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2017

Typesetting mathematical notation can be a challenge. Many applications offer some form of "equation editor," but these editors are often limiting and cumbersome. Users who need to typeset a large number of equations or who need to use advanced notation will benefit from learning LaTeX.

 

All of my students (grades 7-12) learn to use LaTeX during the first month of school, and complete LaTeX projects throughout the year. Initially, I require them to create the entire LaTeX document from scratch. They begin by learning to create short documents, then progress to research papers, and finally slide presentations. Once they've learned the basics, I include a template, so they can use my code as a starting point.

 

I use the external app GitHub Social Coding to embed code directly in the Canvas Assignment. This allows students to easily copy and paste the code from the template into a text editor, since, as of right now, students cannot open .tex files on their school-issued Chromebooks. I have found this to be a more user-friendly approach for students than having them download the .tex file, then upload it into the LaTeX text editor.

 

  1. To embed the code, choose GitHub from the Rich Content Editor:
  2. Next, follow the prompts to name your code snippet and enter the code in the designated box:
  3. Then, copy the portion of the page URL beginning with your username:
  4. Choose Gist from the dropdown menu, then paste the above URL into the designated text box:
  5. Click Add to embed the code into your Canvas assignment. 

Voila!

 

My students can then log in to Overleaf (where they can work individually or collaboratively in real time) and paste the source code into the text editor.

 

Final Tip: It's a good idea to configure your assignment settings so that you restrict the file types students can submit. When creating LaTeX documents, you want them to upload a .pdf as their final output document and the .tex file if you wish to view their code. When compiling .tex files, however, several other files are created with various extensions. Some students may upload these by mistake, or try to cheat and create the document using Microsoft Word. The ability to limit submission file types is a wonderful feature that will save you a lot of headaches.

I've attached samples of the project instructions and the sample template, both in .tex and .pdf form. Happy typesetting!

As a former K12 teacher, I was always looking for Web 2.0 tools to use with my students. Imagine my excitement when I learned that the HTML editor allows for me to embed some of my favorite websites on a content page in Canvas. Even more excited, when I learned that students could interact with those websites without leaving Canvas platform. All the websites listed below have a "share" button which allows you to copy and paste the embed code inside a Canvas page. Not only a page, but anywhere you see the HTML editor. By the way, that lives in Announcements, Discussions, Quizzes, Assignments, Pages, and the Syllabus. Imagine the power these tools can bring to instruction. 

 

My top 5 favorite websites.

padlet logo Padlet is a free, online "virtual wall" where users can post notes. It's a great place to collect media, thoughts and files from students. The best part is that you can copy the share code and embed on a content page inside of Canvas. 

It works like a piece of paper. We give you an empty page - a padlet - and you can put whatever you like on it. Upload a video, add a recording, snap a selfie, add your own text, or upload documents, and voilà! A padlet is born. Make it even more beautiful by choosing custom wallpapers and themes or add your own. 

Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom:

  • Brainstorm topics of study
  • Collaborate on group projects
  • Thinking maps
  • Responses to reading assignment
  • Word wall
  • Exit tickets/Check-in or check-out
  • Classroom stations
  • Showcase work
  • Gather feedback

 

smore logoDesign beautiful online flyers and publish instantly. The days of posting a flyer around the neighborhood are over. Smore helps you create amazing pages that you’d be proud to share. Smore pages work flawlessly on your smartphone and tablet are interactive and beautiful inside of Canvas.
There is a free and paid version of Smore. There is also special pricing for educators, $59 a year. With a paid version of Smore, one can use custom backgrounds, make flyers private, see reports, make unlimited flyers, and access the Educator Hive for sharing and with other educators.

Ways to Use Smore in the Classroom:

  • Class Newsletters

  • Weekly Email for Students

  • Multimedia Presentations

  • Projects 

 

thinglink logoImagine taking students on a virtual tour of the San Diego Zoo, watching the stages of the butterfly life cycle, or listening to excerpts of Romeo and Juliet. All that is possible with ThingLink. ThingLink technology lets teachers create interactive images by embedding audio, video and rich media links. 
ThingLink has a free and paid version. There is a plan for educators, $35 a year. The paid version allows for more classes (5 vs. 1), custom icons, and full-screen presentation mode.

Ways to Use ThingLink in the Classroom:

  • Projects
  • Presentations
  • Virtual Tours
  • Professional Development

 

symbaloo logoSymbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web. You have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. With an account you can access your bookmarks from everywhere with any device and share your online resources with others. Teachers can create a free user account using SymbalooEDU. http://www.symbalooedu.com/about/

Ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom:

  • Project resources
  • Unit of Study resources
  • Course Resources
  • Teacher Resources
  • Library Database Resources
  • Professional Development Resources

 

poll everywhere logoPoll Everywhere is a platform that allows teachers to create polls that students can respond to via Poll Everywhere app, web browser, text message, or Twitter. Teachers can create and display questions on the fly, including Q&A and multiple choice polls. Questions can be presented from inside of Canvas.
Audience responses are displayed in real-time. Poll Everywhere has a free and paid version. NOTE: The paid version allows for censoring. 

