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Making an Elementary School Slideshow

VirginiaLynne loves crafts and scrapbooking. She shares her original ideas and tips for how to make crafts quickly and easily.

How to Start

Slideshows can be either for one year or can span the years those kids have been together. My video was for 4th-grade graduation and showed the six classes of kids from Kindergarten to 4th. You might want to make a slideshow for just one class year or just one class. These are great gifts for a teacher or other parents. Your own child will love watching these memories too!

Use Class T-Shirt for introduction and conclusion

Class T-Shirt front

Class T-Shirt front

Class T-Shirt back

Class T-Shirt back

Step by Step Instructions

It helps if you have other parents help do the work. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Send an email early in a year to ask parents to gather photos. Ask for photos of at least 2 or more kids (3 or more is better).
  2. Have parents send you the photos by year. It is hard to sort the photos out, but if they are in folders by year that makes it easier.
  3. When you put the photos together by year, you can sort them by date taken. That helps to put them in order.
  4. Take photos of class T-shirts, the front of the school or other school signs to use as title shots or transitions.
  5. Find at least a few funny shots. It is good to save one for the end.
  6. Find some music you have or download some of my suggested songs. It helps to have your songs chosen first before you put the slide show together.
  7. Put all the photos into your program (I used Windows Moviemaker) in order. Adjust the slides to show for 2-4 seconds (longer is too slow).
  8. Add your music.
  9. Add captions.

Solidify Friendships

Another purpose of having a slideshow at the end of the year is to remember friendships. Sometimes people have changed friendships over the course of their time together. Pictures of groups of friends can help deepen memories and even remind people of how much fun they did have together. It gives them things to talk about. I make family scrapbooks each year for the purpose of helping my family to remember and talk about important events and things they did together.

Use Funny Photos

Pie in Face

Pie in Face


One of the purposes is to help provide closure and to solidify memories and common experiences. Slide shows at the end of camp, VBS, or school bring people together as they laugh about things they may even have forgotten.

Graduation Video Question

Song Ideas

Choosing music for a graduation video isn't easy, as I soon found out. You want songs that are upbeat, but also meaningful. Most songs are about 4 minutes long, so you will need to think about that as you figure out how many you need. I chose to begin and end with the same song to tie the everything together. Songs with a theme of friendship or memories are helpful. Here are some suggestions:

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  • You've Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman): a classic song which is a memory from Toy Story and also embodies the ideals of childhood friendship.
  • My Wish (Holly Tucker): I didn't see this on any list of graduation songs I looked up, but I really think it is a terrific graduation song. I like the version by Holly Tucker, not only because she is a terrific singer (with a fabulous high note she hold toward the end of this song) but also because she is a local girl that many of our kids got to follow when she was on The Voice. This song gives a wonderful message of wishing good things for our friends and our future.
  • A Thousand Years (Christina Perri): I love this hauntingly beautiful song about love and caring. I think of this as a song for teachers and parents to sing over the children. It brings tears to my eyes and can be a wonderful ending song if the slide show is for parents.
  • Whenever You Remember (Carrie Underwood): I like this song because it talks about memories. Although my slide show is for elementary students and this song is perhaps more about memories as we get older, I know that many of these students will continue to be friends throughout high school and will eventually come back (as my oldest daughter did this year) to the Graduating Seniors party at Woodway Elementary. I'm hoping we can share this slide show then (in 2020!)
  • Owl City: Most of the songs of this artist are upbeat and happy. They don't necessarily have any deep meaning, but they are good filler songs for a slide show.
  • With a Little Help from my Friends: Nice simple song from the Beetles or Joe Cocker that is appropriate for elementary school videos.
  • We are the Champions (Queen): a fun song that could be a great ending for the video show. Kids like to sing along.

Take Photos of Favorite Places at School

The Cave:  a favorite place for kids at school

The Cave: a favorite place for kids at school

How to End

How to end with a bang? Here are some ideas:

  1. Video Interviews: One great way to end your slide show is to take some video of kids, teachers, or parents telling their favorite memories over the years.
  2. Tribute: If the class has shared a particular sad memory like the loss of a classmate, or the retirement of a special school employee, you might want to use a tribute to that person at the end.
  3. Favorite Quote: Does the principal or a teacher have a favorite quote or saying? That can be a great end. You can either put in a caption or have that person saying the quote.
  4. Important Future Milestones: You can also end the video with the dates this class will graduate in the future from Junior High and High School. You can say something like "See you at High School Graduation in 2026!"


Dianna Mendez on June 19, 2014:

Looks like the year was a success. Thank you for sharin these wonderful moments and the information on how to make quality videos.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on June 05, 2014:

I posted this link on Facebook and so most of the parents and teachers are commenting there. I've been rather surprised at how deeply it affected them. The parents have told me it made them cry. It certainly has made me glad to have done the project. We plan to save it to show when these students graduate from high school! Now I'm working on my high schooler's graduation video!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 05, 2014:

This is a great idea! Your instructions are very easy to follow and include tips on where to highlight your video, etc. It gives confidence even to someone who has never made a video. This was my first time to hear of Windows Moviemaker but it sounds like a great app.

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