Green Screen Magic

Keynote+iMovie=Green Screen Magic!

This week I set up rotational stations for my students to experiment with various green elements to use as green screen props. We experimented with green and blue food coloring in water, green play dough, green magnetic letters, green blocks, and green paper. I had each station set up for 4 people and when the bell rings, they switch to another station. The goal for this was to play with the features to see how they worked and then talk about ways we could use these tools in deepening our learning for different content areas.

The green screen is an integral part of the special effects process known formally as chromakey. … Chromakeying, also known as color keying, is the process of singling out one color in an electronic image and then using software (iMovie and iPad) to make that color transparent.

Here’s a video with a few examples (green marker, green food coloring, and green paper)

iMovie is the magical tool you need to achieve any green screen videos! The important part is making sure you have great lighting and no other random green objects in the movie frame itself. Also, no green clothing unless you want that to be intentional. Students will need to create a bottom layer (this is the layer that will show through the green) and then create a video layer on top. At the end of this post, I will also show you how to line up photos and videos by using Keynote to achieve the perfect balance and alignment.

How to achieve the human body effect:

Draw or find a free-to-use human body online. Save the picture to your Photos.

Capture video of a person holding a green piece of construction paper (make sure lighting is good) and have them slowly move the construction paper down the body and back up again.

Open Keynote and select a wide screen slide. (I prefer to use Split Screen so I can quickly drag images back and forth). Insert both the video and the photo on the same slide.

Change the opacity of the video and line up the photo so that the proportions of the body align. Once they align, you can delete the video.

Drag the slide thumbnail over to Photos app and now you have your bottom layer ready to go to align with your video!

Open iMovie

Add the photo as the bottom layer and disable Ken Burns.

Add the video and insert as a green/blue screen overlay.

Tap the green part of the video…your video should be in perfect alignment!

Happy creating! There’s so many ideas in bringing learning to life with green screens!

My Top 4 Updates to iWork for iPad


I am like a kid in a candy store reading about all of the new features just released by Apple to iWork for iPad. I couldn’t wait to share them with you so that you could get busy playing with the newest features and creating awesome content for your students when they return back to school. I am happy to share with you my Top 4 iWork updates.


1. Insert recorded audio to slides, documents, and spreadsheets:

You can now add recorded audio to slides, documents, and spreadsheets. This is a game changer…Keynote slides can become books, portfolios, and enhanced presentations with the added feature of audio. Think about how this would impact students being able to create full movies right in Keynote (especially with the new exporting features…scroll down to read more). Pages documents and books now have the added feature of recorded audio. Spreadsheets come to life even more with the addition of audio. Teachers can send out assignments with a recorded narration button to explain in greater depth what requirements are for an assignment. The possibilities of how this will impact our students are going to be amazing!


2. New shapes, advanced fills to shapes and drawings, and image galleries:

You can now add custom gradient fills as well as image fills to any shape. SCORE! There are even more shapes to add to the already large library of shapes. This allows students and teachers alike to create professional looking presentations, movies, posters, spreadsheets, documents, and other graphics. The addition of image galleries is a great feature for presentations and templates for students.


Fill options


Variety of ways to fill a shape. In this example, I put my two ADE buddies, Kelly and Wes, as the image fill with a color overlay.


Add an image gallery!!

3. Charts get a new look!

You can now change the look of your charts by rounding the corners…just a fun and contemporary update for columns and bars.


Change the look of bars and columns

4. My new ALL TIME favorite update: Exporting presentations in Keynote as movies or images!!

Long gone are the days where the only way you could save a slide in Keynote for iOS was to take a screen shot. Now, we can export slides as images or movies. This is a HUGE WIN for students, teachers, and other creatives! Students can create an entire book in Keynote complete with recorded audio and export as a movie. The possibilities for creativity and showcasing and sharing learning excites me so much! They can later import their movies into iMovie for sound effects, music, and other movie editing features. Being able to export Keynote slides in a variety of ways is going to change the ways students publish work.




With every update to iPad, my strong feelings supporting iPad in education increase. There’s nothing the iPad can’t do. Our students deserve to be able to interact with tools that give them a variety of options to showcase learning. The greatest part about these iWork updates: they are free! And as my great friend Jim says, “Free is in the budget.”

Have fun exploring these new updates and drop me a line to tell me how they are impacting what students are doing in your classroom!



Digital Skills Learning Badges


Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.14.00 PMHappy back to school! If you’re like me, I have loved the #AppleTeacher movement to encourage teachers to learn more about using Apple tools in the classroom! What I love about it is that teachers can learn new skills in utilizing the most powerful technology tools for learning and teaching all at their own time! I thought, why not make this same concept available for my students? I have created digital skills badges for all of the Apple applications I use in my classroom as well as other applications that we use frequently. Additionally, I created badges for skills such as Internet Safety and Keyboarding. Here’s what you need to know to create your own Digital Skills Badges!

  1. Think about what skills are most important for your students to master. You can create skills on just about anything and you can use my template or create your own. My template is broken down into skills using a variety of applications and included are both iPad and Mac versions.
  2. I created a website where students can take the skills quiz to earn their badge once they are finished with a final project within that application or learning component. For example, our first learning module is on Internet Safety. Once students have learned about Internet Safety, they will work in teams to create a project. Once their project is finished, they will take the quiz and upload their final project. I felt that taking a quiz wasn’t enough…I wanted to see the projects attached to the skill so that I could understand the creative process students went through to finish their badge.
  3. All of the apps I have listed involve creation. To me, it’s not about how well you know the tool, but what you can do with the tool AFTER you’ve learned the skill. (Can I get an AMEN???) 😜
  4. I put all of my quizzes in Google Forms so that I can view or grade them once they are turned into me, but you could easily use something such as Quizlet, Quizizz, Go Formative, Survey Monkey, Socrative, Padlet, Flip Grid, Answer Garden, or Wizer.
  5. Once students earn their badge, then, I will add their name to two different versions of “shout outs!” First one is I have a bulletin board outside my room where I have each badge and I will add student’s names as they earn their badge (coming soon!) The second one is a Padlet where I have each badge with student names as they earn them. Adults love to earn badges, so why not give kids this same experience!


I will post more resources and examples of student work once I kick this off with students, but I just couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

For more information on the Apple Teacher program:



Become an Apple Teacher


In September, Apple Education announced its Apple Teacher Program, a program aimed at helping educators unlock the magic and potential of Mac, iPad, and apps in the classroom. Teachers sign up and learn new skills, test their knowledge, and earn badges to be ultimately recognized by Apple as an official “Apple Teacher.”

The best part about this program is that it is self-paced and teachers can participate while in their pajamas at home! Teachers can decide if they want to focus their learning for the Mac or the iPad and choose the path that works best for them. Once teachers complete a module, they will be given a quiz. No pressure if you don’t get the questions correct, as you can test again. The purpose of the test is so that educators can truly get the most out of these modules and the tests force you to master the concepts rather than skimming through.




Once you earn a badge in each one of the categories and learn not only to use the app to get the best results, but you also learn how to infuse this into the classroom as a powerful teaching tool. Each module is full of ideas that relate to classroom content and help bring its use to life in meaningful ways teachers will appreciate. Click here to get started.


You will use your Apple ID to get started.

I am a huge supporter of this program.  Apple’s commitment to education is evident and I appreciate the way Apple continues to give teachers quality tools to enhance learning and teaching. My favorite tools as a creative professional will always Keynote and iMovie. I couldn’t live without those two apps and neither could my students. If you choose to accept the challenge of becoming an Apple Teacher, I promise you that you will learn something to take back to your classroom TOMORROW as a result and perhaps you will have a new favorite tool.


