Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"Honest Trailers" Classroom Edition

screen junkies, honest trailers, honest trailers in the classroom
Screen Junkies. (2008). "YouTube Channel Heading". Screenshot. Available online at: http://www.youtube.com/user/screenjunkies
     Have you ever heard of "Honest Trailers"? I hadn't heard of them until today but I am very excited about the role that they could play in the classroom. "Honest Trailers" are put out on YouTube by ScreenJunkies and provide humorous, straight-forward analysis of recent movies by revamping their movie trailers. Here is how they describe their channel:
     Where guys go to get honest and authoritative advice on what movies
     and TV shows they should watch and which ones aren't worth the time.
     With breaking news, trailers, reviews, and original features, ScreenJunkies
     filters through the glut or entertainment choices to highlight the shows and 
     movies worthy of guys' previous free time.

     To get a real example of what an "Honest Trailer" is, here are some examples from their YouTube channel:

     Now obviously these are created with a tad of sarcasm (just a bit haha) but it got me thinking about how they are basically able to explain the entire movie plot in just a few minutes. Every English class requires our students to be interacting with text and responding in some way. Usually this response takes shape in some type of book report, journal response, diorama, character sketch, etc. What if instead of these platforms, we had our students create "Honest Trailers" to explain what they've read.

     If students were working with fiction they could explain the main character's personalities, plot development, setting, etc (in similar fashion to the way the movie trailers were set up). If students were working with non-fiction and expository texts they could explain the thesis behind the text, the supporting arguments and any examples to help clarify the ideas. By creating an "Honest Trailer" response, students are required to Evaluate what they've read, which is the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy, and rate/recommend it to their audience.

     I feel like students would find the sarcastic nature of these videos humorous and more interesting than some of the traditional options that I discussed previously. With this in mind, however, a specific rubric would need to be provided to ensure that students didn't get too caught up in the sarcasm and end up missing the actual evaluation of the text.


  1. Very neat - great idea Kirsten, thanks for sharing. So many neat ideas to engage kids in their learning.

    1. Thank you Mr. Nantais! I know I have a few students who would really love this kind of assignment, can't wait to try it out one day.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Have you tried it yet? I'm thinking of having my grade 7's do some independent reading and then have this as part of their assignment requirements. This would along with a blog.

    1. Thanks Russteacher! I actually haven't tried out this assignment yet. I am currently student teaching in Grade 10 Geography, Grade 9/10 ICT, Grade 11 Agriculture, and Grade 8 Social Studies. Unfortunately an opportunity hasn't come up to fit it in with these classes but my fiance is student teaching in Grade 9 E.L.A and is considering including it. If he does I can let you know how it goes.

  3. Thanks Miss L. I am considering it for grade 7 ELA and perhaps grade 8. They are starting Literature Circles in the next couple weeks. I'm just planning the assignments out now and looking at different options. If you (or your fiance) are interested in Lit Circle assignments let me know. I have one that work well grade 8 and up and one for 7 and down.

    1. I would definitely be interested in seeing what you do for your Literature Circles (Grade 8 and up). I think it could be useful for both my fiance and I!


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