Digital Storytelling Toolkit from WeVideo

WeVideo Digital Storytelling ToolkitRecently I did a tutorial series on using WeVideo in the classroom and specifically with student Chromebooks. While some of the topics discuss tools that are only available under an education license, many of the tutorials apply equally to the free version of WeVideo. Now WeVideo has released a toolkit to help teachers and students turn this web-based tool into a powerful digital storytelling vehicle, and it’s completely FREE!

  1. First up in the Digital Storytelling Toolkit are several graphic organizer templates to help students organize their thoughts and ideas for digital storytelling, how-to video tutorials, and basic video storyboarding.
  2. Next in the toolkit are Examples for how to integrate digital storytelling into your classroom that includes public service announcements, big ideas inside of little moments, and news casting.
  3. Finally, check out their Reflection prompts to help students deepen their understanding and evaluation Rubrics to give students meaningful feedback.

For more information, check out the video below from WeVideo/Chief Education Officer Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and their website.


As the summer break comes to an end and educators begin preparations for the return of students (and with some already in session), now seems like a good time to chat about the benefits that Google Classroom can have on your class. Google has been hard at work during the summer hiatus listening to the feedback they’ve received from educators like you and have introduced significant improvements to the app. We will spend the next weeks going over these changes, some of which are very, very cool!

To begin, Google has announced a new resource for educators called #FirstDayofClassroom, which has a little something for everyone.

  • If you’re new to Classroom, then check out “The Basics” with YouTube videos that cover setting up your class, adding students, assigning work, and grading assignments inside of Classroom.
  • If you’ve tried Classroom before and are looking for the next steps, then check out the “Teacher’s Lounge” with videos on tips, tricks, and best practices from fellow educators.

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  • Do you prefer documents over videos that you can print out and have in-hand at a moment’s notice? Then scroll down to the “Handy Guides” section.

screenshot of 3 PDF guides available for download

If you or someone you know is new to Google Classroom then this site is definitely bookmark-worthy. If you are familiar with Classroom or perhaps even a veteran, then check back often for news and updates as additional resources and support materials are in the works.


On The Chromebook: File Management

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  • On a Chromebook, downloads from the web are directed to the Files app.
  • Artifacts that remain in this location can only be accessed from the device (i.e. no cloud access). Therefore, this should be a temporary storage location only!
  • Artifacts can can be dragged from the Downloads folder in the Files app to Google Drive using the shortcut in the left-hand sidebar.

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  • USB flash drives will show up here, as well as memory cards from a digital camera if your Chromebook is equipped with an SD card slot.
  • Note that USB drives and SD cards should not be removed before clicking on the ‘Eject’ icon next to the device listed in the sidebar. This is to prevent the corruption of the data stored there.

Google Drive

  • Chromebooks have a limited amount of storage space so it is important to store your files inside of Google Drive.
  • This also prevents the loss of data due to equipment failure since your files are saved in the cloud.

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  • Depending on what type of Google account you have, you may or may not have a limit on the amount of storage available. Google grants users who have G Suite for Work and Education accounts much more cloud storage space than standard account users. Standard account users do have the option to upgrade their storage by choosing from several pay-for options.

Google Material Icons Library

Icons come in handy when you need to add a little extra emphasis to a slide, provide a visual in a tutorial, or breakup a document full of text. Google has built a library of open source icons grouped under themes such as actions, communication, hardware, maps and more!

To use:

  1. Locate an icon (Hint: use your browser’s ‘Find’ command to search the library by keyword).
  2. Single-click on the icon to activate a pop-up toolbar along the bottom of the page. Use this toolbar to select your dp (dimensional pixels), color (black or white), and file download type (.svg or .png).
  3. If you choose to download the icon as a .png, note that this will give you different versions of the icon formatted for Android, iOS, and web use.

These icons are open source and while attribution (i.e. give credit) is appreciated but not required, Google does ask that users do not re-sell these icons.

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Gratisography (Gr. K-12)

Gratisography: High-resolution photos free of copyright restrictions

Gratisography is a website containing high-quality/high-resolution photos taken by Ryan McGuire. New photos are added weekly and can be downloaded for free without copyright restrictions. However, it is good practice to always cite your source and “give credit where credit is due” whenever possible. Unfortunately there is no search tool on the site, and it is always a good idea to preview the site for questionable images prior to sending students to the resource.

Gratisography site screenshot

Website of the Week: Blooms Taxonomy Posters

Blooms Taxonomy Posters – from

In an article from, the author shares two posters designed for the classroom that have been graciously shared by the site LearningToday with the online community. The first is depicted on a butterfly’s wing with the Blooms stages spreading out from the body in colorful waves. The second poster looks like a cross-section of an orange with each wedge containing vocabulary words to help students connect their actions with the appropriate category. Use the link provided above each poster on the site to download a full-size version in PDF format.



BONUS #4: – Helping Teachers, Parents and Kids become better DIGigtal citIZENS (Gr. 4-12)

The Digizen website is full of topics and resources to help educate everyone on becoming ethical digital citizens in this world of ever-changing technology. Just some of the topics covered by the site include copyright, cyberbullying, plagiarism, selecting the perfect password and social networking guidelines. Find videos, interactive games and even role-playing scenarios that you can download and employ in the classroom.


  • A critical component of digital citizenship is the concept that it takes everyone’s participation to be successful. Teachers, students and parents all need to get involved because we all can benefit from becoming better and safer users of technology and the Internet.

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this find.

Website of the Week: Timelines

Timelines: Sources from History (Gr. 4-12)

Provided by the British Library, Timelines allows users to explore a variety of topics throughout history as far back as 1210 A.D. and as recent as the first decade of the 21st century. Once you launch the timeline, use the navigation controls at the bottom of the window to move up and down the timeline by decade; jump by whole centuries using the Next and Previous buttons at the very bottom of the page. When you click on a topic of interest, the item will either: 1) display a dialog box with a brief write-up or 2) may expand to reveal multiple items, to which another click will reveal a write-up. Use the drop-down menus at the top of the window to modify the topics that the timeline will focus on, such as entertainment, science and technology, sacred texts and more.


  • The write-ups from the timeline are bite-sized and are a good way to start a research project or generate topics for class discussion. Write-ups can be downloaded as PDF documents and saved into folders for use later.

How-To Tech Tip: Download Videos from the Net

New post from Lawson Labs:

“There are some great videos on Internet sites for the classroom such as YouTube, but how do you download these files to your computer? This is a handy tip to download videos locally to your computer, so that you do not have to rely on speedy Internet connections or receive annoying advertisements or inappropriate suggested content on the sidebar.”

You may also want to add to your toolbox for downloading local copies of YouTube videos. Give KeepVid the Share link from a YouTube video, and KeepVid will give you two versions of the video to download:

  1. mp4: high quality format
  2. .flv: low quality format

Note that .flv or Flash is the format of choice if you want to embed the video in a SMART Notebook page.


Find additional video tutorials at: