Students Marketing to Students: One use of Animoto

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Each year our 4th grade hosts a summer reading fair for our 3rd graders.  The purpose is for 3rd grade students to hear about books by a variety of authors so that they will be inspired to read books by these authors over the summer.  Last year, I was asked by the 4th grade team to work with them on this project.  All they needed me to do was pull books by multiple authors and do book talks.  I made a power point and did a whirlwind intro to about 30 different authors, and that’s about the extent of how I helped.  The reading fair was held in the media center and groups of 3rd graders filed by tri-boards and heard students talk about their books.

This year, I saw a lot of potential in this author fair.  When else do you have a willing group of students eager to promote media center books?  I had never tried book trailers before and wanted to give them a try, so I made my own example in Animoto and shared it with fourth grade as a possibility for enhancing the student book displays.  They were immediately on board.

At this year’s kickoff, the first thing I shared before I did any book talks was the Animoto.  The energy level, attention, and interest of the students immediately shifted, and they were on board to create incredible projects.  My student intern, Frannie Gay, and I tag-teamed back and forth introducing as many authors as we could.  I included the ones that 4th grade had requested, but I threw in some authors who weren’t as well-known to students so that those books would get publicity.  In classrooms, students signed up for their author based on interest-level.  We pulled all of the books onto a self-serve cart in the media center.  Students were responsible for checking in their book, putting it back on the cart, and checking out their next book.  Also in classrooms, students read their books and prepared their traditional component of the author fair:  a tri-board with vocabulary, trivia, summaries, author bio, etc.  Then students came to learn about Animoto.  Five to six author groups came per day.
I once again shared my model author trailer, but pointed out how it was constructed:  a picture related to the book, the title, a blurb about the book, and another picture.  We looked at creative commons and once again talked about copyright and images.  Then, we walked through creating an Animoto together.

Students moved to tables and filled out a graphic organizer that prepared them for going to the computer.  They had to know every key word they were going to type for pictures before going to the computer.  They also had their blurbs for books written out.

For Animoto, I created an educator account using a “dummy” gmail account.  Animoto allows you to create multiple logins using that same email account with this pattern:,, and so on.  Students easily logged in, imported their pictures, arranged them, typed their text, and selected music.  The whole process was done in one day and took about 90 minutes.

At the author fair, I embedded all of the trailers on one webpage to make it easily accessible.  Third graders filed in, and I stood back and watched as about 20 different authors were promoted.  The 4th graders looked like professional presenters with their multi-media presentations.  The 3rd graders were excited about stopping at each center and seeing the Animoto followed by the presentation.  4th grade teachers were excited and kept coming up and telling me how they were thinking of using Animoto next year.  3rd grade teachers started asking questions about Animoto and how it might be used with their students.  My wheels continued to turn as I pondered how I might expand this next year.

You can hear what one group of students thought by clicking here.

Some noticings and wonderings:

  • Students promoting books to students continues to be a powerful tool
  • Finding ways to highlight unknown authors/books to students is critical in supporting circulation, especially ways to highlight using current technology
  • Collaboration can be very small steps.  This started as a “traditional” project last year and got a modern twist with the addition of Animoto
  • Making work public and showcasing projects for other classes to see not only supports student learning, but it also supports future collaboration
  • Why is 4th grade the only grade doing this?  What might I do to encourage more grade levels to promote books to other grade levels?

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA


About plemmonsa

School librarian, connected educator,Google Certified Teacher, NSBA 20 to Watch, speaker. Expecting the miraculous every day!

Posted on May 14, 2010, in Best practice, Reading, Technology, Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. nice information for me, just looking this from google, thx

  2. This is great. I might try something like this with my 5th graders to keep them engaged with books. In my school, the students are such advanced readers that by the time they reach 5th grade, they’ve read “everything” and their reading falls off drastically. Plus, we are a technology magnet school, so using tools such as Animoto is a great fit.

  3. Amazing work. And yea, Frannie! I think more than 4th grade will want to do this after they see these displays. And once these 4th graders are 5th graders and start bugging their teachers…

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