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Video book reviews on YouTube.

Kids are watching videos and using YouTube like nobody’s business these days. YouTube stars are getting millions of hits and the eSports star, Ninja, is on the cover of the latest ESPN magazine. How can we take this obsession with YouTube and incorporate it into our classrooms? Here is one idea for the classroom.

Lesson Information

Group Size: Individual

Length of Video: Under 5 minutes

Time to create: 10 – 15 minutes

Editing: Minimal or none

Kids at every grade level should be interacting with text in some capacity. One easy way to incorporate video into the classroom is to have students make YouTube review videos from the perspective of characters from their books. To introduce, I may show some appropriate youtube reviews about popular video games or movies to help students understand the context. The more they are able to capture their character’s personality, the better. You will likely want to find example videos that are geared toward the age you teach, but I did provide some examples below.

When explaining the project, I like to use the examples of Eeyore and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. If your book had a character with a personality like Eeyore, you would likely talk slooooowwwllly and say things like, “This booooook was oookkkaay.” If your book had a character with a personality like Tigger, you would likely be hyper and talking really fast about your book. I liked to have my students complete their book reviews during silent sustained reading when they finished a chapter book. They would go in the hall and record their book review. Depending on your classroom structure and the time you would like students to commit to the project, the kids could also make small edits within their video before exporting. With appropriate permissions from parents and your school, you could also post these book reviews on youtube or a class social media page to give your students an authentic audience.

I also want to make the point that, even if your kids would prefer to not take on the persona of one of the characters from their book, creating video reviews is still an effective practice in the classroom. Students can just be themselves and talk about their book. Allow your students to be comfortable in whichever way they choose to review their book.

Here are some things your student could consider answering during their video reviews:

  1. Introduce yourself as your character.
  2. What is the title of your book?
  3. What was your book about?
  4. What was your favorite part?
  5. What would you rate it on a 1 – 10 scale?
  6. Was there a lesson it taught?
  7. Would you recommend it?

Nate Wolkenhauer is a veteran elementary educator with experience teaching in Florida and Pennsylvania. While teaching, he focused on student engagement and technology integration in the classroom and was recognized as one of the top educators in the state of Florida by the Florida Department of Education. As the current Assistant Director of FCIT, he works to build curriculum and programs promoting technology integration in K-12 classrooms and informal education environments.

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