Going Green (Screen) In the Classroom

Well, we officially survived the holiday season! As we ease into the swing of things returning to school I thought it would be fun to take some time to reflect on my favorite project students completed so far this school year.

I talked a little about our Holidays Around the World project in my last blog post, but I didn’t get a chance to share about the projects students completed. Students had a blast learning about a country of their choice and how they celebrate the holidays there. They worked hard researching, taking notes, and writing informational paragraphs. But it was the projects they created as a culminating activity that was my favorite part (and I think theirs too!).

Students had three choices for projects. They could make a brochure, create a Google Slides presentation or make an iMovie where they pretended to be a news reporter. The creativity that went into each of the projects was quite impressive. Hands down though, the most popular project was creating an iMovie. It may have had something to do with the fact that students got to use out new green screen I had just purchased for our class, thanks to a very generous student.

To give students an idea of what the final product would look like I tested out our new green screen by cheering on the Patriots in what looked like a packed Gillette Stadium. I had the video playing as students entered one Friday. It was met with squeals, astonished faces and lots and lots of excitement. I may or may not have been so excited about how simple it had been to make that I called in other teachers before school to make them watch it too.

With their curiosity piqued on how to create such a video, I got to work laying out the steps students would take to create their own holiday themed videos.

First, they would need to fill out the reporters script I had created with information about the holidays from their respective countries.

When not in use, our green screen simply rolls up, easy storage!

Then, they would need to take turns filming and being filmed with the green screen as their background. We talked a lot about practicing, sounding fluent, and giving eye contact as they read from their news report. This was a bit challenging and a great learning experience with not only keeping the camera still and making sure to only film where the green screen was; but also how to cooperate, take turns and work as a team to get as many students as possible to film each day. Eventually, we found that after everyone had tried filming, it became more productive if I took over the role of camerawoman and they focused on the acting.

Lights, Camera, Action!

After they had their green screen film, it was time to add the backgrounds. To do this they used an app called, DoInk. DoInk is a super user friendly app and students found it easy to use once they were shown once what to do.

With their new video that included a background of their choice saved to the camera roll of the iPad, it was time to drop all the different videos into iMovie.

It is here that they placed each video segment in the correct order and checked to make sure all parts of the news report were included.

Finally, it was show time! We celebrated all of the projects by having students share what they created. The iMovies were a fan favorite in our room.

Seeing as it was the first time we had ever used the green screen or made iMovies, we did two stars and a wish to discuss them as a group after watching them. The two stars were two things students liked about how the product turned out and the wish was something they would change for next time.

I have to say, it was such a wonderful experience using the green screen in the classroom. Students were engaged, excited and really took ownership over their work. For the students that chose to complete a different style project, the apprehension some might have felt about the filming process seemed to melt away once they saw the final products. Several of those students have asked me if they would have a chance to try out the green screen in the future, which of course they will.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season! Now that I have worked out some of the kinks that come with using any new technology, I can’t wait for our next green screen project!



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