Story Time From Space

What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.

Story Time From Space logo

Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.

Mousetronaut story/video screenshot

Each video comes with the following information:

  • Written by
  • Read by
  • Run Time

Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.


In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!

The March on Washington – PBS

The March on Washington – PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media has put together an impressive resource list to help teachers cover this moment in American history. In this collection educators will find:

  • 33 video clips
  • 7 support documents
  • 3 audio clips
  • 2 media galleries
  • 5 lesson plans covering grades 4-12

The entire collection (as well as individual segments) come with a share button that includes a shortcut to easily post them directly to Google Classroom. Each video and audio segment comes with support materials and a list of the National History Standards that are connected to them.

March on Washington media gallery page with video clips, support materials, and standards.

YouTube Channels for Teachers & Learners

YouTube app icon

YouTube is a powerful and ever-growing source for videos about teaching, learning, and growing up in our ever-changing world. But, because there is so much out there it can be difficult to find videos of good quality and that are appropriate for the classroom. Luckily, there are fellow educators out there who have been hard at work curating such lists to share with the rest of us.

In a recent post on the Know Your Why! blog, Steve Wick shares his top six YouTube Channels designed with teaching and learning in mind including Edutopia, Google for Education, and others. And for you history enthusiasts out there, take a moment to watch the first video ever uploaded to YouTube (it’s 19 seconds long, so I think you can fit it in).

However, Steve Wick is only one person and to truly create a worthwhile list of resources requires the help of others. That’s why he has created a community Padlet board for other educators to contribute YouTube channels that they have found beneficial to teaching and learning. The Padlet board is organized into 15 categories ranging from science and math to empathy and physical education. There’s even a category called “Anything Goes” for those channels that don’t quite fit one particular mold. If you have discovered a YouTube channel that is share-worthy then please consider adding it to the list.

Padlet board screenshot

Gmail Gets a Facelift & It’s Looking Good!

Last week Google announced a major refit to one of their core GSuite apps: Gmail. The updates to Gmail blend many different tools and settings together, with some pulled from what used to be available only through their Gmail Labs tab or from their other Email app: Inbox. The new Gmail can be activated now on personal accounts from the Settings gear icon; organization Gmail accounts (i.e. enterprise and education) will need to wait for their Google admin to turn this feature on.

Try new Gmail menu option

To get a quick rundown of the features that come with the new Gmail you can check out this summary on their Keyword blog, or you can read this product guide from the Gmail Help Desk. I would also encourage you to check out this video from our Technology Department that shows some of the key features in action:


NOTE: I mentioned earlier the Labs tab in the classic Gmail. This information is still available but the tab has been renamed to “Advanced” in the new Gmail interface.

Recent Updates to Google Classroom

Google recently announced some updates to their Google Classroom app with a focus on improving communication with students as well as with parents/guardians. If you’d like to watch this review online then click here.

Comment Settings move to STREAM

Classroom commenting tool drop-down menuThe configuration box for controlling the commenting ability of students has been moved from the STUDENTS tab to the STREAM tab. The actual functions haven’t changed; you can still set the public or “class” commenting privileges for students, just that the tool is now located on the tab where the commenting actually takes place:

  • Students can post and comment
  • Students can only comment
  • Only teachers can  post and comment

Manually send Guardian Summaries

Email student or guardians envelope iconGuardian Summaries are a way for parents to get regular updates on how their child is doing in their classes through Google Classroom. Go to the STUDENT tab and click on the name of a student in the list to take you to their “Your work” tool. By clicking on the envelope icon in the top-right corner, now teachers can manually send a Guardian Summary to a student, the guardian(s) of the student, or both the student and the guardian(s). After selecting your receiver, there is a space below to enter a quick message. Don’t forget to check off the box to Include student work summary if you want that information included in the transmission. NOTE: A guardian must have accepted the invite prior to this point in order to include them in this communique.

Guardian summary email tool


Teachers & Co-Teachers

About section-teacher managementNothing much to say here except that the footprint of this module has been made smaller. You still use this tool to add co-teachers to your class, remove them, email them, or transfer ownership of the class to another. Students still see the list of co-teachers for the class and an envelope icon to send an email to them.

