I love this time of year at school. There’s a great atmosphere with festive cheer glowing brightly from every classroom. I like the rehearsals of festive tunes and watching Christmas films and adverts with my class. Plus, we are lucky to have a whole school panto trip into Newcastle which is always a highlight. I’m also safe in the knowledge that I have a tried and tested Christmas card and calendar to send home each year, which is simple but effective. Add a sparkle of glitter to the lights and everyone is happy. Well me anyway (god bless you Pinterest. Helping untalented blokes like me paper over their artistic cracks).
Until these words spread fear and panic into my heart one Friday… “Mr Tullock, my mam loves putting the tree up. We get the card out we made with you every year, you know the lights one? She loves it!”. Beads of sweat formed on my brow. My mouth felt dry, hands clammy. I’d somehow totally forgotten that I’d taught my class before in Year 3, and exhausted all my fool proof cards, crafts and gifts! What was I going to do? The new art order would never arrive on time, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to come up with a suitable, easy alternative. There was only one thing to do: rely on what I know. We quickly set to work straight after a morning (today) packed full of Christmas concert rehearsals (and helping Year 3 use a combination of Explain Everything and Spark Video to bring their ‘Kevin the Carrot’ innovation poems to life!). It was to be an AR Christmas card, the day was saved (or so I hope, fingers crossed the parents like them). So this is what we needed:
- MRRMRR app
- DoInk Green Screen
- An armchair
- The caretakers Santa outfit (he deserves an Oscar for his portrayal at the EYFS and KS1 Christmas parties)
- Elf Yourself
- An easy crafty Christmas card which could be personalised by name or colour.
I explained the concept to the kids. “Wouldn’t it be great if when your Mum/Dad/Grandparents etc scanned their phone over your card it gave them a personalised message?” They were excited. I’d won the first battle. So we set off to work.
Luckily, when the news wreaked havoc in my Christmas world, I turned to the elite of Twitter for advice on my AR Christmas card. I was looking for something along the lines of MSQRD. @elearning_laura recommended Elf Youself, @ICTEvangelist recommended Santa Spy Cam and @ICT_MrP recommended MRRMRR. It turns out MRRMRR was exactly what I was after. I’d never heard of it, thanks Lee! I decided that Elf Yourself was also far too good to waste (thanks Laura, I’d forgotten all about it!) and so that was to be used on the insert. I love Santa Spy Cam too and so I used that for a bit of fun with my class.
Last year I made a green screen in my year 3 class to make this video.
It was fantastic, but small and difficult to film groups, so our caretaker kindly painted a wall green where we can film groups. To make it more Christmassy, we’d combine the two together. My armchair from my class was dragged to the wall, and the kids donned the Santa cloak.
We recorded a short message using the Santa Claus feature and the trusty cloak.
We then dropped the saved video into Doink Green Screen and added a cosy Christmas fireplace background. Next step was to make it slightly more festive so the saved clip from Doink was imported into iMovie to add some atmospheric music. I turned to my favourite Christmas album (Sufjan Stevens, Hark:Songs for Christmas) to add the instrumental of Jingle Bells, added some titles with a Merry Christmas message and they are ready to be linked to Aurasma. If you’ve not used Aurasma have a go, it’s fantastic for bringing images and displays to life. All it needs is a trigger image that when recognised begins the video. This will be their unique card they finish tomorrow, which will play something like this.
It looks harder than it actually is. A class of 30 took 40 mins to record and 30 minutes at home adding the soundtrack and titles. Hopefully the parents will like it, I’ll let you know!