Banana Pianos and Green Screens

You might be asking yourself, “what on Earth does a banana piano have to do with education? and how does one even make a banana piano?”

Well…..I would have asked the same question before beginning COETAIL and i’ll let you know what i’m talking about at the end of this post.

Since beginning the program I have had the opportunity to learn more about new and exciting things happening in education. From websites that allow for the redefinition of how students communicate, to apps that assist in student creativity, and movements that alter our approach to education in general. Education is constantly changing and technology is allowing for a multitude of possibilities.

Here are some of the ways technology has impacted my classroom since beginning COETAIL….

Green Screen Technology with Do Ink!

Do Ink is an app that allows anyone with a tablet or smartphone use a piece of green fabric to transport themselves anywhere. It’s seriously easy to use and very inexpensive.


I was teaching a unit on Solar Systems and decided that it would be cool to have my students do a news report from each of the different planets. They would research their facts, write their own scripts, and choose their own landscape backgrounds. Then I would set up a green screen in my class and edit it all together with iMovie. It was a great way to have students engaged in a variety of learning objectives while having all sorts of fun. Here’s the finished product…..

Solar System movie from Tanya LeClair on Vimeo.


Solving Mysteries with Mystery Skype!

I heard about Mystery Skype through my PLN on Twitter and thought it sounded like a great way to get students asking questions and learning about other countries in the world.

courtesy of

courtesy of








I tweeted my interest and that I was looking for a class to Skype with from anywhere other than where I am in Abu Dhabi. I was approached by a wonderful class of grade 3’s in Singapore and we got started. Since the time difference wouldn’t work for us we decided it would be best to record our questions and answers in a video and exchange videos. Once I received a video back from our buddy class answering our questions we had a lot of fun trying to figure out where in the world they were.


In the end they figured it out (with a few additional hints from me) and had a great time!

3TL Mystery Skype from Tanya LeClair on Vimeo.


Makey Makey Fun!

Making, tinkering, playing, exploring, creating. Allowing students to learn by doing is the basis of the Maker Movement and a large part of where I will be going next in my teaching and learning.

In the new year I will be moving to China to begin a new position as Technology Coach for a school there. In preparation for the position I am learning about some pretty fun learning tools. I found out my position will entail a lot of Maker Education tools like Little Bits, Squishy Circuits, coding tools, and electronic circuitry.

I purchased a Makey Makey kit online for $50 USD and got started exploring with all the fun ways you can manipulate inanimate objects to control a laptop. Makey Makey is an invention kit that allows you to “turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet.” Here’s the video they feature on their website and my inspiration to turn bananas into music…

So I bought some bananas and got started. It was super easy to set up and within minutes I was making music. Very very basic music…..but it has potential. Next year I will be working with students to play with an entire Makey Makey band.

Makey Makey Banana Piano from Tanya LeClair on Vimeo.

Since I was also doing an After School Activity in Technology I brought it in for my students to experience. They loved it and all wanted to get one too….


Then we experimented with using drawings as controllers for Tetris and they thought of all sorts of new and fun ways we could use it in the future. It was certainly a great example of how inspiring maker tools can be in school.















So there you have it. Just a few examples of how COETAIL has impacted my teaching and even my future path as an educator. Honestly….when I tell other people that a part of my job is to play with these kinds of learning tools they just want to join in too.

3 comments to “Banana Pianos and Green Screens”
3 comments to “Banana Pianos and Green Screens”
  1. I love the banana piano, and also what a great idea to record the video for a Mystery Skype. I can’t tell you how many times my class couldn’t do it because of time difference. It also helps throw students off for locating the other school based on the time of day you Skype (I’ve had some bright students rule out countries based on this!). Thanks for sharing, it’s awesome to see how much COETAIL has changed your approach and teaching practices.


  2. Pingback: Congratulations CoETaIL Graduates! | COETAIL Online Cohort 4

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