App smashing and Reading Rainbow-inspired book reviews

Emily Tsay for Schools, Schools (K-12)

Meet Mandi Presley! Mandi is a first-grade teacher and tech trainer at Duncan Elementary School in Duncan, South Carolina. This is her 14th year in the classroom.

To work on the English Language Arts unit on curiosity, her first-grade students created their first WeVideo creation: video book reviews! She loves incorporating technology in the classroom because of the excitement it brings and the way it gives students the capability to discover the world and share their learning in creative ways.

Last week, my first grade students created Book Review videos using the Chroma Key Green Screen feature in WeVideo. This project was our first one using WeVideo.

Our learning objective

We were working on the performance task for our ELA unit on Curiosity. During the unit, we read many books and practiced the skills of summarizing, giving our opinions supported by reasons, and using questions to hook readers.

Why we chose video as the format

The students were able to choose how they presented their book review. Because we had watched a few Reading Rainbow examples to get them acquainted with the concept of a book review, they decided they wanted to make one just like those examples. I recently attended a tech training where I first learned of WeVideo. The Chroma Key feature was demonstrated, so I knew it would be the best choice to accomplish our goals.

Capturing the story + our filming process

My students had been keeping a journal of their favorite books. For this project, they chose one of their favorites to present to the class. They wrote their book reviews out as a script, then recorded it on the Teleprompter app (Teleprompter Lite, free on iTunes) on their iPads.

When it came time to record, I turned my Promethean board into a green screen by adding a green box.

Students were trained to serve as videographers, photographers (to capture images of the books), directors, Teleprompter assistants and volume control. Each time a new student was ready to take on a new position, the current student trained the next. They did amazing and took their jobs very seriously!

Our editing process

After we completed the recording process, I demonstrated the Chroma Key process in WeVideo and then walked them through editing their own videos on the Promethean Board.  Though I was there to support them, several students “just got it”. WeVideo is easy for students to work with and there’s nothing they can break.

Enjoying the fruits of our work

Each time we inserted their book image behind their photo the students “Oooohed” and “Ahhhed.”  After all the videos were edited and exported to Google Drive, we invited the parents in for a viewing party. They were blown away at the capabilities of their children!

Check out one of the book reviews here.

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