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Commercial Jingle Project Using a Green Screen

The Commercial Jingle Project started as a Quaver lesson, but it morphed into an incredible collaborative adventure that will forever change the way I teach music.

Commercial Jingle Project Using a Green Screen

QuaverThe 5th grade commercial jingle project in the Quaver Curriculum was such a fun learning adventure for my 4th graders this spring. It started out simple, but as you will see, it grew in complexity. Instead of creating a jingle for a randomly imagined product, I gave my 4th graders the task of coming up with a product – either real or made up – connected to a state or region of the United States. My goal was to connect music to their year-long curricular geography study. Little did I know how this simple project would open our eyes to collaborative learning like never before. The inspiration came from several sources.

Inspiration Everywhere

One of the glorious benefits of presenting around the country is meeting innovative music educators who inspire me to dream, who ignite a passion for deeper learning, and who have the uncanny ability to make the complex look simple.

Commercial Jingle project using a green screenAmy Burns, a dear friend and one of the most innovative music educators I know, inspires me in every way, but especially with her cross-curricular projects. It’s fun to dream and bounce off ideas with Amy, but what I love about her is how she challenges me, by example, to dig deeper and integrate technology with integrity. She keeps me grounded in my dreams yet provokes me to soar! 🙂

Katie Wardrobe, another friend and amazing musician to emulate, inspires me through her instructive blog posts and on-line training resources. What a delight to finally spend time with her at TMEA 16 where she demonstrated how students can make their own film scores. Such an approachable and  gifted teacher,  Katie inspires me to believe I can do what seemed impossible before.

And I can’t help but be motivated by Quaver curriculum because of the many innovative resources that my kids (and I) love.  So many ideas… so little time! Yes, inspiration is everywhere and what fascinates me most are the stories of how projects allow students to feel creative as they end up with something unique and completed to share with friends and family.

I wanted to try a cross-curricular project like Amy, I wanted to be brave and bold to try new things like Katie, and I wanted my students to think I’m cool and clever like Quaver. That’s how the Commercial Jingle Project Using a Green Screen got started.

Steps to the 50 Nifty Commercial Jingle Project

Commercial JINGLE logoDevelop a product

Students worked in small groups to develop a fictional product and brainstorm descriptive words for the advertisement. While brainstorming ideas for products, students researched their selected regions of the United States to make their products believable.

Write the ad

Students wrote their advertisement copy as a persuasive writing assignment. The Quaver curriculum guide was very helpful in this section and gave practical but fun examples and prompts to help the students. Some students just wanted to “wing it,” but we all found that in a 60sec commercial, every word and action matters and must be chosen carefully.

Create a Jingle

Teams had to come up with backing music and an ending jingle. Together, we researched how to make an effective jingle and what makes an ear-worm. We discussed backing music and how the genre needs to match the product. In the original Quaver lesson, the students were to create backing music using classroom instruments. I should have followed the directions!!! Creating backing music on the iPads proved problematic as the Garageband app updated right in the middle of this project; and if you know anything about Garageband, you know what a mess that was! As a result, the backing music was de-emphasised as too many new things were happening all at once. I will do a better job preparing and guiding them next year.

Design a Logo

In Art class, students learned about advertisement and how to design a logo for different purposes.  Each team member created his/her own logo for their product and the best was chosen. The students enjoyed sharing their logo design and the meaning of the details to their classmates.

Commercial Jingle Project using a Green Screen


Although limited animation was possible with the DoInk Animation app, students had to imagine how they wanted to use animation in the commercial. What magical action did they want and how could we do it using green screen technology and the animation app? The wheels started turning!

Lessons in teamwork

Amazingly, our 4th graders took this project and ran with it. They worked together during class time, during recess, and even called each other on the phone after school. At first, students struggled to agree on a believable product and how to describe it creatively. In a week’s time they were finalizing the wording of the ad, and bringing in handmade props and costumes. All of the teachers involved were amazed at the focus that this project created. (This was my first time ever working with a team of teachers on a project!) The children went far beyond what we could ever imagine and the planning process was a great lesson in teamwork. However, it wasn’t without the occasional hurt feelings and tears, so there were opportunities for life lessons in listening and working together to find a solution.

Film the Commercial using a Green Screen

The twist to our commercial came when we decided to film it using green screen technology because students also had to create or choose images to use in the background as well as costumes and props, etc., for a 60-90sec commercial.

After about two weeks of planning, filming began before school, during recess, during class time, and after school.  Some teams had students who wanted to be in the background filming while others wanted to take charge. It was amazing how engaged ALL of the students became during this project. While waiting their turn to film, some students would be rehearsing or helping with props or costumes, while others wanted to actually run the camera or just say, “Action!” Since this was our first green screen project, it took all of us a while to learn how to create magic like flying or suddenly appearing. The students worked all of that out and thought up solutions for their creative ideas. I think you will see several examples in their videos that will put a smile on your face.

The filming was done mostly with an iPad using the regular camera. The students did most of the filming and would review, delete, and film again until they were satisfied. I was responsible for editing all of the video takes using iMovie. Then I took the iMovie through the DoInk app to erase the background and sent it (via Dropbox) on to the Digital Media specialist. She mixed the video and background images together in Final Cut Pro.

