Green Screening: Swimming with the Sharks

Have you ever wondered how to use green screening with your students? With green screen digital storytelling, students have the ability to plan, create, and perform in front of a “green” backdrop (i.e., green tablecloth, green shower curtain). Students can then use free video editing software to slide themselves on screen with video footage and/or still images from Discovery Education STREAMING. Songs and sound effects from Discovery Education STREAMING can be included, too!

Students can:

  • invent historical scenarios and slide on screen with the historical figure.
  • report on a breaking news story in front of the White House.
  • share research findings on the tropical rainforest from the middle of the tropical rainforest.
  • report live from a shark tank.
    ….and the list goes on!

No matter what subject area or grade level you teach, green screening is a way for students to articulate their understanding in a relevant and engaging way. With editable content from Discovery Education STREAMING, you can transform your students into both the learner and the teacher by providing student access to Discovery Education STREAMING and challenging them to construct their own learning experiences.

When green screening with your students, here are some tips for finding content within Discovery Education STREAMING:

  • When using video, audio and images from Discovery Education STREAMING, be sure to cite your sources. Every digital asset has a citations tab with citations available in three formats; APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style.

  • If you want to green screen using video content, you will need “editable content.”  One way to determine if content is editable is to select a video segment, and look in the bottom left-hand corner.  If it says “EDIT,” you will be able to green screen using that video footage.

Other ways to find editable content:

  • Do an advanced search exclusively for editable titles.

  • Do a keyword search, and then narrow your results by video detail (editable).

    Yesterday, I worked with a group of educators from the Philadelphia area. One of the strategies we explored in our workshop was how to green screen using Jaycut, a free web-based platform that has an easy-to-use chroma key feature.

    The example shared below shows what happens when educators go swimming with the sharks. A special thanks to our fearless actresses, Judy Dunn and Terri Woodruff, who were so eager to swim with the sharks.


    Discovery Education. (1998).
    The Ultimate Guide: Sharks [Full Video]. Available from

    Sound Ideas. (2011).
    Water: Ocean : Waves Crashing On Rocks Heavy Spray Surf Seashore Ambience [Sound Effect]. Available from

    To learn more about Green Screening, I invite you to explore this website created by two DEN STARs and DEN Leadership Council members from Pennsylvania, Mark Perlman and Kim Adair.


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    2. Sara said:

      How do I use Jaycut? I’d like to try this method but Jaycut won’t let me create an account.

      • Porter Palmer said:

        Hi Sara, We received word yesterday that Jaycut had been acquired by RIM. It looks like for now new account creation has been disabled.

    3. Sara said:

      Thanks, but it’s disappointing. I’ve heard a lot about Jaycut this summer and wanted to give it a try before the school year started. I guess I’ll just have to keep checking back.

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