proud of them!