Saturday, January 13, 2018

Green Screen in the Elementary Spanish Classroom

Last year on career day a guy came from KET, our local PBS station, and did a presentation on green screen. As we were cleaning up from career day I noticed that there were a bunch of green plastic table cloths.  Instead of putting them in the trash I gathered them up and put them in a drawer with the hope of finding a use for them later. And then this fall during our weather unit in 1st grade I decided to give green screen a try!

Here are six tips to get you started...

1. Download the Do Ink Green Screen app for ipad or iphone. I have a teacher ipad but it's a huge pain to get the school to buy apps for it so I signed in with my personal itunes account and bought it myself. At $2.99 it was totally worth it! There is another version that costs more and has more capabilities like drawing and animation but if you just want green screen, stick with the cheaper version.

2. Get a green sheet from Goodwill or green plastic table cloths from Wal-Mart. Or steal  re-purpose them from an event like career day like I did. ;-) Set it up in your classroom, preferably somewhere that you won't have your back to the room. This was not the case for me this year but I had my student teacher taking the videos while I kept an eye on the rest of the class. Next year if I'm alone I will set it up so I can do the video AND still have eyes on everyone. My first graders are usually pretty good but they're also not angels.

3. Model for students how to make a video. We chose a few students one class who chose which weather they wanted and then made a video that I projected onto the SMART board using my air server. The kids got a BIG kick out of watching their classmates and it made them super excited to make their own while at the same time showing them the format and expectations. 

Model how to do the video with the whole group before having students make individual videos

4. Set up an area where students can practice. I did this by putting two velcro squares on my cabinet, putting a pretend microphone, and weather and day cards in a basket. Students took turns being the weather reporter while the other kids sat on the bean bag chair and watched the "TV."

Students practice before doing their green screen video
Students practice before doing their green screen video

5. Give the other students something to do. The first time we had students spelling the weather words with magnetic letters and the second time through we gave them pencils, crayons, and weather forecast worksheets to let them get some presentational writing practice in while they waited. It's crucial that there is something for students to do while they wait their turn to make their video. Antsy and impatient students are the ones who misbehave.

6. Decide what you will do with the finished videos. A hundred videos was too much for me to look at and edit (and also somehow the first time they didn't save) so we let the students watch their videos immediately after making them and that was that. No worries about trying to make them nice or having enough storage space. We did two rotations so students got to make two videos. If you  have fewer students then you could have them edit them in computer class or just make them into QR codes and display them for parents to view. 

Other notes:  If you have a class set of ipads and/or older students it wouldn't be necessary to have stations. You could model how to make the videos and then let students make and edit their own. I only have the one ipad but I think it worked to have students doing other things at different stations. I don't often do centers or stations but this format was one of the first time it really worked for me. Partly because students knew if they were off task or misbehaving at one of the other centers they would not get to make a video so that was enough for them to stay on task. 

My first graders had such a great time making their videos and I can't wait to come up with more ideas on how to use green screen in my classroom. Do you use green screen? What do you have your students do? What classroom management strategies do you use when you are making green screen videos? Share in the comments below!

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