3 Book Report Alternatives

The Book Report Poster

The traditional book report poster is feared by 21st Century students across the globe and frowned on by the educational technology community. You know, read a book and create a poster. Include the title, setting, your thoughts, etc. Stick everything on a poster along with a few pictures…done. It’s hard to believe that in the 21st Century we are still having students do this but it happens every day in our schools.

We can change the book report poster to make it a more creative, engaging activity. Let’s take a look at a few ideas that use digital tools but are “doable.”

Idea 1

Create a Prezi. I can feel many of you rolling your eyes and saying you learned about Prezi years ago. I know; but, it will be new to most of your students. And, Prezi simply works great for student presentations and as an alternative to posters. Not to mention students love it.

Instead of placing text and images on the Prezi, just like a physical poster, experiment with depth. Use a large image that fills the screen. Then, add supporting details and shrink them to tiny. For example, the main image might be someone’s face. Zoom in to an eye and you discover the student’s thoughts about the book. It’s cool and it never gets old. By the way, I usually discourage all the flipping of text and images…that gets annoying!

3 Book Report AlternativesIdea 2

Create a video movie trailer. Kids absolutely love this! You can use tools you already have and free web 2.0 sites. Have students use PowerPoint to create image slides. Again, I feel you rolling your eyes at using PowerPoint. It’s okay to use PowerPoint every once in a while (just don’t admit it!). Save the slides as images. Post a comment if you need to know how to do that part.

Then, use Windows Live Movie Maker or other video software to change the images into a movie. Most schools have PCs with Movie Maker so that is my favorite.

To make the movie trailer extra cool, have the students create a music soundtrack. I like the sound editor with Aviary. Keep I mind this is a Google app so you must have a Google Apps account to install. Of course if you have Apple products, use Garage Band. Add the music, pop some popcorn and have a movie trailer day!

Idea 3

So, this idea is more adventurous and will take more time. Have students create a scrolling digital poster with Vuvox Collage. Vuvox is hands-down, one of my favorite web 2.0 sites. Students add images, text, hotspots and more. A great feature is the ability to cutout images and construct new collages. For example, cut out people representing the characters in a book. Place them on top of a background image.

Students can also add narration and background music. The finished product is an awesome scrolling, interactive collage. It works great for students to present their creative project on an interactive whiteboard.

Okay teachers, I know you want to promote creativity and open-ended projects. Give these ideas a try instead of the traditional poster book report.

Please share other activities you have tried…post a comment below. Thanks for reading the educational technology blog Teach Amazing!