Since I am the instructional technology teacher and leader of the technology program, I am encouraging teachers at my school to join the program and earn their badges. I put together some fun rewards to recognize the commitment and time teachers put aside to further their learning in this area. We are an Apple school and we have access to all of these applications and tools, so I can’t think of a better way for teachers to learn on their own time, and I do think they should be recognized for their commitment!

  • Upon completion of the Apple Teacher program, teachers will earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.
  • Teachers will also receive a certificate showcasing their skills at this will be hung outside their classroom.
  • Teachers will receive a “shout out” on our school Facebook page to congratulate them on their extended professional learning.
  • Teachers will receive the official logo from Apple to use in their professional email signature.
  • Most importantly, teachers will gain knowledge in unlocking the  potential with these great productivity and creative apps that are already on their iPad and Mac. These are the native apps and most people don’t realize the potential in these applications and how they can be used as tremendous tools in the classroom.


The “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.



Wall of Fame photo and school Facebook page recognition.


I have seen other schools and teachers provide a variety of incentives for teachers to earn their badges and expand their professional learning. Here’s two examples:

Do you have another idea? Please share it! #AppleTeacher

Here’s the link for further information:
Here’s the link to get started:
Good luck and happy learning!

Parts of Speech iMovies

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.55.45 AMWhat a better way to demonstrate knowledge of a topic than by creating a video using iMovie! One of the great things about iMovie is the built-in trailers that kids can use to demonstrate or show their learning. I have kids create movie trailers to show their learning in all content areas and the result is always amazing. This time around, I had third graders showcase their knowledge of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I have included a few of my favorites below. One thing that is very important to note is that I never allow my students to just take off with the iPad and begin taking pictures and videos for their projects. They must always do a rough draft where they complete an outline as well as the built in storyboard in iMovie. Additionally, this is also where they can decide what type of shot (video or still photo) they will add to their movie. A great resource that I love to share with others was created by Tony Vincent. He has created planning PDFs, which include fillable or printable templates for students as they plan their iMovie trailers. I love this resource and I use it all of the time! Once students have planned their trailers, then they get right to work in editing the text and adding photos and videos.

Verbs Can Be Fun! from April Requard on Vimeo.


Verbs are Everywhere from April Requard on Vimeo.

Scary Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Dylan and Landon from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Ahmed and Shayan from April Requard on Vimeo.

All Sorts of Verbs by Parishi and Asha from April Requard on Vimeo.

Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Adjectives: Reese and Caitlin from April Requard on Vimeo.

100 Days of School with Technology

Days of School Activities with Tech

Are you looking for some fun ways to engage your students with the 100 Days of School by using Technology tools? Here are some fun ideas to get you excited about how you can use technology as a tool to create fun and engaging lessons and projects for students to interact with the number 100 (and all the numbers in between).

100 Gum Balls in Keynote I created this Keynote template that you can download here. You can use this on the Mac or iPad and have students practice inserting shapes using the circle tool. Students can format the circle by choosing a color. Next, they will practice using the copy/paste feature to re-create their circle. This is such an important skill for even the youngest of students. For a fun extension, students can animate the gum balls as the drop through the black slot! The gum ball machine is not clipart! It was created in Keynote with the “Draw with Pen” tool! Isn’t Keynote awesome!!!!

100 Gum Balls (


When I am 100 Years Old Using the app, Aging Booth, students can take a photo of themselves and see what they will look like when they are 100. From there, they can save their 100 year old photo to their camera roll and then use an app such as 30 Hands,  iMovie, or Explain Everything to tell a story about what they will have accomplished when they are 100 years old. For this example below, I had students create their photo and then Air Drop it to my iPad. From there, we created one large class recording in 30 Hands where students talked about what they would have accomplished with they are 100.

Personalize a 100 dollar bill with student’s photos. Click here to create 100 dollar bills. Once students save their image, they can drag it into a word processing app, such as Pages, and write about what they would do if they were president and had a 100 bill with their photo on it.



