Go Green (screen) 💚🐟🍏

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I have to admit, I STRUGGLED with a title for this one.  It’s not very good, and I’m sure in your head you’re thinking of something different for a title as you read through it, but….the content, I promise, is worth it. For the past few weeks, I have been knee-deep in STEAM and Maker-Ed.  My pal and colleague, the wonderfully amazing Tori Cameron and I teamed up to bring our district a STEAM Cart.  Tori came up with this great idea and it has been amazing working together to bring more STEAM into classrooms! The cart has created a buzz; particularly with the mobile green screen as well as the robots.  It’s been great generating new ideas with Tori as well as other staff members of new ways we can bring technology and STEAM into the classroom.


Without the Green (FREE)

The STEAM cart has a mobile green screen, iPads, and the DoInk App. However, we have three buildings and only ONE me! Carrying one screen between buildings can be a challenge. So, we bought another to store at the Junior-Senior High School along with iPads and the DoInk App.  As I worked on the Nonfiction Science and ELA Book project with 8th grade this week, I came across the newest feature in Apple IOS –  iMovie which is on the iPads/iPhones has an option for GREEN (or Blue) Screen! In fact,  you don’t even NEED a green screen – just a blank space! This video shows it perfectly, and this is a great option for student video if you have students with iPhones (and no green screen) or you use iPads.

Using the Screen ($$)

If you do happen to have a green screen or low-cost alternative, there is quite a bit you can do in terms of editing and creativity.  To learn myself, I made a SUPER basic video (below). I used a green screen, iPad, and DoInk.  The advantage of using DoInk is having the ability to move the person (me) anywhere you want and also being able to resize myself among many other features.  The sky is really the limit with this (paid) app!

Green Screen Resources

Want to try this, but needs ideas?

  • Green Screen Gal aka Erika Sandstrom is the local GURU on Green Screening and all that you can do. She posts regularly to her YouTube Channel as well as Twitter with many different ideas and lessons!
  • Tori Cameron posts AMAZING student projects on Instagram from her STEAM lab using the green screen! She also has a GREAT episode on her podcast with Green Screen Gal that highlights so many amazing ideas!
  • DoInk posts great tutorials on how to use their app and interesting ideas of how to use it!
  • iPhone Green Screening is a free and easy option!
  • Build your own – if you WANT  to have a “green” area for filming so you can go further (and just have more space) check out this resource for many low-cost options.

Green screens are an exciting way to make learning visible, but also allow teachers to share student work with the public. Once your students are comfortable creating green screen works, consider having a movie showcase at your next family night or open house, where you project the videos onto a screen, or have them queued up on tablets around the classroom. Additionally, you can share entire portfolios of student works with parents by uploading the videos with an app like Seesaw. (Bonus — Seesaw also opens up another line of communication with parents!)

However you use them, green screens are a fun and easy way to engage students in creative learning. Now, let’s get filming.

Rebecca ReccoEdSurge

Have an idea for Green Screening and want to build it together? Reach out! I’d be happy to help or at least point you in the right direction!

Take Care Everyone!

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

What’s the PORPOISE of STEAM 🐬 🚂 🗃

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The Porpoise of STEAM

One of my favorite books is Steam Train, Dream Train by Sheri Duskey Rinker. She is also the same author of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, which like Goodnight Moon, I can recite by heart as it was a favorite at bedtime for many years. Naturally, when I hear the word STEAM, as in Science Technology Engineering Art/Action and Mathematics, my mind goes to Steam Train, Dream Train.  What a perfect acronym  – and what a wonderful picture in my mind.  Children, at an early age, are usually entranced by trains. Even now when the train goes by, and my children and I are stopped at the tracks, we turn down the radio, open the windows, and listen.  The train tracks also happen to run by the soccer fields in the town where I live. You can bet, that when that train comes by during Saturday Soccer, almost every child stops to watch!  This, of course, doesn’t bode well for the soccer game – and it gives our home teams quite the advantage during tournaments as they are accustomed to these loud trains coming by every hour or so. Like the STEAM train, STEAM concepts also entrance our students.  The art of DOING engages our students like no other practice.  Children enjoy trains because they’re loud, they have gears that come together to make something so large run and they like to figure out how and why it works. This same enjoyment applies to the classroom as well.

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If we look at the Cone of Learning, it’s easy to see that by DOING we retain the most knowledge and information.  My children, in addition to watching and listening to the train, also had a train set and would build tracks for the train to ride on for hours! What can we do in class to get this same retention? What can we DO, what can we BUILD, what can we ENGINEER?  Well, it’s easier than you think and I’m here to help! Let’s look below:

Digital Breakouts 🔐

Breakouts are a great way to have kids up and DOING! Collaboratively, they work together to breakout, unlock, and/or escape a scenario.  Stacy Linnehan reached out after having much success with ELA breakouts and asked for assistance creating one for math! I had the fortunate opportunity to create and present a breakout for 6th grade. Let me tell you, every child was 100% engaged and it was amazing to watch.  The kids were using technology and mathematics, they were talking and listening to each other. They had to work together to “break the code.” This activity took the exact same math problems they were going to do on paper and packaged them into a different format.  Kids were high fiving when they solved problems and it was awesome to see.  If you want to try the breakout, give it a shot by clicking here and see if you can escape! The forms are anonymous and not collecting emails.

 Let’s Build with Post-its! 🗒

Thank you, Beth Barra and your AWESOME knowledge of using Instagram as a teaching resource (like Twitter).  She shared this really cool lesson, from Post-it, creating Pixel Art with Post-it notes and using it to determine area and perimeter.  Students are BUILDING, and how much fun, right?  If you’d like to see tips from Post-it for this lesson, click here. There are so many STEAM concepts in this lesson!

Let’s Color and Bring our Creations to LIFE! 🖍

Oh. My. Goodness! This is SO COOL!  I can’t really explain it well enough in words, so there’s a two-minute video below. Basically, you color a page provided by the website Quivervision (click here).  There are MANY different pages that contain both fun and educational concepts. Then, you put the app, either on a phone, tablet or Chromebook that supports the Google Play Store, and VOILA! Your creation comes to life and you can INTERACT with it!  My video below shows an animal cell, but the free pack also contains math concepts, maps of the world, an exploding volcano and holiday pages.  I LOVE that this app is available for my own kids’ kindles too! You can download the coloring pages from the Quiver Site, or you can click here and print.  The volcano Eruption is REALLY COOL!

Need More Ideas? 💡

Take a look below at some great resources that popped up in our monthly MassCUE Twitter chat which focused on STEAM, hosted by the most amazing, and a finalist for STEM teacher of the year, TORI CAMERON!

Young Readers 📕

This STEAM site (click here), for early readers, is AMAZING! It has many books that relate to STEAM concepts, each with an experiment and a read aloud on the page! SO CUTE!

What to Make? 🏗

This is a GREAT site below my Mandi Figlioli and has SO MANY AMAZING ideas! Seriously, she is amazing.

What are you Making?


Our very own, Tori Cameron, was a finalist for STEM teacher of the year in Massachusetts! She hosts a monthly podcast that focuses on STEAM concepts.  Visit her site here, and take a listen for so many great ideas!

Wakelet Chat 🗣

Lastly, if you need even more – or are just looking to expand your PLN, click here for our latest MassCUE Twitter Chat.  You can review all of the great ideas and questions that teachers had regarding STEAM.

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So, what is the PORPOISE of STEAM? I believe it’s to ENGAGE and prepare today’s learner for our ever-changing world!  STEAM concepts are embedded into so much of what we do! Building, doing, engineering, acting – what will you try?  Let me know!

Take Care Everyone! 💙

oFISHally Yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