Travel Back in Time Using Do Ink

As many reading this blog may know, elementary school teachers are expected to be a “jack of all trades.”  We not only need to focus on classroom management and communication with parents, but also need to be experts in Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and more!  This can be overwhelming, especially when you are faced with a new curriculum. A few years ago, I changed from teaching Science to Social Studies. At first, it was a struggle. Even though I had been teaching for almost 9 years, I felt like a square peg in a round hole.  My teammates, who had been teaching this subject for many years, were very helpful in giving me ideas, activities, packet pages, etc., but I just never felt comfortable because I needed to spend time making this subject “mine.”  

I started with something that I knew well, which is what I always recommend! A few years prior, I had used the Green Screen app “Do Ink” to have my students create a travel commercial about a Biome in Science class.  I was comfortable with this app and knew that I could figure out a way to apply it to Social Studies. I wondered what it might be like if I used a similar concept but applied this to the 13 Colonies. I had the students choose a colony and then they used many websites that I had vetted to complete their research. I actually started with the research template that I had used for the Biome Project in Science and tweaked it for what I needed for this project in Social Studies.  I had the students complete their research, use the research template to have them write out a script of what they wanted to say during their 2-3 minute commercial, and then type their script into the app Apple Pages. If you aren’t aware, Apple Pages can actually be used as a teleprompter when you type into a blank document! (Shout out to fellow PAECT member and my technology integrator Chuck Samek for this tip!) Following this, the students took a few class periods to practice with their teleprompter while I set up stations with screen screens around the school.  A few years ago, my team purchased these green screens from Amazon which I highly recommend.  They are big enough to cover any area and easy to put up! Once the students felt comfortable with their script, they found a filming partner and headed off to film their commercials about their colony.  

I started with something that I knew well, which is what I always recommend! A few years prior, I had used the Green Screen app “Do Ink” to have my students create a travel commercial about a Biome in Science class.  I was comfortable with this app and knew that I could figure out a way to apply it to Social Studies. I wondered what it might be like if I used a similar concept but applied this to the 13 Colonies. I had the students choose a colony and then they used many websites that I had vetted to complete their research. I actually started with the research template that I had used for the Biome Project in Science and tweaked it for what I needed for this project in Social Studies.  I had the students complete their research, use the research template to have them write out a script of what they wanted to say during their 2-3 minute commercial, and then type their script into the app Apple Pages. If you aren’t aware, Apple Pages can actually be used as a teleprompter when you type into a blank document! (Shout out to fellow PAECT member and my technology integrator Chuck Samek for this tip!) Following this, the students took a few class periods to practice with their teleprompter while I set up stations with screen screens around the school.  A few years ago, my team purchased these green screens from Amazon which I highly recommend.  They are big enough to cover any area and easy to put up! Once the students felt comfortable with their script, they found a filming partner and headed off to film their commercials about their colony.  

The end result was better than I imagined.  Isn’t that always the case with kids? You create a lesson and have an idea of how YOU think it should turn out.  Then they take that idea, run with it, and come back and just blow your socks off with their creativity. Throughout the editing process, I had students not only asking me about how to make pictures pop up during their video, but some wanted to add music and sound effects.  Because there were 27 students, they were forced to really figure these things out on their own and help one another. They did, and the result was amazing. I even had one student who started his video by zooming into his colony using Google Earth! In order for everyone to be able to see the hard work, we uploaded our videos to Seesaw and then spent time watching and commenting on each video.  The kids loved seeing what others had done, and it sparked conversations about how they did something within their video. By giving them minimal parameters, and then allowing them the freedom to be creative, the students learned so much more than simply memorizing facts about the 13 Colonies for a test.


Link to Template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yWFZsZxa5SrsShLW3–h94imIr8iNYXsbfiUrtmSn0g/edit?usp=sharing

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