This was a unit done in Ms. Hauman's sixth grade Applied Technology classes in February 2012 in collaboration with Dr. Wyatt and her student teacher, Ms. Julie Foote (now Julie Douglas). The timeline of lessons and activities is below, along with any handouts and examples used during the unit. Feel free to use or adapt the lesson for use with any book trailer units, digital storytelling units, or Animoto units.

Purpose of Unit

The purpose of the unit is to introduce a new tool, Animoto, to the students and to teach, practice, and reinforce the 21st Century information skills of copyright, Creative Commons, acceptable use, and proper citations for digital images found on the Internet. We chose to use Google Images Advanced Search, Wikimedia Commons, and Flickr as the platforms that students would use to search for media under the Creative Commons license. Ultimately, the book trailers would be uploaded into the Learning Center catalog for users to see when searching for those books. Our hope was that they would inspire students to want to read those books and maybe to even create their own book trailers.

Prep Work Before Starting Unit

Before the unit started, Ms. Haumann had every student pick one of their favorite books and submit the title and author information to her so that there wouldn't be any duplicates within the class.

Day One

The purpose of the first day's lesson was to introduced the project to students using the Prezi presentation below. The handout below ("HandoutDay1") was distributed to every student.
1. We discussed what a book trailer is by comparing it to a movie trailer; we then looked at the movie trailer for the rated G film Finding Nemo and discussed as a class what elements are present in a movie trailer that give information about that movie.
2. We presented the main elements of a book trailer, what each means, and why they are important. Students were encouraged to take notes on the front page of the handout to refer back to throughout the unit. This information was reinforced by showing several samples of student-created Animoto book trailers found on YouTube.
3. As a class, we watched and discussed each trailer to determine what was good about it, what could be better, and whether or not we enjoyed them and were inspired to read the featured book. This activity allowed students to begin to think about their own trailer and was referred back to often throughout the unit to remind students of what makes up a quality book trailer.
4. Finally, students filled in the back side of the handout with the specific information for their book. This activity allowed students to begin brainstorming ideas about their own trailer and as the first step in the storyboarding process. If not completed, students finished their plan for homework.
  • If student's realize at this point that they've chosen a book that doesn't fit well for this project, this was the only day we allowed them to change books. After this point, they will be too far along in their planning to start over and still finish on time.


The teacher copy has all of the information included for the main elements, as well as an example for how the back page can be filled out using the book Girl, Stolen by April Henry:

Day Two

The second day we continued with the storyboarding process so that students had a complete plan in place for their book trailer before looking for images and starting with Animoto.
1. Using the plan they finished yesterday, students wrote a script for their trailer on a blank piece of paper. The script is intended to get students thinking about the actual narrative of the trailer so that they can scale it down and fill in images in the storyboard phase. A sample script is below.
2. Once the script was finished, we distributed storyboards so that students could pick the most important elements from their information plan and script that they actually want included in the trailer. Students selected what each box would include (text, image, or video) and wrote in the text or an idea for what image or video they would try to find. If students didn't finish this in class, it became homework.
  • Tip: Animoto has text limitations -- only 22 characters can be on the top line of the slide and only 30 characters on the bottom line. Remind students of this when they are planning.
3. We checked every student's storyboard once they were finished to be sure they were on the right track (included title/author at beginning and end, didn't have too much text or too many images, they had a decent hook and didn't give away the ending, etc.). Catching major mistakes at this point was very helpful and set the students back on the correct path.

Sample script continuing with the example of Girl, Stolen by April Henry:

Storyboard handout:

Note: We printed extra copies of page two in case people needed more boxes to work with, which many did. A line to write the page number is provided in the bottom right corner so that students can keep their storyboard pages in order.

Example of a filled out storyboard (the first page is on there twice by mistake):

