Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Superhero Themed Night Idea - Green Screen

One of our schools is having a superhero themed curriculum night and in one station (in the media center) students can wear capes and masks and will have a picture taken in front of a green screen superhero background.





I used the green screen app Doink ($2.99) on my iPad to take the sample shots pictured here. I have used the app before and I am very familiar with it (I like that it has both a video and photo option and three layers to add overlays). The media center had a green screen wall but the color didn't extend to the floor and we needed the feet showing in most of the backgrounds. We set up a table with a green screen cloth and had a step stool and someone helping students up and down.


We do have one school that painted the baseboard green and added green turf to the floor to solve their problem. 


When we were setting up the project I started looking for ideas online when I came across this blog and really liked how she used editing tools to create effects...editing tools I didn't have on my iPad. I did some research and found two free apps that worked for me. The first was PicsArt and that let me add some blur effects and lens flare. The second is called Damage Booth and that let me add fire ball and laser effects (I tried it on the two teacher pictures below).



The plan is to upload the pictures to an album on the schools Facebook page so parents can see or download if they want.

We are going to keep it simple. Students will get to choose between one of four backgrounds/costumes. The school is small (two classrooms per grade) so we think it will be manageable. A larger school might require two green screen set ups.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Digital Vision Boards for the New Year



I was in a classroom today and the students were brainstorming goals for the New Year. Later I was randomly emailed a post about students creating digital vision boards using Google Slides...or Google Drawings (which I thought was pretty cool).

The picture above is the vision board I created as a demo (I used Google Slides). I added the two add-ons Kasey Bell suggested in her article but I didn't use them so I think you can ignore those. I just used "insert" "image" "search the web".

Typically vision boards are made by cutting out pictures and words from magazines, and I have done quite a few in my lifetime. I have to say I really liked the digital version (less mess and having to solicit a bunch of magazines from co-workers!).

The article does give some good tips and tricks for how to introduce the activity as well as completing and sharing.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Websites to PDF's (Chrome Extension)

One of my favorite sites to use with students is duckster.com. It is a great site that has lots of student friendly articles (I use it mostly for the history articles). It is a free site, and as such, has a lot of distracting ads and sidebar information making it easy for students to click out of the intended article.


In order to keep students focused on the information I need them to be I use a Google Chrome extension called Print Friendly & PDF.

The extension allows you to make a downloadable PDF of the website and delete any extraneous information you don't want. This way the PDF can be shared with students via Google Classroom without sending them to a website, or it can be printed for their Social Studies or Science notebooks. It also works great if you need the information for a lesson but the website is blocked for students.

To add the extension simply follow the steps below:



To use the extension:





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Secret Santa Goes High Tech



I just noticed some schools are preparing to start their staff Secret Santa. Last year our supervisor organized our departments Secret Santa using https://www.elfster.com/.

It was a nice technology twist on something that typically is done, in a very confusing manner, by paper and pencil.

The site is free to use and participants sign up, if they are participating, and they can add what they like as far as drinks, snacks, etc. to help out the person they get paired with. The system then randomly pairs people up so you don't have to do it. It is pretty cool and something you might want to pass on to whoever handles your school's Secret Santa sign up.

My supervisor has a large extended family and she uses it with them as well. It is very easy to use and would save your organizer man hours as well as help keep the copies down at your school.

Have a great holiday season everyone!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Parent/Teacher Conference Scheduling



If you are looking for a techie way to schedule parent/teacher conferences, instead of sending home slips of paper asking parents to choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, try using the free site https://calendly.com/

The site (which I only use for this purpose) lets you adjust your time in whatever increments you want, as soon as parent books a spot they get an email confirmation, and then the time slot disappears so other parents can't see it. 

I made a 6 minute video (above and linked HERE) walking you through how to set up an account, create a parent/teacher calendar, what the parent sees and what you see when your times start booking up. 

I shared this with our teachers but I thought it might help others as well. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Morning News Shows and How To Create Video Overlays with a Windows Device




This week I have been working with several schools as they start putting together their morning news program for the school year.

Almost exclusively schools are using Touchcast to produce their morning show. It is super cool free software with lots of templates and green screen capability (plus so much more...really I need to apply to become an ambassador!). The only downfall is that it is an app and software only for Apple devices (most schools have bought an iPad to record their shows...it is that good!).

We have one school that just started their morning show and the person in charge (Mr. Blaine Peltier at Robert Smalls International Academy)  has done an OUTSTANDING job. I went in to see how he is doing some of his graphics and learned he has been doing them on his personal Mac at home (which, sadly, I do not have).

My favorite effect on his video is the Pledge of Allegiance where he has a two video overlays with words scrolling on the screen.

I was determined to figure out a Windows based version of it and succeeded (3 hours later!). The video above will walk you through the steps if you are interested in something similar.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Activity Book and Badge



The Planetary Society has partnered with the U.S. National Park Service to create an Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer activity book.

You can download the PDF for free of the book. It is pretty colorful so you may want to print it in black and white.

If you have classes tomorrow (Monday, August 21st) you might want to consider that as an activity for the day. Parents can then take their child to the nearest National Park to get their badge for completing the activities in the book.

Definitely call ahead though to make sure they have badges. The program is only offered at NATIONAL parks not STATE ones (I called our State Park without thinking but they pointed me in the right direction).

Happy Eclipse!