As always, if you like these changes or have suggestions for some new ones then please do not hesitate to send Google feedback via the question mark “?” icon located in the bottom-left corner of the window.


WeVideo & Mobile Devices

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how to use WeVideo on Chromebook “laptop” devices. However, a new fleet of Chromebooks are being released that can wear more than one hat, switching over to behaving like a tablet device and then back to a laptop. We are currently piloting Chromebooks with this capability in our elementary schools. That being said, I wondered if WeVideo provided support for mobile and tablet devices.

Getting the appmobile app icon

If you prefer to film with a mobile or tablet device, then you can install the FREE WeVideo mobile app. Click here to download the app for Apple iOS and Android.

How it works

When using the mobile app here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to sign-in to the app with your GSuite account in order to access all of its features.

Mobile app login screen

  • Once you film your scenes, remember to sync the clips to your WeVideo account so that you can edit them from your laptop (sync button located in the top-right corner).

Editor screen with sync button highlighted

  • If you are using a shared device, remember to sign out when filming is complete in order to keep your account secure.

Tap hamburger icon for menu, then My account to log out

NOTE: As I played around with the mobile app I kept encountering an incompatibility issue between the mobile app and the web app. Clips edited on the mobile app can be synced and then edited some more in the web app. However, I could not complete this process in reverse and would receive an error message in the mobile app if attempted. This is manageable for us since access to our filming iPad is limited, so the sooner students sync their footage up to the cloud and then do their editing on their Chromebooks the better. If anyone has additional information or insight about this issue then please leave a reply in the box below.

WeVideo & Chromebooks: Screen vs. WebCam Filming

What is it?

  • WeVideo supports two types of filming configurations: Webcam and Record Screen.
  • Please note that the Record Screen is a premium feature and is available only on the Chrome Browser.
  • To begin, start or open an existing project and from the editor window locate the red recorder icon.

editor menu with recorder icon


How it works

WebcamWeVideo Webcam recorder icon

  • Use the Webcam tool if you want to capture content using your device’s built-in camera.
  • In order to use the Webcam tool, you will need their free Chrome extension. Click the INSTALL button to begin this process, or you can use this link to pre-install it ahead of time.

Install Chrome Ext. notification

  • Authorize Chrome to add the “Video Recorder for WeVideo” extension:

Chrome Web Store authorization

  • The first time you activate this option, you will need to give permission for WeVideo to access your camera and microphone.

Authorize access to camera & microphone

  • WeVideo will scan for available camera and microphone equipment and let you choose which you’d like to film with:

video and microphone equipment options

  • When recording is complete, you will get a pop-up window where you can preview your recording.
    • If you would like to re-record your footage, then select the RECORD NEW button in the bottom-left corner.
    • If you would like to download the recording to your device’s hard drive as a .webm file, then select the DOWNLOAD button in the bottom-right corner.
    • My media folderOtherwise, select SAVE to send your footage to the ‘My media’ folder of your project. Files stored here should be accessible across all of your different video project folders.

Webcam recorder preview window


Record Screen

(Please note that the Record Screen is a premium feature and is available only on the Chrome Browser.)Record Screen option

  • Use the Record Screen option if you want to capture something on the screen of your device.
  • Once selected, you have two additional recording options:
    • Record your entire screen: great if you will need all of your available work space.
    • Record within a specific window: handy if you have another project going on in another window…or you don’t want your audience to see your messy Desktop.

  • If you not done so already, you will need to give permission for WeVideo to access your camera and microphone.
  • You can also control whether or not you would like your microphone on during recording. Keep this in mind if you want to capture any sounds produced by your device’s speakers during filming.

Record Audio option

  • If you have not already done so already, you will need to install the free Chrome extension.
  • When recording is complete, your footage will be saved to the ‘My media’ folder of your project. Files stored here should be accessible across all of your different video project folders.

For more information, please refer to the WeVideo Support site and their Screen Recording article.