Resolve YouTube Buffering Issues within the Classroom

My position as a K-12 Teaching Assistant has taken me into many different grade level classrooms. One common issue I’ve seen over and over again is the teachers frustration when a YouTube video is stuck in buffering mode. Many times this problem is caused due to a bandwidth issue. One simple way to resolve this issue is by pre-loading the video beforehand. This is done by immediately pressing the pause video button.

Youtube pauseYou will notice a gray bar continuing to move as it loads the video. Depending upon the bandwidth issue this may or may not work. You may notice only a partial video load by using this process.

YouTube Gray Bar

A better choice is to show the video in a lesser quality format. If you would like to do this go to the gear symbol in on the video a drop down menu will open, and chose the word quality. Choose a lower quality video such as 360p or lower instead of HD (High Definition).

Bandwidth buffereing issue


Create a Photomontage with Google Drawing

Creating a Photomontage is an activity which can be used in so many different ways. I created this Photomontage to be used as an introduction to a Social Studies digital interactive activity. Teachers can use a photomontage to assess students prior knowledge of a subject or just for a conversation starter. The teacher shows the photomontage to the class and asks if there is anything anyone would like to share about the pictures. Students can comment about anything they observe in the photomontage. Conversation starters like this photomontage tend to alleviate tension when learning and sharing new information.


Students can create photomontages to share what they know about a content area. This can be used as an individual or group project. One benefit of a photomontage project is it provides an opportunity for students with lower reading and writing ability to participate.

This is how I used Google Drawing to create the Photomontage:

Final Touches for the Google Slide ELA Elementary Interactive Activity

Time to wrap up and assemble the Google Slide for the ELA Elementary Interactive Activity. One thing I’d like to point out is when creating clipart it is good to save as one file where the layers are merged. This prevents the clipart from falling apart when dragged. Using the shape tool made creating the clipart easier because it allows you to add border and words as one layer. Here are the steps I used to create the letter “g” with Google Drawings.

Clipart Alphabet

  1. Insert shape
  2. Change color
  3. Used 12px for the border size
  4. Change border color
  5. Click center of shape to choose font style
  6. Then type the letter & change font color 
  7. Download & Save as PNG to insert into slide 

NOTE: I like saving my clipart files as PNG for several reasons.

  • A PNG has a transparent background
  • When clipart is saved as a PNG all layers are merged into one

Once everything is inserted into the Google Slide the Interactive Activity will look like this:



  • Open Google Slide
  • Add a Title to the Slide


  • Insert clipart

Insert clipart

 clipart 3

  • Embed YouTube for sound
    • Go to your YouTube Dashboard
  1. 1. Select VideoDashboard 1

2. Click Share

Dashboard 2

3. Copy URL

Dashboard 3


4. Click Insert

5. Click Video

Slide steps 4 & 5

6. Paste URL to YouTube Video 

Slide steps 6

7. Click the YouTube Video

8. Then Click Select

Slide steps 7 & 8

9. Resize Video on the Google Slide

Sizing Youtube vid



  1. In this Google Slide Activity the YouTube Video is used as a Sound File.
  2. When using Video as Sound it is best to reduce video to a very small size.
    1. You don’t want the video to become a distraction.
  3. This activity was created to provide support for successful completion of the activity.

Creating Sound for the “an” Family Interactive Activity

I decided to break down the “How to” tutorial for the Elementary “an” Family Interactive Activity into several post. The reason for this is whenever possible I like creating my own video, audio and clip art. Today I’m going to focus the post on how to create the YouTube file that I embed into the Google Slide. Whenever possible I like to provide audio whether it comes from a video, audio file or a text to speech reader. This supports the low reader with  independently accomplishing the activity.

I’m an advocate for the integration of technology because of its ability to differentiate activities supporting successful outcomes for all students. I’m a firm believer in building a child’s esteem. The more confidence a child feels about their abilities the more they’ll attempt to explore new concepts.