Typing and Formatting a Document Practice:

Type out a bulleted list of

  • 100 Animals
  • 100 Things that Make You Happy
  • 100 Favorite Things to do for Fun

Web Activities (whole group on Smart Board or individual)

Give the Dog the Bone

100 Balloon Pop

Splat Square

Ghost Blasters

Number Grid Fireworks

100 Snowballs

Before 100 and After



Sharing My One Best Thing Published Book!

Express Yourself: The Art of Me by April Requard

Express Yourself: The Art of Me by April Requard

I’m so happy, thrilled, and humbled to share my book, which you can download to your Mac or iPad and it is only available on iBooks. If you have the iBooks app installed on your iPad or Mac, then you’re good to go! My book highlights a lesson from start to finish with multiple applications and components. It’s a great lesson on self-discovery and it really makes you think about how you can take an older or “outdated” concept and make it new again with technology! The creations the students make when they are finished are worthy of framing because they really turn out to be that cool! To learn more, please download a copy of my book and let me know what you think!

Additionally, you need to check out a whole collection of Apple Distinguished Educators’ One Best Thing. The ideas, lessons, and concepts shared are truly amazing and provide such an authentic learning opportunity for all of us educators! It’s amazing to see Apple’s commitment to furthering the opportunities of educators, therefore enriching our student’s lives.

Check it out here:



iMovie Book Trailer Projects


Using the movie trailer feature in iMovie on the iPad or Mac is a great way for your students to showcase their knowledge of a book they’ve read. Students choose a theme that compliments the genre of the book, insert appropriate text into the pre-made storyboard, and customize text and photos. I had my students use Royalty Free and Copyright Free images, create their own using drawing programs from the iPad (Drawing Pad, Draw Free, Doodle Buddy) and the Mac (Kid Pix), or take pictures with the built-in cameras on the device. Students used Stickies on their desktops to keep track of their sources so they could give credit to the images used. One tip for the Mac version of iMovie: If you aren’t using video, but using more pictures (as we did because of time) you need to convert your trailer to a project once you have the storyboard finished. To do this, go to File>Convert to Project and you will see that your trailer has now become a regular iMovie project. From there, you can insert or replace pictures and change the text. Here is the rubric I used with my fifth grade classes. Book Trailer Rubric 

Here are the CCSS standards addressed with this project:

  • NETS.2. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital media.
  • NETS.1 Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • NETS.5.Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
  • SL.5.2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • W.5.6. With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • SL.5.5. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

Finally, a fun way to showcase their work is to create a ‘Readbox’ wall display, which has QR codes that link the book to the student-created video. (Saw this fun idea on Pinterest)

Readbox display to showcase student book trailers

Readbox display to showcase student book trailers

Here are a few examples from my 5th graders! Enjoy!

The Secret of Laurel Oaks Book Trailer: Cole from April Requard on Vimeo.

Out of my Mind Book Trailer: Bella from April Requard on Vimeo.

Million Dollar Throw Book Trailer: Case from April Requard on Vimeo.

Cupcake Diaries Book Trailer: Taylor from April Requard on Vimeo.

Digital Citizenship/Internet Safety 5th Grade PSA iMovie Projects

photo 2

At my school, Digital Citizenship is just as important as any other subject. I spend a great deal of time talking about this with my students. One of the ways they show their learning at the end of our unit of study is by creating videos in iMovie. Students worked with a partner on this project and each team had a different topic to showcase in the area of Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety. I structured these as more of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) so the students could take on more of a leadership role by teaching other kids the seriousness of each topic.

Websites for research:


Digital Etiquette

Digital Passport

All About Cyber-Safety

Kids Smart

Website Evaluation

Copyright Kids

Safe Kids

Stop Cyber-bullying

Kids Safety Tips

Guide to Copyright and Creative Commons

Common Sense Media

10 Great Tips

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Here are a few of the final results: