Create Fun Student Projects with a Green Screen

green screenHave you ever wanted to try green screening but didn’t know where to start? Start with the $2.99 iPad app Green Screen by Do Ink! It’s simple, easy, and fun to use! There is no account to create. Just install the app and follow these five steps:

1. Set up your green screen background for your videos. You can use a professional green screen, a Party City or similar green tablecloth, green bulletin board paper, a green sheet or a pizza box tabletop green screen with green Starbucks straws to support small props. Be creative and experiment with color and lighting to get the best possible video.

2. Record your videos with the green screen as a background using your basic iPad camera app. If you are creating multiple projects at the same time you may want to set up multiple albums in your photo app. One album for each project will help keep you organized. When ALL of the videos have been recorded, it is time for the third step.

3. Choose your background photo or video. You can use the iPad camera app to take a background photo or video or import a picture from the internet. Imagine the possibilities: outer space, maps, historical places, under the sea, gardens, national landmarks, etc.

4. Open up the Do Ink app and look for the import areas at the bottom of the screen. Add your background photo or video to the bottom row. Add your first video to the middle row. After adding the first video, slide it over to allow the second video to be added (use the red line as a guide). Go ahead and follow that process, adding and sliding, until all of your videos have been imported on the same line. Watch this tutorial for further instruction.

5. Save your video to the camera roll, and then email it or upload it to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo. Then hare the link on Twitter or email to parents.

So let’s talk project ideas:

For Kindergarten, I read the book Leaf Man and had the kids design their own leaf man. They wrote one sentence to tell the direction their leaf will fly (north, south, east, or west) and what it will fly over (a house, school, field, bridge, or something similar). I then used the pizza box table-top green screen with green Starbucks straws to complete this project. I simply taped their leaf to the green straw and the kids took over, reading their sentence and making their leaf dance across the green screen. After I added a background video of a small creek, their leaves then danced above the creek!

First Graders read the book, The Great Kapok Tree. The kids chose an animal from the story, conducted research on PebbleGo and wrote one or two favorite facts. I printed small versions of their animals and used a table-top green screen (pizza box) and green Starbucks straws. Each child read their facts while moving their animal around using the green straw. I used the green screen app to add the kapok tree as the background.

Second graders created commercials for their economics unit, advertising a specific good or service. They worked together to write a script, and we used green screen technology to put them into an actual location.

Third graders became meteorologists. Each student chose a location in the world using this website. They researched the weather, wrote a script and became a meteorologist for the day. I recorded each child in front of the green screen and used the Do Ink app to add different backgrounds for each child. The kids loved watching each other report the weather in their actual places.

See some of these projects here.

Then let me know, in the Comments below, if and how you can deploy these techniques in your classroom.

Teresa Finegan is a K-5 librarian, passionate about technology, iPads, MakerSpaces and STEM. She loves learning through professional learning networks (Twitter) and events (Edcamps). She loves watching children think, create, set goals, and achieve. Follow her at @techteresa and @wtechies.