Hi. I'm a first grade teacher with an LCD projector and a document camera. I've asked if I could mount my projector on the ceiling, and the school said absolutely not.
So the projector must live on a cart or table in the classroom. The problem is that in order for the image to be the correct size, the projector has to be in the middle of the room.
When you teach first grade, you have the students on the floor a lot. Two things are important. First, where the kids look and what they need to listen to have to be in the same place. So my voice needs to be coming from someplace close to where they are looking. Also, during direct instruction they need to be in close proximity to the teacher - eye contact is important.
This is all very difficult with a projector sitting on a cart, in the middle of the room, blocking their view.
I use the projector connected to my computer for all sorts of things - displaying images, choral reading, sight words, an much more. I use the document camera to display writing templates, handwriting practice, and read-alouds. 99% of the time, the images are static. Occasionally I show a video from the computer, but not real often.
I've decided to try building a DIY rear projection setup on the cheap - and I mean really cheap.
Here's what I want to try: The projector will be directly under the screen, facing rearward, away from the viewing students. About 4 or 5 feet back will be a large mirror - the largest I can find at Home Depot or Ikea - mounted on a table that pivots (I have something perfect for this job if it works). I'm hoping the mirror will reflect the image back to the screen and be viewable.
I've already tried rear projection without the mirror, and the projector facing forward behind the screen. It worked just using a wrinkled sheet, but the image was too small for my liking and I could only move the projector so far back. I could move the screen forward, but that would take up floor space.
Will it work with the mirror? Do I really need a front surface mirror or can I get by with a regular mirror? The image will be bounced almost directly back at the screen from a distance of about 4 or 5 feet. What will happen to the hot spot? The bottom of the screen will be at least four feet from the floor, and my students are all around four feet tall or less.
And finally, what is the BEST material to use for the screen? I've heard spandex, cotton sheets, painters drop cloths, and shower curtains. I've also read that Tyvek works too, but doesn't that stuff have printing on it?