DIY Book Trailers in iMovie

My second graders love making Book Trailers with iMovie.  This is a favorite reading response in my classroom.  Here is a tutorial on how to use iMovie to make a book trailer.

Here is the Nana in the City (Lauren Castillo) Book Trailer I made for the tutorial.

My students have made book trailers for Fairy Tales, author studies, Reading Responses, and Caldecott books.

Here are some of the Book Trailers made by my 2nd graders.  Click on the link to view the trailers.

Zoom Broom

Fly Guy


Falling For Rapunzel

Have your students create their own book trailers. They will love them!

What a Mess! Unorganized Media

When I began this blog, my goal was to blog once a week.  I managed that goal fairly easily.  I would like to begin blogging every day.  The biggest hindrance to that goal is unorganized media.

I use photos in all of my blog posts.  I have several videos I would like to begin using.  I have learned since I began this blog that file names are an essential aspect of success.

This is what some of my personal photos look like in my album.

It takes quite a while to find photos, video, and other resources when you haven’t given them a file name.  I have been diligently working on naming all of my files.

Files and photos with names.

My Google Drive was just as messy.

Another mess!


Creating folders and giving those folders file names enables you to find what you are looking for more quickly.

Organized Google folders

You can even create folders within folders when you have a multitude of photos and files available.

Folders within a folder

The advantage of naming photos and files is that you can find what you are looking for when you need it.

Don’t be like me, organize and label your photos, your videos, and your documents!

Book Tasting with iPads

Today my second grade team hosted a book tasting for our students in the Library.  We are using author studies and genre studies to teach our Reading and Language Arts TEKS this year.  We wanted to give our students some choice in the authors we will be studying for the rest of the semester.

We chose 6 authors to present at our Book Tasting.  We decorated the tables with some colored paper, fall leaves, books, and QR codes.  The QR codes were to YouTube Book Trailers of books by each author.



Each class had a turn visiting the Book Tasting.  We put the kids in small groups and rotated them to each table.  They watched the YouTube videos with iPads.  There was only one minor glitch.  One of the book trailers wouldn’t play on every iPad.  The students had a wonderful time watching the book trailers and reading the books by the various authors.





Each group visited each author table.  Then we finished with a Google survey.  We made a QR code for our survey.  The students scanned the QR code with their iPad and logged into their Google accounts to complete the survey.  They told us about their favorite authors and book characters from the Book Tasting.  We will make a giant graph in our hallway to graph the results of the survey.  We will choose our next author study based on the results of the Book Tasting survey.

Our students are excited to see which author was the favorite.  They can’t wait to find out who will be the next author we study.

Here are two of our author QR code posters.

robert-munsch                      tedd-arnold





What is Digital Literacy?

Digital Literacy is a broad topic.  What does it encompass?  What do we need to teach so that our students are digitally literate?

For me, Digital Literacy, has two parts, Digital Citizenship, and Digital Fluency.  I begin addressing digital citizenship with my students the first week of school.  There are some key criteria I want my students to know and embrace about responsible online behavior.

I always start with Common Sense Media’s K-2 Scope and Sequence.  The first lesson in this series is a video of a young boy telling about online Safety.  He teaches 3 rules for online safety.  After the video and lesson I have my students create posters for online safety.




These rules are a great place to begin teaching basic online safety rules and procedures.

The essential understandings of online safety I want my students to fully understand are:  Never share personal information.  We have a lesson on what personal information is:  name, address, phone #, birthday, school, town, etc.  I want them to understand that they shouldn’t share information that will allow someone they don’t know to know who they are and where they live.

We also talk about who we know and don’t know.  Online you can chat and play games with someone.  You might recognize their profile photo or avatar.  You might know their online name or handle, but you don’t know that person in real life.  This is someone we have to be especially careful of revealing information to.  This is tricky and a hard concept for some young children to understand.  We have to have many discussions about this issue over the school year.