Generally to create a video one’s first instincts would be to open iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Wondershare Movie Creator, Camtasia Studio and etc… Not me! What if I told you there is an easier way to create movies? When generating simple movies like the one used in the Family Interactive Activity I like using Microsoft PowerPoint. Yes! You heard me right! Microsoft PowerPoint provides the ability to save as an MP4.

This is the video I created for the “an” Family Interactive Activity using Microsoft PowerPoint.

You may have noticed I used a computer generated voice to say and spell the word. I found a text to speech website which allows one to save an mp3 file. When compared with other sites I like how this webste enunciates the words. This is the website link:

The following procedures is for how I create the audio file for the interactive activity.

text here

  • Click on the word listen. This will generate the audio file.


  • Now click download and save the mp3 file on the desktop to easily access the file for inserting into the PowerPoint slide.

Download mp3

  • Now open Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Insert a Picture
  • Now insert the audio
  • Move clip art to front
  • Give the file a name and save as video


  • Upload to YouTube

youtube 1


  1. Make sure you sign into YouTube Account
  2. It isn’t possible to insert an audio file into a Google Slide
    1. I use a mini video file for providing sound


Google Slide as an Alternative for a Teachers Website…

Above is a “No Thrills” quick sample which I literally slapped together. It seems building a classroom website has become a popular way with teachers to integrate technology. Why not make the home school connection by using a Google Slide Presentation published to the web?

What are the benefits?

  1. Easy to use
  2. Embeds into an already established website
  3. Share as a public link & it is viewed by the world
  4. Automatically updates when you make a change
  5. Ability to move slides around
    1. Important announcements can be moved to the front
  6. Can be creative or just “Plain Jane” with the look of the presentation
  7. Can link out to Google Forms to collect information
    1. Example: Who can help with book fair
  8. Spreadsheets can be linked for signup sheets
    1. Example: Parent/Teacher Conference Day Sign up
  9. Easier to maintain than a website
  10. Can be a timesaver

I can easily go on and on with this list!

What ideas can you come up with? Please share in the comment area…

Elementary Level Interactive Activity Using Google Slides


When it comes to creating interactive activities for the elementary level student using Google Slides is one of my favorite choices. It lends itself to a variety of activities which can be used to support different learning styles. I think it is important when designing an interactive to consider the kind of hands-on movement to best supports success for accomplishing the task. It is good to have more than one activity focused on the same objective for the student to attempt. Children will naturally gravitate towards the activity they can handle. Once the student feels confident they tend to move on independently to complete the next level. I also believe it is  important to build in extra support for the students to provide them a boost towards success.

This is why I created a youtube video which supplies an audio hint for completing the main goal of the activity. If you click the hint you may notice it actually gives the answer. This is okay because in the end the objective is to learn how to spell along with reading  the word pictured on the slide by using the “an family”.  Once the student is done advancing through all the slides they should have a good understanding of the  “an family”. NOTE: Right now there is only one slide in the sample below.

What I like about Google Slides is it keeps a revision history. This can help you assess the student’s independent work and provides evidence of understanding the concept. Revision history is a wonderful way of assessing abilities without actually providing a quiz or test. It provides  data a teacher can use for meetings with parents or colleagues about the students progress. This activity can also be used as APPR evidence to support the learning which is occurring in the teacher’s classroom.

How do you use the Interactive Activity for Word Building in a classroom? This activity lends itself to the “I do, We do, You do” strategy.

  1. Model the activity on an interactive white board or big screen in front of the classroom
  2. Provide opportunities for the student to interact with you and the IWB
  3. Have the students work individually or in a group with smaller digital devices
  4. Make sure the students have an opportunity to explore the concept on their own

I know this activity works on both Mac and Windows Laptops. It also functions very well on a Windows based tablet with a touchscreen. I haven’t tried on Android or an iPad. If anyone tries the activity on one of the aforementioned devices please leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

I will share the method used for creating this ELA interactive activity in another post.