Digital Storytelling: Google Slides Picture Books

Google Slides: Digital Storytelling

Why Google Slides?

Teachers and students are loving Google Slides for digital storytelling projects.

Google Slides was mostly known as a great application for creating presentations similar to Power Point. Over the years, educators have discovered hundreds of innovative ways to use Google Slides in the classroom. Google Slides allows students to collaborate, add music and videos, receive feedback, insert images, work from a template, research information, and add animations and transitions. There are so many features that allow even the youngest learners to create an impressive picture book. Hopefully, this blog will provide you with many different ideas.

In this blog, we are going to look at a presentation created by my 8 year old son as an example.

1. View the Presentation

View the presentation by clicking here. You should hear audio and narration. You will see that it is a relatively basic picture book, but keep his age in mind.

2. Create or Find a Template

There are many templates available online. I frequently use as they have so many amazing educational templates.

We did not use a template for this presentation. I created a template for my son to use by copying and pasting text boxes with image placeholders for editing. To edit each placeholder, we clicked on the shape and selected REPLACE IMAGE in the toolbar. This allowed my son to easily add images without having to resize and crop them. It also added some uniformity throughout the presentation. I created different placeholders using the cropping tool.

Advanced Tip: Edit the theme master to create placeholders. This feature came out in 2021.

Video Tutorial: Adding Placeholders

3. Adding Music

There is a fun “hack” to add music and narration to finished slideshows.

First, go to INSERT-VIDEO and choose a video from YouTube or your Google Drive that has music.

Then, resize the video to make it as small as possible and place it in the corner of the slide.

Change the video format settings so that the video starts playing as soon as you present the slideshow. You do this by clicking on the video and selecting FORMAT in the toolbar.

Now, you may check off the box to Autoplay. Your music will now start automatically once you click PRESENT.

Video: Formatting images and video in Google Slides

4. Inserting narration

This presentation was created before the amazing Mote extension which seamlessly allows you to insert audio. If this extension had been around, we would have used the extension to simplify this entire process of inserting audio. We used the Screencastify extension to record my son narrating each page. Screencastify is normally used to create a video of your screen, but we are using it to record the audio while narrating the digital picture book. Then, we inserted the video just as we did above so viewers only heard the audio.

5. Creating and Adding Clipart

Clipart was created using ABCYA’s Paint program. My son quickly sketched his drawing and then saved it as a PNG file to download on the computer and then insert into Google Slides.

In lieu of actual photographs, we could have created a picture book completely using student-created clipart. Or, another option would be to add photographs of hand-drawn illustrations by selecting INSERT-IMAGE-CAMERA and taking a photograph.

6. Auto-Advance Each Slide

When you publish a slideshow, an option appears that allows you to set the timer to auto-advance each slide. Due to the length of his narration, we set the timer to 5 seconds. You can also check off the box to restart the presentation when finished. Finally, this option makes it easy to copy the embed code and add the presentation to your blog or Google Site.

How to Publish: Go to Share-Publish to the Web

Do you have any tricks for creating picture books with Google Slides?

Passionate about all things edtech.


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