Sunday, May 31, 2015

Let's Take a Trip . . . with the Green Screen by Do Ink App!

A spring professional development session on the Green Screen by Do Ink app got the wheels turning in 6th grade teacher Carol Adams' head. She decided to use green screening during a social studies research project on Canada. Students worked in pairs or small groups to research a Canadian tourist attraction. Next they wrote scripts posing as tour guides and tourists and prepared cue cards. (Most students, however, memorized their lines.) They saved background pictures of their tourist attractions and were finally ready to film!

Meanwhile, Brandi Fisher discussed this project with Carol and decided to modify it for her fourth graders. Those students researched attractions in the Midwest.

These projects were our first using the video capabilities of this green screen app. We had only experimented with photographs previously.  Our green screen consisted of paper that we taped to the wall from the art roll. We found that some background pictures green screened better than others. Some students had to share hoodies when we noticed that we could see the background images through their shirts! Green and blue shirts seemed to cause the most problems, although it varied depending on the background images chosen.

We also had to play with lighting, sometimes pulling the shade on the large window to the left of our green paper and sometimes raising it again. We also experimented with the overhead fluorescent lighting but in general found that low light gave us better quality video than too much light! That went against everything I had read about best practices for green screening.

Our biggest challenge was capturing quality audio on the iPad. Even when students spoke very loudly, the audio wasn't great. I need to find a microphone that will work well with the iPad.

And how did these teachers justify taking time for a "fun" project in the days of Common Core Standards? Here are just a few of the PA Core Standards for English/Language Arts that these activities addressed:
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.
  • Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a subject.
  • Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly with adequate volume, appropriate pacing, and clear pronunciation.
  • Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
Need I go on?

Enjoy this 6th grade video:
 And I love the expressions on the faces of these fourth graders!
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