Feb 26

Fun with a Green Screen

I’ve used a green screen a little myself in the past, but overall, I don’t have a ton of experience with it, especially with students. The bright green cloth that was sitting around my house needed a new home. I brought it to school, figuring I could use it with the students to create something fun, share their learning, and give students a new way to express themselves. I have all sorts of ideas for ways to use the green screen, but the first step was to  get it set up. I had to figure out where to put it – a place where the lighting would be good and there wouldn’t be shadows. I found a wall in my school library and stapled it to the wall. We were all set.

Thanks to Conni Mulligan and others, my knowledge of using a green screen has grown quite a bit over the years. I figured I’d use the Green Screen by Do Ink iOS app because it’s simple and the kids could probably create things by themselves. My kindergarten students were reading The Pigeon books and I thought it would be a great idea to make our own little video using the green screen. I showed the students a video of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and told them we’d be making our own video. They were excited, but weren’t really sure what that meant. I grabbed my iPad and lined the kids up near the green screen. Student after student, they stood in front of the bright green material and repeated lines from the book. Knowing the app is more or less a one take video type app, I knew I’d have to put everything together using iMovie. I took pictures of the pages of the book and began editing everything together. I’m really pleased with the final result, shown below. I did the same thing with another class and am in the process of editing that video. I’ll be sure to share it when it’s ready.

 

B-s1Zp2WoAAeJqZThe students have seen the green screen in the library and have been asking about it. Most have an idea what it is, but have never done anything with it themselves. That’s going to change. In fact, the 4th graders are just wrapping up their unit on immigration and one student wanted to use the green screen for part of his project. He wrote a rap song about his topic and recorded it. He wanted to use an image of Ellis Island in the background so we found one we had permission to use, and loaded it into the app. I let the kids take over from there and surprisingly, the students pulled it off in just one take. They thought it was really cool and I can’t wait for kids to think about other ways they can use it.

There are already plans in place with other grades to use the green screen. First graders are current writing book reviews and are going to record themselves telling others about their books. We’ll add the book cover as the background image and record the students in front using the green screen. Third graders are studying countries and there have been discussions on how we can use the green screen to share their learning as well.

My next  goal, is to improve our green screen studio and see if we can paint a big section of a wall to serve as our backdrop. This will work out much better than our small cloth backdrop and will allow groups of students to work together and create some amazing stuff. Is the green screen the be all, end all? No, but what’s it’s doing right now is giving students a new way to express themselves, share their learning and expertise in ways they haven’t before, and have fun in the process. And those are all good reasons to jump in!

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Feb 21

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Feb 14

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Feb 11

Chad’s Choices

It’s been way too long since I’ve shared a few great articles. With that being said, below are four articles and blog posts I’ve come across that made me think, wonder, and learn. If you haven’t seen these, I’ve included a snippet from the article to pique your interest.

My district talks a lot about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). We’re in the middle of a book study on the topic and have had plenty of discussions about how this can make a positive impact on student learning. In the discussion, there’s usually talk about the learning environment and how we no longer should have rows of desks and the old school classroom set up. The article below shares some great tips on how to transform your learning space.

Million-dollar learning spaces are often not a reality for most schools. However, that is no reason to abandon the concept of transformation. Here are four suggestions from librarians and educators who have transformed their learning spaces — even without a budget.

Read the entire article here.

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School culture is so important in the success of a school. My friend George Couros recently wrote a blog post about school culture and mental health and shares some very simple ideas that can help students and improve the culture of your school. He’s not saying create anything big and new, but just to change a few simple things that will have huge benefits.

…we have to be really weary of creating another initiative that eventually causes more work and anxiety for teachers, but to think about how to do things differently.  It is not about doing more, but doing things different and better.

Read the entire article here.

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Are you the best version of yourself when you’re in the classroom? Are you a different person outside of school? The blog post below by Chris Lehmann shares a story for educators to keep in mind. Be yourself.

We bring who we are to the classroom every day. Our teacher-selves has to be a recognizable version of who we are in all our moments outside the classroom. The trick is to be intentional as we learn how who we are as people impacts the style and structure of how we teach, and to make sure that our personality works in service of pedagogy, so that we bring the best of who we are to help the kids every day.

Read the entire article here.

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I’m a huge fan of Twitter and I think it’s bring so much value to my professional life. I’ve made so many great connections with educators from all over the place who have become good friends and have helped me and my students. I’ve often wondered why more teachers aren’t using Twitter because I know of so many people who rave about the benefits of being connected. The blog post below by Tom Whitby, really explains why Twitter won’t connect every educator.

If there is one thing I truly understand about educators it is that they are slow to change. It might be from decades of people jumping in with the “latest and greatest” answer to a better way to do things in education, or some legislative mandate to fix it all through legislation, only to find it to fizzle out and fall way short when actually implemented.

Read the entire article here.

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Feb 07

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Jan 31

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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Jan 24

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Jan 17

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Jan 10

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Jan 03

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

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