Sunday, June 3, 2018

Green Screen Made Easy!

I don't know what it is about technology, but sometimes it truly gets me nervous. I am so excited about learning something new, but then I always worry when trying it in the classroom. The green screen is no exception. For a couple years now I have heard about and seen other teachers use it and bring it into the classroom. I always thought, :Wow that would be awesome...too bad I don't have a green screen nor do I know how to do it." Well that excuse worked for a while until one of my coworkers started using it this year. With her help, some green table cloth, and the amazing app DoInk I was able to record and create some amazing green screen videos.

Students Planning their Commercials

My coworker honestly started it all. She purchased some inexpensive green table cloth from Walmart and purchase the DoInk app ( ) for the price of $2.99. I personally don't like paying for apps, but to me this is a simple investment and helps my class to create memorable and exciting videos to show off their learning. What is nice about this app is that they have a tutorial video, a walk through on the website, and overall it is fairly easy to use. I know from experience because I one of those people that plays around with something until I get it to work...who needs directions! lol All I did was import the videos and import photos from Google images to place in the background. I put the videos and pictures in a sequence I wanted and viola!

Screen Shot of a Commercial

This year I used the green screen for a formal assessment after my reading groups completed their literature circle books. I decided to have my students create a news broadcast in their groups. They had to tell the news (Summary of their book), create a commercial (having to do with something in their book), have a weather forecast (describe the setting of the story), and have either a sports segment or interview with a character. The two books my students read were The Hero Two Doors Down written by Sharon Robinson and The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963 written by Christopher Paul Curtis. This was a new concept for me as I have never had my students do a book report this way, but I thought it would be neat to try. Honestly I would do it again in a heart beat! It took about a week to complete, including filming, because it was the end of the year and there was a lot of things going on. It was worth the time truth be told. The students worked in their groups efficiently, dealt with issues diplomatically, and really got into creating their broadcasts. When it came time to film they dressed up, using some of the props and costumes I had in my classroom closet they put on a great show. If we had more time I might have had them film or at least play it back and decide what to edit or revise. I put in the backgrounds that I found via a Google image search and DoInk made it easy to apply more than one as well as put together multiple video clips. The students could not wait to see their newscasts and after uploading it to Google Drive I played them for all to see. They LOVED it and so did I!

What did I learn from this experience?

  1. Don't doubt your students. They will always surprise you and when something new is involved 9/10 times they will jump at the opportunity and really shine. 
  2. Don't doubt yourself. You might think something is too hard, involves too much time, or might be too complicated to put together, but you never know if you don't try. Give something new a chance and ask for help if you need it. Make it a goal to at least to try one new thing each year. Teaching is a profession where you have to remain aware to stay relevant. We have to be willing to expand our lessons for our students and model risk taking as well as reflection. Go For It!
  3. Don't expect perfection. I think part of my fear for trying this new tool is that I wouldn't be able to do it right or I didn't have the right equipment. Sometimes the best laid plans go awry and that's ok, it doesn't mean you stop trying new things. We can't expect our students to be perfect nor ourselves. If you try something new let your students know you are learning together. It's ok to admit you don't know it all it actually is a teachable moment for your students. As for the materials, my father taught me that its ok to not have everything, but you can make what you need (redneck ingenuity). My school has always been low income and almost everything in my room came out of my own pocket. I know the value of saving money and not having much to spend, but there are always ways to make the impossible possible in a classroom. 

Have you used Green Screen? What is something you want to try, but your nervous about?
Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @teaching_power or on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. The beautiful thing about green screen is the students learn to do it right along with you. Soon their experience and ideas become the driving force behind your/their planning. Then the assessment really begins. It’s amazing how creative their minds can be to show their learning. As a teacher it really opened my eyes to what they had mastered and what I thought they had mastered. I can’t wait to put our heads together to plan ideas for cross grade level lessons next year. I think we will both be surprised on how our students choose to show their learning via green screen! Keep taking risks because you are an amazing teacher! You keep your students on their toes and they can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


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