How Green Screen Technology Enhanced my School Counseling Lessons

By Betsy O’Neill-Sheehan

A daily objective as a K-2 school counselor is to teach my students how to control and organize their thoughts. For many, the traditional methods of drawing, graphic organizers, workbooks, and discussions are helpful. For some, I struggle to get them invested in learning about their thoughts and their relation to their feelings and behaviors. How can I make the intangible tangible?

I am fortunate to work in a school system that embraces the evolution of education. There are a tribe of teachers and administrators who promote advancing with current trends. I decided to step out of my own comfort zone to see how I could incorporate new technology into current practice. After toying with a green screen APP (Green Screen by Do Ink) with my sons, I saw how excited and focused they became to create and watch their videos.

That excitement! I needed to give that to my students. Here was a tool that I could use to create a video social story of how they control their thoughts. This high interest activity has motivated my students who are the hardest to engage. Here is an example of how to use green screen as a school counselor:

  1. Consent: Written consent from guardians is required for students to participate in video/media projects in my school as a protection of student confidentiality. Projects are only shared with the consent of the student and guardian.
  2. Show the student(s) the green screen technology. They often get excited just from the idea of images being transplanted to anything green.
  3. Create: I have used the technology in groups and with individuals. It helps to map out what will be shown in the pictures/videos. With a group I have for worry control, I have the students start with drawing their worry creature (check out Lynn Lyons – Anxious Kids, Anxious Familie). They help create all of the pieces: the story map of what happens when they feel worry, how they get in control of the thoughts and the different strategies for calming and control.
  4. Use the Green Screen: The students are positioned with the green screen behind them. (You can use a green tablecloth. I sometimes make large green shapes, such as thought bubbles or hearts, made of green poster board.) Using a green screen app, I project the student’s image behind them as they narrate what their worry thoughts sound like. You don’t have to create the entire script and supporting artwork before you get started with the green screen. To keep the students motivated with the project, you can film one segment at a time so they see how it comes together.
  5. Piece Together your Clips: using your favorite video editing program. Your students will love to share with their families and watch themselves over and over again (reinforcing and internalizing the concepts and strategies.)

Remember: you don’t have to create Spielburg grade material for your students to appreciate and learn from their videos!


Anxious kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous & independent Children, Robert Wilson-Lynn Lyons – Health Communications, Inc. – 2013

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