The third key criteria I want my students to grasp is:  Always login to an account or game and logout when you are finished.  This keeps their work, information, and projects safe and secure.  This one is easy to teach.  The first time my students go into the computer lab and discover someone has altered their avatar or changed something they were working on, they suddenly “get it”.  I always point out that those things happen when we forget to logout of our Google accounts or our RAZ Kids accounts.

Online safety and digital citizenship are ongoing topics that we visit in my classroom weekly if not daily.  There are so many more important areas to cover.  Visit Common Sense Media for more information.  Here are some links to some other great resources for teaching digital citizenship.




Technology is everywhere.  Our kids live in a world where anything is possible at the click of their fingertips.  I them to know how to be safe in this 21st century in which they live, learn, and play.


Making Maps with iPad

Map Skills is one of my favorite topics to teach.  There are so many fun activities to teach students about maps, map keys, directions, and landforms.  You can make QR Codes and go on a Safari.  You can dress up as pirates and have a Treasure Hunt around your campus.  This year I used iPad maps to teach this skill to my students.  (Thanks Danielle for the idea.)

We started off exploring maps in the iPad app.  We learned how to find places we were interested in.  We learned how to toggle back and forth between map view and satellite view.


You toggle from Satellite view to Map view by tapping the i key on the iPad screen.  On my iPad it was in the bottom right corner.  On some of my students iPads it was on the top to the right.


We explored several places the students were interested in finding on the maps.





Then I turned them loose to explore on their own.  They found our town, their homes, our school, favorite parks, and many other relevant locations.

After the free exploration time, we paired up with partners.  I always use random pairing for this.  The partners decided together the kind of map they would create.  Their task was to make a map using both the map and satellite view on the iPad.  They could choose a location.  They were to include a Map Key and a Compass Rose.  Other requirements were individualized depending on their choice for map making.  We spent 3 days working on our maps.  (Not whole days, just part of each day.)





Along the way we learned about landforms, directions and the Compass Rose, and Map Keys.








These are some of the maps before they were finished.

The students learned how to navigate the iPad Maps app.  They learned important features of maps.  They learned how to make a map and what to include.  They are still exploring within the Maps app when they have Tech Time.  This was a successful lesson on map skills!







Banking Day

I reward good behavior in my classroom with coins.  This helps my 2nd graders learn to identify coins, count coins, and make change.  Once a week we have Banking Day.  My students trade in their pennies and nickels, which I am very generous with, for quarters, dimes, and even dollars.  They also purchase rewards on this day.  I usually let them choose what rewards they would like to buy.  Here is a sample shot of what they chose.  Most of these were already on my Choice Mat.



At the beginning of the year I offer limited choices.  Many friends aren’t ready to choose from the whole list.  They spend their whole reward time trying to decide what they want to do.  This past week I let my friends choose a few of their favorites.  Tech time, Building, and Making/Creating are always at the top of the list.  Making and Creating is what my friends call Free Time this year.  They are only allowed to make one choice per week.  I do let them Pick 2 if one of the choices is Shoes Off.


It is loud and crazy when the kids are trading in their coins at the bank.  Some of them have trouble with this for a while.  Unfortunately I have no pictures of this phase as I am the banker.

The kids love this day and usually settle into their choices with great abandon.  2nd graders will do anything for a plastic penny or nickel.  I rarely have behavior problems in my classroom.  They love to collect coins and buy rewards on Banking Day.  As I said, I’m very generous with their earnings.  I want everyone to have coins to identify and count.  I want everyone to have a reward of some sort on Banking Day.







Here are some iPad apps you can use to reinforce money skills in your classroom.


Here is a coin reference sheet you can place in your student’s math journals.  You can also use these reward charts.

10-cents 25-cents 40-cents 50-cents


Identifying coins, counting coins, and making change are difficult for students.  Give your kids some real life experience with money.  They will love it!