After months of Mother Nature's winter tantrums, I am ready for spring. The kids are ready to get outside and run off pent-up energy. We all struggle with the notorious third-quarter-slide, and yet we have a multitude of standards to teach in the final months of school. One of the ways to keep it interesting and inviting to students is through the use of green screen.
When most people hear of green screen, they automatically visualize the weeknight weatherman and his ninja-like map skills. However, with the emergence of technology in the classroom, there are ways to put this magic into the hands of students. My app of choice is Green Screen by Do Ink. For a mere $2.99 in the App Store, your students can give their reports on location, provide special effects for a video project, or pretty much anything their imaginations can dream up. Such a simple concept can take the mundane to exhilarating. See here for some tips on working with the app in the classroom.
This week, I worked with a third grade classroom who had been writing reports about famous landmarks around the globe. Suddenly, a task that could be written and quickly forgotten was now going to become a short movie that was going to be shared with the outside world. The energy was palpable as the classroom teacher and I worked with students to find fantastic images that would work well for the project. The goal was to locate a picture or two that would allow them to virtually stand beside their landmarks as they gave their speeches. Not only were students meeting various writing, speaking, and listening standards, but they were also tackling a host of the 6 ISTE Student Standards. These standards are a staple of 21st Century learning as we prepare students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers in jobs that likely don't yet exist.
|Maya and Gabriel working to add a Great Wall image|
The bottom bar in the app is used for the video or image you'd like to have as the background. Again considering the age of our kids, we chose to use images so that the kids could find suitable backgrounds with ease. Keeping in mind that our informational writing standard was at the heart of this project, we also didn't want to take any chances that their sweet voices wouldn't be heard clearly. You'll note that there was a top bar we didn't use. If you so choose, this can be for adding animations. Do Ink has a sister app called Animation and Drawing by Do Ink for $4.99 that would work perfectly for an added element and some extra challenge.
|Ella giving a video report on Big Ben|
So, as we head into the fourth quarter, I encourage you to ramp up your teaching with a tool like Green Screen. Keep learning fun! I promise you won't regret it.