Day Three

Day three was devoted to finding at least 8 images that would be used in the Animotos. We began the lesson discussing copyright issues and what a Creative Commons license is and why images and videos under a Creative Commons license are okay to use in their projects.
1. We distributed the handout, attached below, to every student so that they could follow along.
2. Every student was instructed to create a folder on their desktop entitled "Book Trailer" so that all of the pictures they find later in class go in the same spot.
3. Using the Google Doc presentation shown below, we spent the first 10 minutes of class going over copyright and Creative Commons. First we checked the students' previous knowledge of the two, and made sure that they recognized the two symbols. Next we watched the Common Craft video "Copyright & Creative Commons." We checked to make sure the information was understood before moving on. Many students chose books that had been made into movies so we had to be sure they knew that any images and video clips from the movies were copyrighted and therefore unusable in their trailers. The Harry Potter poster on slide 5 was an example to drive that point home, with slide 6 zooming in on the copyright statement. We chose to have the students use Google Images and Wikimedia Commons as the two search engines for today, so the next slides explain where to go in order to set the search parameters to only obtain images under the Creative Commons license. Finally, though students were able to use EasyBib to input their information for each digital image, we went over the correct format for image and video citations.
4. Students worked independently to gather images, using their storyboards as guidance for what types of images they were looking for. Students had a lot of trouble letting go of the image they had in their head of the "perfect image" they wanted to include -- when only using Creative Commons images, they will not be able to find not exactly what they are looking for. Remind students that they need to be creative and think outside the box to come up with search terms for what pictures to find. All images should be dragged into their "Book Trailer" folder.
  • Tip: Remind students to capture any information they need for the citation when they choose their images!


Google Presentation:

Day Four

On day four, the students continued to find images online. We introduced one additional platform, Flickr, since students were not able to find everything they were hoping for the previous day. Quality images of people to portray their story's characters were hard for them to find with Google and Wikimedia, so Flickr was a great site for this purpose.
1. We started the lesson by introducing Flickr and explaining how to set the search parameters to only return images under the Creative Commons license, using the Google Presentation shown below. Additionally, students needed to learn how to be able to drag their images onto the desktop or into their Book Trailer folders, since Flickr is odd in this way. As the Google Presentation shows, users have to click "Actions" located just above the desired picture and then choose "View All Sizes." Once they choose the correct size (the bigger the better so that the image isn't pixelated), they can drag that image into their folder.
2. We gave the students the rest of the period to finish finding all of the images that they needed for their book trailers. Once that was finished, students were instructed to create their Works Cited page using EasyBib, then pasting all of the citation information into a PowerPoint slide. Anything not completed was assigned for homework.
We floated around the room answering individual questions and helping students brainstorm ideas and search phrases for their images.

Google Presentation

Day Five

The purpose of today's lesson was to introduce the Animoto program to students, demonstrate how it works, to have them each create their own video under our instructions, and to begin work on their trailers. We noticed that students were still not prepared to move on to the actual book trailer creation, so the first ten minutes of class were dedicated to finishing up their Works Cited. All images should have been found by this point, though not all students had.
1. Students instructed to work on Works Cited for the first 10 minutes of class, while we circled the room answering questions.
2. Distributed the grading rubric for their final book trailer presentations.
3. We brought the students back together as a class to go over the rubric so that students would know what was expected of their final projects.
4. All students went to the Animoto website ( and together we all signed in under one preassigned user name and password that we created so that all students' videos were in one place. This way it's easier for us as teachers to grade them and check students' progress. (Tip: Have students write down the user name and password so that they can work on their Animotos from home if they choose.) We then went through how to create a video and had the students name their videos a specific way so that it was clear what class period they were in, what book they were doing, and who the trailer belonged to -- example: "3 Hunger Games - Foote"
5. Students were asked to face forward to watch a demonstration of how Animoto works. We explained the various features (choosing a theme, choosing music, uploading the images and videos they found, searching through Animoto's image and video library, adding text, changing speed and pace of video, and production and editing of videos) to the students and did a quick demo with sample images and text prepared in advance.
6. Students were given the rest of the period to work on whatever they needed to do -- a few were still finishing bibliographies and finding images, and a few were ready to start their final project on Animoto.
Tip: Encourage students to upload all of the images they found into Animoto FIRST. This way they can work on their Animoto from home if needed and they'll have their pictures available, otherwise their images would be stuck on their student drive on the school computers.


Day Six

This class was dedicated to finishing up all loose ends. Students were given the entire period to finalize their Animoto trailers, which are due in tomorrow's class. If not done, it became homework.

Day Seven

Day seven was presentation day!
1. We had students download their presentations into ___ files and save them in Ms. Hauman's teacher folder.
2. Peer Review packets were distributed to all students so that they could rate each book trailer as we watched as a class. Students were asked to rate the book trailers on a scale from 1-5 (5 being the highest rating, 1 being the lowest rating) on how much they liked the trailer itself and how much it made the students want to go read the featured book.
3. The presentations were shown on the front screen for the entire class to watch together.

Peer Review Packet: