Inspire Meaningful Writing Practice through Digital Scrapbooking

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

— Dr. Seuss

Students love capturing moments and sharing them in different ways via videos, photos, or audio. We can encourage students to revisit this treasure trove of content and share the bigger story of the memories through digital scrapbooking.

Several web tools and apps allow students to upload their photos, videos, and other media to a digital book with blank pages. Just like a physical scrapbook, students can organize the content as they wish and make the memories come alive with different fonts, stickers, frames, clipart, and backgrounds.

Digital scrapbooking inspires creativity, enhances storytelling skills, improves writing, and teaches students how to write using digital media. A digital scrapbook is also a heartwarming gift for family members.  Below, are tips and web tools to get your students started on a digital scrapbooking project. Always make sure to receive parental permission when students share their own personal photos and media.

Focus on a Theme

Digital scrapbooking can turn into a lifelong project and your students have plenty of memories to share. For now, start with a theme to focus the writing and storytelling. Themes might include revisiting a birthday, sporting event, age, celebration, holiday, and so forth. You might even have students create a digital scrapbook with memories of the current school year.

Start with 3 Memories

Tell students to think of their digital scrapbooks as a collection of memories and stories revolving around the theme. Students should first jot down at least three memories they want to create pages for in their scrapbooks. They should pick memories they have images and video for and can share. They can always add more memories later. They should put these memories in sequential order and jot down dates, places, people, and any other important facts. Then they should describe the event as best as they can remember with a focus on their emotions and experience.

Verify the Details

Outside of class, students will need time to verify the details by reviewing any documents associated with the event, such as flyers, tickets, or other keepsakes. They can also interview their family members or others who took part in the memories. Students will also need time to search for images, video, or other media associated with the memories and upload these files to the digital scrapbooking platform. Some suggested free digital scrapbooking web tools are suggested below.

Layout and Design

Instruct students to choose one image or video to be the focal point of the memory. Students can set the image apart with frames, stickers, or texts. The image can be placed at the center of the page and made bigger than the rest of the content or can be placed at the top left hand corner, since this is how we tend to read. The rest of the content students choose to include they should think of as highlights illustrating the emotions or activities as they unfolded.

Integrate Writing

Students should include details about the event, such as date, time, and a short description on the page. This might be through stickers or cool fonts. Then students can add brief thoughts, commentary, labels, or text speak. For example, students might write “LOL,” “Best friends for life!” or “Poor me!” On a following page, students can share the details of the memory through writing, video, or audio.

Revision and Feedback

When students finish their digital scrapbooks, get them to peer edit for grammar errors and some feedback on the design. You might want to try the 2 Stars and 1 Wish method, in which, students share two things they love about their peer’s digital scrapbook and one suggestion for improvement. This might be to make the font bigger, space photos more, or spread out photos on a separate page. Students don’t need to confine their memories to only one page. They can use multiple pages to share the three memories.

The Finished Product

When peer edits are finished, then post the revised scrapbooks for all peers to view. You can do this by curating the digital scrapbooks with a tool like Pinterest or Educlipper. You can also just share these privately on the class virtual learning environment. Don’t forget to share the finished products with parents who will also enjoy the memories.

Give students the opportunity to share their memories aloud and practice their speaking skills. Divide students into small groups to present their digital scrapbooks and share at least one of the memories.

Suggested Web Tools

The following free web tools and apps include a library of templates, stickers, fonts, images, banners, and more to inspire student creativity.

Buncee is a the perfect web tool and iOS app for a multimedia scrapbook with plenty of layout options, templates, stickers, frames, clip art, and Creative Commons content for students to access safely. Students can upload their own images, video clips, and audio clips.

Canva is a great web tool and iPad app for a digital scrapbook of student images and also has plenty of templates, stickers, and images students can choose from. Students can’t embed video or audio.

EduGlogster is a web tool and app that allows students to combine their own images, graphics, audio, video and text to create a multimedia scrapbook.

Google Slides doesn’t have a library of stickers, graphics, or templates to choose from, but students can add their own images, videos, and content to create a multimedia scrapbook. Google does have a library of very cool fonts.

Book Creator is accessible as an iOS app and on Chromebooks. Students can combine text, images, audio and video to create their digital scrapbooks.

Adobe Spark and Sway are other web tool options for creating multimedia digital scrapbooks. Both allow students to upload images, video, and other content. Adobe Spark is also an iOS app.

How do you encourage students to share their personal stories in your classroom?

If you want to see more of Shelly’s tips for online resources for teaching English, then check out her guest posts!

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