How I Use It
In my classroom I used iMovie to have them do a trailer of a book that we read whole class, instead of having them do a traditional book report. The students were super excited to create trailers. It does take some planning to make sure that students are prepared to use iMovie, if it is their first time. You have to show them the program itself, instruct them how to obtain pictures, and show them how to use third party apps to place writing on their pictures. We used the pre-rendered movie trailers. I did find that depending on the trailer style chosen, some students needed a lot more pictures than others. This did make it a little difficult. The titles in the trailer are only a certain length, so I had to have the students use another app to place their written part of their book report onto the pictures that they were using. You also need to decide what written part of the book report you want done before hand and how it will fit into them creating an iMovie trailer.
Overall, I loved using iMovie. Students were super excited to work on the book trailers and they couldn't get enough of watching their trailer over and over, as well as showing others. I liked the quality of the trailers, with the transitions and the music. I would like the ability to put longer amounts of typed text into the trailers. This would greatly aid in the part of still holding true to the book report and the written language piece. As I stated above, this can be overcome through a third party app that allows you to write on existing pictures. It would also be nice to have some editing features of the existing trailers. Being able to remove frames or lengthen / mostly shorten the number of images needed would have been nice. Students also wanted to be able to extend shots for certain frames. There is more control over this in the main iMovie creator, but I feel for 4th grade students, at least, they need to pre-rendered trailers to start with, or else the learning curve would be a little too steep to begin with.