Editing the Green Screen Videos

Students were responsible for researching and gathering images for the background of their commercial. In teams, they met with our Digital Media teacher to airdrop their images and edit their videos to satisfaction. Their logos and jingles were included at the end of the videos.

It might be possible next year to have the students do more of the editing, but since the DoInk Green Screen app is a paid app and not on student iPads, the Digital Media teacher and I decided to do the editing ourselves instead. I was able to completely edit several of the videos with a combination of DoInk and iMovie, and even used iMovie on my Mac a few times, however, the bulk of the editing was done using Final Cut Pro ($299) on the Digital Media teacher’s laptop. I just found out about the latest upgrade to  ScreenFlow ($99) and downloaded it today. It works great and is so much easier and more powerful than iMovie. I’ll use ScreenFlow next year! With Final Cut Pro, a powerful program for the Mac,  our DM specialist could edit in minutes what took me hours to do with DoInk and iMovie.

To make the timing of the editing process even more challenging, we actually had three grade levels of videos to film and edit at the same time. Without an organized system of editing and the help of my wonderful friend who teaches Digital Media, I couldn’t have pulled off the techy end of this project by myself. I’m grateful for friends who share my passion and work ethic.

Sharing the Commercials

This green screen project was so popular and so inspirational that our 3rd graders created a project about SC musicians and our 2nd graders created an  animal habitat project as well. I’ll share those with you in the next post.

Once all of the commercials were complete, the final versions were uploaded to YouTube and I created a Thinglink to share online. The last week of school we invited all of the students and teachers to view them in the large theatre. What a treat for the entire school to watch and applaud the final creative projects of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. Additionally, the 4th graders shared their commercial videos at the end of the year “Moving Up” ceremony with all of the parents. It was a huge hit! As I stated at the beginning, these projects allowed students to feel creative as they ended up with something unique and completed to share with friends and family.

aurasma-app-iconThe commercial logos were perfect images for using AURASMA to display and share the projects. I linked each commercial to the logo and displayed them in my music room. The school year is over, but it will be a great display for guests during the summer and students and parents next year.


thinglink logo wide 2Thinglink

I’ve created a Thinglink of all the commercials. Each star is a different commercial by a small group of our 4th graders.

Commercial Jingle Project using a Green Screen


Students interviewed each other during this project. Check out their reflections during this two minute video.

Commercial Jingle Project using a Green Screen

The Commercial Jingle Project was easy and inexpensive.

Green screen technology is not hard and doesn’t have to be expensive. I made my 8′ x 16′ green screen with four $10 foam insulation boards and green poster paper from the Dollar Tree. The DoInk app was very intuitive to use and no more complicated than editing using iMovie.

The Commercial Jingle Project was authentic

To me, this was such an authentic way for students and teachers to pool their talents, resources, time and effort to maximize connection across the curriculum. For the first time I didn’t feel isolated. I was teaching knowledge in context of other knowledge. Students were completely engaged in deeper learning and it was phenomenal. We all were so inspired by the process and the results that we’ve made plans to purposefully collaborate on even more projects next year. Wow!

The Commercial Jingle Project was life-changing

What started out as a simple commercial jingle project from Quaver turned into a cross-curricular adventure that inspires me to think differently about how and why I teach music.  I can have head-knowledge about best practices when integrating technology, but experiencing the beauty of contextual discovery is life-changing as a teacher.  Deep learning engages not just the student, but the teacher as well.

I’m hooked!

The reason I started this blog was to reflect on my adventures with music technology. Thankfully, others are further along in their integration of technology and more experienced with tools like green screens and projects like composing jingles. However, I feel like I’ve just dipped my wintered sockless toe in the sun-baked pool and I can’t wait to dive in the deep end trying to catch up! I’m hooked not because of technology, but because it allowed us to do the inconceivable: create something larger than ourselves. I saw it and felt it and it changed me forever. Watch the videos and you’ll see it too.  (A little dramatic, but you get the idea!)

Here’s a challenge:

Will you watch at least three videos and leave a 3-4 word comment on what you noticed? I would love to hear how you have used green screen or cross-curricular projects in your music room. I’m hungry to learn. How about you?


Next post, I’ll share the cool things the third graders did with Green Screen technology. 

Thank you, Amy, Katie, and Quaver for the inspiration to try something new!




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Cherie Herring

Music/Technology Integration at Hammond School
I teach elementary music, am passionate about integrating technology into my teaching, am obsessed with my SMARTBoard and iPad, and enjoy creating lessons and sharing ideas. I love technology almost as much as I love cheesecake, and with more energy and ideas than I know what to do with, I can't wait for the sun to come up each morning! I'm wife to Prince Charming and mom to three incredible girls who keep me balanced. . . sort of!

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Crystal July 9, 2016, 3:15 AM

    What struck me the most was how this transferred ownership of the content to the students. The boy who commented that he liked working with his friends and liked to make up the lines and pick what they were doing, as opposed to the teachers deciding, really resonated with me! Thanks for posting this. Amazing work!

    • Cherie Herring July 9, 2016, 3:49 AM

      Thank you, Crystal, for the comment. The students’ ownership throughout this project blew me away! With the encouragement of my principal, I’m planning to add several more projects this next year. The rising 4th graders will be very comfortable with filming and creating with green screen tech. as part of a project.

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