Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Book Hooks- A Great Alternative
This week, I want to share a project idea that might satisfy your students’ need for creative expression.
When finished reading a book, I offer my students the option of creating a book hook (a mini commercial for the book). The goal of the hook is to get other children interested in reading that particular book. The project serves another purpose: it provides students with an additional outlet or assessment for demonstrating their understanding of the book.
When you give students the option to think visually by using images and pictures, verbally by using text and captions, and even in an auditory manner by being able to insert narration and sound bytes, you are tapping into theories such as Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences, which states that people learn in different ways and having different learning strengths. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with having students write a summary of a book to determine comprehension, I believe it should not be the only option if we want to develop our students strengths and keep them engaged.
To create the book hooks, my students use a slideshow program called Adobe Premiere Elements 9. Adobe currently offers an Elements 12, (http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere-elements.html) which must be purchased, so please check with your school system to see what programs you can access. There are other programs that work just fine for this project, such as Microsoft Movie Maker.
These programs allow students to download images, insert sound, add text, and use other technology tricks such as transitions between slides to create a top-notch book hook. My suggestion is that you teach a “beginners” class that demonstrates the basic features to students then let them go from there.
In designing the hook, I like to lay out some general requirements, such as students must include the name of the book and the author, the hook should present some of the most interesting or best parts but NEVER give away the ending, and the hook should illustrate, if possible, the main characters, setting, and other literary elements. You can set other guidelines such as time limits. Normally, one to two minutes will suffice. The hook should be just long enough to wet the reader’s appetite but leave them wanting more.
You can create a rubric for hooks, which formally rates the above categories. Other ideas include having a “preview day,” where students play their hooks for classmates. If you’re really ambitious, you could even invite parents to watch the presentations!
There are web sites where students share their hooks. To get a sense of what the hooks might look like, you can visit one elementary school’s website at https://sites.google.com/a/guilderlandschools.net/elementarybooktrailers....
I have seen how creative and engaged students become when asked to create book hooks using technology. It is a great alternative assessment to paper and pencil.