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Inkerz rep and veteran Middle School Teacher! 

Since summers have started, I thought I'd share a Netflix series I watched which made me revisit the importance of being an educator, life as a student and the "process" of education in general. Most of you probably have children, and feel like your children are your "connection" to your  similar-aged students. But this is different, the series is called "Everything Sucks" and provides an insider's perspective. 


"Everything Sucks" has only one season out (yet) but it's a refreshing coming of age show about a student who aspires to be a film-maker. It deals into the anxiety, awkwardness, friendships and melodrama during that age quite well. It's bound to make you reminiscence of yourself when you were that age, and since it's set in the 1980s it's a remarkable escape from modern-day living. 


What made this show stick out for me, was that the main character had a passion (and a resulting passion project) and it rekindled the idea in me that formal education can and does play a huge role in nurturing a child's "inner adult". When we grow older, there is a lot of talk about nurturing our "inner child" but there is seldom talk about nurturing a child's inner adult.


To me, it seems like the output in the process of education is to help a student find this "inner adult": their eternal self in an ever-changing world. Most of what defines being an adult is having a career, so is it fair to assume helping a student "find" a profession is a part of the process of education as well? I would love to hear comments about this.  


You can watch the trailer below. If anyone does get the time watch it, please do let me know what you thought about it.  


Meanwhile, happy living!

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to support a grade 5/6 class as they discovered how to incorporate Canvas in their learning environment.


Each student had been assigned to edit a page in their class course to act as individual blogs. The students had already been carefully guided through a series of lessons on copyright and editing text in a Canvas page. The lesson I was present for entailed them inserting images on their assigned pages within their class Canvas course. As Canvas is very new to all of us in our state it was with some surprise that the student editing experience was quite a different experience to a teacher. 


The familiar 'ICT moment' feeling occurred as the students quickly discovered that the demonstrated sequence would not work for them. Then the magic happened, as does so many times when a confident teacher goes with the flow. The students discovered several ways of getting their images onto the page. Quickly new 'experts' were being born and assigned to teach their buddies.


Then before we knew it, and just before the lunch bell went, nearly everyone had their page updated with an image and there were lots of satisfied editors. They enjoyed being patted on the back for their resilience, problem solving skills, creativity and kindness to each other. 


I congratulate the teacher on persevering when things seemed to have turned to custard. The temptation to pack up and forget the whole idea can be so close during those moments, but to push through and trust the kids to figure things out and teach the teachers is well worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing their 'blogs' evolve and hearing about the learning that took place during the whole process. 


It's report time.......

I am writing reports.......

I read the article on Continuous student reporting and found it very interesting. Obviously, we at callaghancollegewallsendcampus have Canvas, yet we still have to conform to our twice a year reporting for compliance with the Department of Education. Yet, during my time of productive procrastination, I figured that a student does five core subjects a year, with a general possibility of two electives, possibly three (but for the sake of argument let's go with two). If each core subject does an assessment task on Canvas four times a year, they are getting twenty sets of current, up to date feedback at the point of need, If the two elective classes do four assessment tasks each a year online, that means another eight sets of feedback per year. However, we still have to provide reports on data that can be between four to six weeks out of date. I am not saying the system is bad, I think we just need to maybe keep up with the times and place more importance on quality current feedback from tasks and lessons.

However, on the flip side, during report time, I generally try to find other important tasks to do that are productive - hence the productive procrastination. I average one to two cupboard cleanouts per reporting period. So it's not all bad!  Happy report season.



Emily Craddock

Mad about Modules

Posted by Emily Craddock Employee Jun 12, 2018

I have had the opportunity to work with teachers and school staff using Canvas in a wide variety of ways, from Kindergarten classrooms to AP Chemistry courses, and even Professional Development programs!  One common question comes up every time I talk with teachers, instructional designers, course creators, and facilitators who are new to Canvas - "So, what's a Module?"   


@Erin Keefe, Senior Trainer for Education Services, has an excellent blog post on this very topic.  To expand on her response, modules can be explained as a fancy digital binder.  The Modules index serves as a table of contents to the individual Modules (like binder tabs) and the content within them.  One of my favorite things about Modules is that it gives the teacher the flexibility to set up the structure in the way that best meets the needs of his/her unique class!


The #AdoptionConsulting team at Instructure created this attached infographic, with links to additional relevant resources (including sample modules formats) to help bring the concept of Modules to life and to provide instructional support during an Adoption Consulting workshop on digital literacy! This visualization of the benefit of using modules is a great example of how our team of experts can help your organization to elevate their use of Instructure products.  I hope you find it helpful!


Image of Modules Infographic 

Potential Uses

  • Share this infographic with your colleagues who use Canvas
  • Apply the principles of organized modules in your own course
  • Elevate the Canvas student experience at your institution by using robust & consistent module organization


Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!




The Education Services department is always ready to help your organization create a cycle of success with Canvas through Training, Instructional Design, and Adoption Consulting! Our Adoption Consulting team helps customers deepen and elevate their use of Instructure products to meet pedagogical goals across their organization by offering customized consultation and targeted coaching. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or Michelle Lattke - Adoption Consulting Manager at

Getting assessment right can be a challenge. Especially in a busy primary school classroom where time is precious and the timetable action packed.

Making the most of snatched or pre-planned moments to work 1:1 with students to gauge how they are feeling about school while diagnosing exactly where they are at is an art. My hat gets taken off to teachers who manage so much with so little.

Thank goodness Canvas offers so many ways to assist with assessing. This gem of an article names up 10 great ways that could be adapted to use within Canvas for formative assessment

High quality formative assessment is key to great teaching and learning. Here’s another beauty about formative assessment which pays particular note to HOTS Higher Order Thinking Skills. Love it! I particularly like the point they make about great feedback having the potential to 'push our students to excel in ways they didn’t know they could`. Again I feel grateful that we have many facilities within Canvas to provide great feed-back and feed-forward.

Not much beats the magic that happens during the course of a school day, the gems of formative assessment that evolve during lessons between students and their teachers. This enables teachers to not only assess their students but their own teaching also.

New approaches to assessment are challenging, and learning new ways to do this within a Learning Management System can be a challenge and involve an initial commitment of time. That’s why it’s great that within the Canvas Community we can support each other to learn new skills, discover answers to questions, and become better at our craft so we can best support the learners in our charge.

This just popped into my inbox. Worth a read too 22 Simple Daily Assessment Strategies That Really Work . And some more loveliness here How to Fix 5 Common Formative Assessment Problems Teachers Have

I’m curious to hear how primary/elementary K-6 teachers have been using Canvas to assess their students.

Since May the Fourth was here last week, I was looking for something Star Wars related to send to staff in my weekly teaching and learning updates. I figured Yoda was the most relevant for teachers and when I began Googling Yoda quotes- of websites I found a plethora. (Including Learn to talk like Yoda)

So here goes the Canvas references!

No! Try not! Do or do not, there is no try.

We can always edit content, students can always edit work. The beauty of technological tools is editing, deleting, resubmitting, collaborating, differentiating and 24/7 access just to name a few things here. Gone are the days of buying two large sheets of cardboard in case you make a mistake on the first project and have to start all over again. The time saved means we can do!

Judge me by my size, do you?

Kids can do and create wonderful things when given the right tools, and the chance to create, choose and collaborate. Canvas gives students access to groups, peer assessment and the ability to comment on their own feedback in Speedgrader.

Always pass on what you have learned.

Commons! Need I say more here – we need to keep sharing, in particular Australian schools and new syllabus content etc. Think of the time saved.

Mind what you have learned. Save you it can.

Learning portfolios are always important for students – in particular if students are going for portfolio entry into University, applying for employment or presenting quality work to a real world audience.

For staff, rolling over and evaluating courses always comes to mind here. Sometimes the content doesn’t change, just the faces in front of you. In addition, if you have differentiated content within courses for some students, there are always others that will benefit from this work.

So certain were you. Go back and closer you must look.

Multiple attempts in assignments and being able to draft, give feedback and promote assessment for and as learning within courses, tasks and lessons. The ability to message students in Canvas is also of benefit here, some students still do not use social media (not a lot, but some) and this assists students to access these messages free of charge.

You will find only what you bring in.

This goes for anything – you will get out of Canvas exactly what you give. Same as your students – a little effort, a smile, a kind word, a flipped learning video – anything that makes their learning a happier time of their life. Sometimes teachers are their only constant in life at this stage.

Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future…

Ahhh beta release notes and Canvas ideas…

In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.

Not only for our students, and the ability to see that learning can be fun, but also for staff. This is where I see the Community. Sometimes I have no idea how to do something – the Community always has the answer.

For my students – content is always in their modules, thinking is modelled and alive.

If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are… a different game you should play.

Solutions to problems are sometimes found in different places, by different people – collaboration tools, online learning, and communication either face to face or online. Discussions always help and maybe a different direction is needed. Yet the goal is always the same- successful students performing at their best, and successful teachers feeling valued.

And the last one…When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.

I don't doubt that Yoda! Happy belated May the Fourth (be with you).


Aren’t we lucky to be teachers. Every day brings so many moments to celebrate with our learners. No two days are the same as we aim to get to know and support students in the best ways we can. Teachers never cease to amaze me with the creative ways they plan their programs to cater for all of the different needs and abilities in their classes. They are constantly on the lookout for new ideas and problem solving with colleagues to ensure each student is given the best chance to learn.


By differentiating learning as much as possible teachers are able to tailor their activities to suit where each student’s abilities are at, even if these abilities differ widely from others in the class.


Then teachers go the extra mile to personalise the learning, where they can, by including the student in planning how to best meet their needs by looking at their interests, how they work, and their goals.


Teaching is a real art. To juggle differentiating and personalising while covering a crowded curriculum and dealing with the daily ups and downs of school life takes a lot of skill and creativity.


That’s where Canvas can come in and help support teachers by providing ways to differentiate and personalise. This learning environment has so much potential for teachers to tap into to assign different tasks for individuals and groups, then embedding a variety of tools and challenges.


I recently found this great read by Amber Hainline to help me get an idea of how Canvas can help with Differentiation. Differentiating Assignments (k-12) in Canvas: Helping All Learners Be Successful  Well worth a read. I’d love to hear about how people are using Canvas to support differentiation and personalised learning in classes. Do you use groups? Favourite tricks? Tips and tricks to help the daily juggle?

I'm coming up to my first Canvas Community birthday and have lost count of the number of times I have delved in to learn something new, ask a question, meet new people, and share a laugh.


Isn't it great that we all have access to this treasure trove of goodness. This world where we can share ideas, problem solve, and make learning so much more fun for all the learners involved - including us teachers.


Then I discovered 'Insights' on my Canvas profile page. Now this seriously challenged me. I was surprised at how much of a consumer I was. So, I dipped my toe in the water and became more of a participant and realised that I didn't have to know all of the whizz-bang techy magic. I just needed to share my experience. Through doing that I have helped others and been helped myself. Paying it forward with sharing anecdotes, questions, provocations has not only made me a more active member of the Community but enriched me so much with the interactions that have come from these.


Here is my challenge to my fellow Community members - share an idea, ask a question, tell a story. Help to make it stronger, and more exciting.


“Because it proves that you don't need much to change the entire world for the better. You can start with the most ordinary ingredients. You can start with the world you've got.”
Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward

I use Canvas to help organize my 9th grade Health classes.   Canvas allows me to customize my lessons based on each students level of learning and allow them to see full assignments, and make choices in their assignments.  It allows me to hold the students accountable since they have submission dates.  It allows each student to track their own grades and gives them a chance to see how well they are doing on quizzes when the answers can be seen at the end of the test. It also allows for a safe environment for discussions when used in warm ups as I can see the threads. and students post.

Here is an example of a discussion question that sued threaded replies:

5 mental disorders warm up 

Vickie Waddell

Why I Use Canvas

Posted by Vickie Waddell Apr 17, 2018

I use Canvas to organize my AP Gov class.  This is a high achieving group and Canvas allows me to customize my lessons based on each students achievements.  It allows me to hold the students accountable because they cannot move on until they are finished or they can move ahead if they finish early.  It allows each student to control his/her pacing.

After returning from winter break in January, I decided to introduce my students to discussion posts on Canvas. One of my goals for this year has been to move away from the traditional weekly reading log and give students more alternatives to document their individual reading. My students have been using Canvas all year, but this feature was one I had yet to use with them. However, the idea of interacting with each other online was not entirely new to my class. I have used the Peer Editing feature on Canvas and even posted a blog about it earlier - Peer Editing Post.


I created two posts for them. One post was for a book of their choice that they read during the 3rd quarter. The other was a post about a novel study they did with their class book club. I set up the discussions in January at the start of the 3rd quarter and after about a month I started receiving notifications that things were being posted. Along with posting about their book, they also had to reply to at least two of their classmates regarding their posts. This is where the flaws in my plan and my lack of lessons and modeling caught up with me. 


Our school district has put a lot of effort into educating students about digital citizenship and being safe, responsible, and respectful online. The district has created courses for K-12 students to go through during the year and have also provided several opportunities for students and teachers to continue this discussion once the courses are completed. I went through these courses at the beginning of the year and would consistently address various digital citizenship issues afterwards. When January came, I assumed the students would be able to handle posting and replying in an online setting. 


The initial posts were fine with the exception of a few students who chose to just copy and paste a summary from a site such as Scholastic or Goodreads and pass it off as their own. This was a small problem and addressed on an individual basis.


What became a big problem was with the replies students were posting to each other. I did give them some guidelines as to what they should include in their response and also reminded them of how to act in an online setting. What I forgot to address was what they should not do, or include in their replies. Some students took it upon themselves to become the teacher and pick out every spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistake in posts by others, as well as, harshly critique the content of the post. This then lead to retaliation by the other student who in turn did the same and others also joined the replies to defend their classmates.


I was amazed at how quickly this spread and got out of hand. A year or two ago, I would have probably closed the discussion and stopped doing it entirely for the remainder of the year. I chose to go the other way and make it a learning experience for all of us. We quickly had a class meeting to discuss what had happened and how it made everybody feel. This was a great learning experience for all of us. The students realized how important it is to be aware of the differences between an online response and talking face to face. They have done peer editing with each other, but it was done as a spoken activity and not online. They were able to use facial expressions and tone of voice to get their meaning across without sounding too critical. This is something they can't do online and they realized that even though they did not mean to sound so critical in their replies this is how it was perceived. I also learned their perspective on social media and how they think you should react to others online. I was surprised at how they felt they needed to fight back and retaliate if someone attacked their posts. The idea of ignoring the post, unfollowing, or blocking the person was not even considered. 


Following our discussion, I taught and modeled how to reply in a respectful manner to other people's posts and also used some images that colleagues created to teach this concept. I wanted to post this to share how Canvas is a great tool for allowing students the platform to practice this kind of online communication and collaboration. We all make mistakes as we learn something new. For my students, taking part in online scholarly discussions was something new and something that will require some time and a lot of opportunities for them to get it right. Canvas gives them the platform and the safe atmosphere to make these mistakes, learn, and improve.

It’s still very early days for us using Canvas in Tasmania, and every day sees us discover new features and potential. Canvas is offering so much to our learners. I’m particularly enjoying the way teachers are making the most of Canvas to create courses as spaces to collaborate and share resources between schools.

Participating in the Canvas Community has also provided insight into some of the exciting ways people are using Canvas in their learning environments. We can’t thank the community enough for providing timely advice and support in so many ways. Some super ideas were shared here Best reasons for using Canvas K-6. Thanks for those!

As we are traveling around the state supporting schools with blended learning we are often asked for examples of Canvas being used in primary/elementary classrooms. Course design has become a hot topic with the home page layout being crucial to the way a course operates.

Instructional Designers  K-12  or Canvas User Engagement are you able to share any ideas here?

Please, please, please could we see some examples of the way people are using Canvas in primary/elementary schools? THANKS in advance. 

I am very excited about the new EquatIO LTI plugin that will seamlessly integrate with Canvas. This new app will be a game changer for math and science teachers and their students who want to create accessible (read aloud) digital math right from the Rich Content Editor.


Here’s a quick preview of how it will work.



To get started, simply click on the EquatIO icon.



On the Equation window, create sophisticated math and science notation using one of the built-in tools (Equation Editor, LaTeX Editor, Graph Editor, Handwriting Recognition, Speech Input).



Click INSERT MATH to add the equation to any announcement, assignment, discussion, content page, etc.


The EquatIO tool also works great in quizzes! Check out this quick video to see it in action.


The EquatIO integration with Canvas is expected to be available by the end of April, 2018. For more information about the EquatIO LTI plugin, please contact John McGowan.

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