At a recent meeting, several librarians discussed literacy initiatives. In the past, we have promoted the read, write (or draw depending on age) and submit for small prize, credit, classroom reward etc. The response has been disappointing and the amount of effort and paper to promote is tremendous.
In reviewing the items left from previous librarian, I noticed a green screen! Cool, right? I asked my IT about training and appropriate software. I will now condense the results of numerous conversations and emails that transpired over several months. Needed an iPad for software but there were no extras. Borrowed one from teacher who no longer remembered the password and lost the cable. Resolved those issues but then software cost money and I needed different password to make purchase. Initially, I wanted to make videos of morning announcements with fun backdrops. After three months of figuring out passwords, administrative rights etc, etc, I gave up.
I have always loved to play with my photos. I made Christmas place mats with my children’s heads on top of snowmen, placed my pony riding daughter on top of a zebra. I ordered doubles of every picture because I knew I would be cutting up every single picture. Following this line of pictorial insanity, I came upon with the idea of rewarding students who earned the most points in the school’s reading program. I wanted to offer a really cool reward for my students. I wanted to make reading cool. The result was,
“Get into a good book!”
Students chose their favorite book in the library and I allowed them to preview before I made a poster for them. Not wanting to pay for a new editing software or getting around administrative rights to downloading, I found Microsoft Office allowed me enough flexibility to edit and match the photograph to the book cover. (See 17 USC 107 ).
Using a green screen, I had the student pose in the same position as the character in the book cover. I usually took several photographs in slightly different positions. The green screen enables the editor to remove the background easily with one click. Copy the book cover and student image into Word. Once you click on the picture, Format appears on the toolbar. Crop and resize. Last step is to play with artistic effects and color saturation.
Student response has been terrific. Many promised to read more in hopes of earning enough points to merit a poster. Several just kept asking me how I did it, so I demonstrated the process. I will be curious to compare last year’ s reading program statistics to this year’s.
Additional lesson learned: the newest tech is cool but sometimes you have to be resourceful and use what you have in a new way!