Green Screen in the Classroom: Getting Started

Green Screen can be used in any classroom. All you need is a few simple things to get started.
I have been using Green Screen in the elementary classroom with my students for the past 6 years or more. When I first used green screen in my classroom I used the program iMovie on the computer. I had to do most of the work putting it together and now my students use iPads and they can do everything themselves.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about getting started using Green Screen on iPads in the classroom.

Here are the 4 THINGS YOU WILL NEED to get ready.

1. An App that Creates Green Screen Projects
To get started you will need an app to create your Green Screen project. We use the app Green Screen by Doink It is the easiest app for elementary students that I have found and is well worth the $2.99. I have tried other more complicated apps that are also paid and this one is by far simple enough for even lower elementary students. (I don't receive any compensation from Doink for this post. I just absolutely love their app.)

2. A Green Background
A green background can be created out of anything from a large piece of green fabric to a small piece of cardboard painted green.  To start out in my classroom I bought an actual green screen cloth that was 19.99. (This is pictured in the bottom left draped over a table and stool.) It is great to hang up behind students to film 2 or 3 at a time. I hang it from out magnetic whiteboard with strong magnets. I bought mine at a local ACE Hardware store but they are similar to the link posted. I don't hook the cloth on them I just place the magnets on top of the cloth so they hold up the fabric on the whiteboard. We have used this green cloth for many years and it has held up really well and is still like new. Some people use large pieces of felt fabric from fabric stores because it doesn't wrinkle as much. Green bulletin board paper is another thing that can be used. Green plastic table cloths work well and are a very inexpensive option.  I also like to use green tri-fold science boards because they are easy to store since they fold up flat. (shown in top right corner) I also painted pizza boxes that were donated by Pizza Hut and they work well for filming smaller objects. The paint I used is called Luscious Green by Clark and Kensington. There are other colors that work well too. I took my phone to the paint store and tried out the app on the paint strips to find a color to use. You can even use green playdough. Get creative and look around for things you already have that are green. Actually with the Doink App you can use any color as your background color but I have found that the colors green and blue are the best colors to use.

3. An Idea
This is probably the most important part of your project. What do you want to make for your green screen project? Do you want to have a little puppet show, explain a math problem, travel to a place around the world, or recite a poem.  The ideas are endless. When you are thinking of your ideas you will want to think of what you will have for your background photo or video. Check out the video of students reciting a poem about books and they just use a photo of books for the background. Here is another simple project of students explaining a math problem and they used a picture with numbers in the background. Math Problem Explanation Green Screen, (number photo credit) A great place to get pictures to use in your projects is Photos for Class  or Picts 4 Learning. Another way to get background video or photos is to film or take your own. In this video about Force students filmed their own video footage for the background and then told the information they learned about force in the layer on top of it.

4. Stand or Tripod (optional)
Once you have the first 2 things things you are ready to create your own production. I highly recommend getting some type of tripod or stand. My favorite tripod mount to hold our iPads is the Grifti Nootle and any tripod works well with them. We use these 50 inch pro tripods because they are inexpensive. I bought 3 sets because we usually make films with the whole class at once divided into groups. One stand and tripod would definitely be all you would need for a classroom. A stand is not necessary as you can see in the bottom right it is just a child holding the iPad. It is super hard to get it still for filming but can be done until you can afford to get stands. (The sample math problem video  that I talked about earlier is filmed by a student holding the iPad so you can see how it moves around a little.) Also the top right photo shows the first holder (white) I got for iPads. I don't like it near as much as the Nootle one and it cost me more. We have also used iPad stands from the store Five Below and set them on a table of floor. They work well for filming smaller objects.

I hope you have everything you need to get started using iPads and I will share how to make your first Green Screen Project in my next blog post.

*This post contains some affiliate amazon links to products.

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