Ways to Use Poll Everywhere in the Classroom:

  • Exit tickets
  • Lesson feedback
  • Subject matter review
  • Lesson starter/Bell ringer
  • Classroom decisions
  • Student progress (assignment completed)

Types of Polls Available for Embedding:

  • Multiple Choice polls
  • Word Cloud polls
  • Q&A polls
  • Rank Order polls
  • Open-Ended polls
  • NOT available for embedding: Clickable Image poll and Survey poll

 

If you are interested in seeing these five websites in action, be sure to go to the Commons and search for Interactive Webtools. The module contains other websites beside these five, so be sure to import the module into a course. Feel free to participate with the content. Next time you create instructional pages inside of Canvas, consider one of these five websites. 

The first year teacher is full of questions: Is my classroom organized properly? Have I mastered content standards well enough to teach them effectively? How will I contribute to my PLC? In the midst of question whirlwinds, teachers have initiatives sent down the pipeline that must be integrated into the classroom each year; some stick and others do not. My first year teaching, that initiative was Personalize Learning. I was not new to the concept but the application certainly posed some questions.

 

I spent hours working and reworking how a pathway would look in my head and how I could share my vision with my students. My first attempt involved making paper copies of each playlist task. As you can imagine, it did not take long before I realized I was killing my motivation and a small forest of trees. It was then that I attended a Canvas training at my school. The presenter was modeling a new feature called Mastery Pathways. Immediately, I fell in love. Not only were Mastery Paths a way to incorporate Personalized Learning, but it was fast and easy to grade!

 

Today I use Mastery Pathways for various classroom activities. However, my favorite use of this incredible tool is for re-looping a unit of study. The concept of a Mastery Pathway is pretty simple. You create an assessment (Quiz) in Canvas that you want to use as your benchmark. Students complete the quiz to the best of their ability and are given a score that shows their mastery. Then, based on their Quiz score, students are populated into pathways. The upper pathway is designed for students who have mastered the identified target. This pathway will involve an enrichment activity that you create in Canvas Assignments. I like to make this activity an introduction to our next unit of study. The middle pathway is designed for students who did not quite meet mastery. In this pathway you would add an assignment that reviews more abstract concepts these students might have missed. The lower pathway is designed for students who need more intensive review of the identified target. You would assign an overall review of unit concepts to this pathway. 

 

You can adjust the ranges of each pathway group using the points cut-off bars in the Mastery Pathways tab. To add an assignment to a particular pathway, you simply click the "+" button and find the assignment that you created. For my lower pathway, I also include a retest (Quiz) that is to be completed after the review assignment. This way students have a second opportunity to master content before building on it in another unit.

 

Attached are images of Mastery Paths built inside of a Quiz and the sequence of the Pathways as they appear in a Canvas Module. I hope you find success in  your Mastery Path journey!

Erica Starr

Incorporating Math Tools

Posted by Erica Starr Jun 27, 2017

I have begun to learn new math tools to incorporate within the Canvas platform.  One useful tool I have found is when I want to add equations to a quiz, they often come out looking clunky and incoherent.  However, using the app Equatio has helped my formulas to look the same as the way they are presented in the classroom.  The tool has a handwriting app that allows almost any mathematical formula to embed in the question.

 

Another tool that has been helpful for me to use has been the feature on the quizzes where you can assign a variable in an equation that is different for each student. Under the "quizzes" tab, click on "questions."  From there, you can add a new question type as "Formula Question."  Once you set the parameters for the variable, it will create a new variable for each student.  This will limit student cheating and allow for true demonstration of mastery for your students.

 

Canvas is also a unique place to import other technology tools into the website.  You may create a blend space and allow students to access different materials of review or practice problem sets.  I also like the features that allow you to build mastery paths in your course.  Many of my students require remediation, and I have a difficult time pushing students who have mastered a concept while still addressing students in need of remediation.  This feature will allow your students to get an individualized path that would benefit their needs.  

Marjorie Frick

Flipping Technology PD

Posted by Marjorie Frick Jun 27, 2017

   My position as as Technology Associate is one of staff support.  I am a resource to help teachers integrate all types of technology into their classrooms.  One of my favorite ways to use Canvas is to flip technology PD. I respect my teachers time and don't want to create a burden on them.

   Canvas offers an excellent opportunity to flip PD.  By creating content in advance and allowing teachers to work through a PD course on their own, you are differentiating instruction.  Teachers are at all different levels when it comes to their ability to understand and use technology.  They may be very tech savvy and pick up on new concepts quickly or they may be very hesitant to change their ways and embrace new ideas. I prefer to allow my teachers to have an advance exposure to technology PD.  Some of my teachers will be able to take off running on their own.  Others will need to have their hands held and a more in-dept face-to-face training.  At least these teachers will have a basic knowledge of what we are working on when we meet.  They can have specific questions prepared in advance.  Often they will send me these by email so that I can have additional materials ready to work with them.  

    I have found that my staff appreciates the opportunity to learn at their own pace and on their own time.  If they are not interested in learning a tool at all, they can just skip this PD.  I try to be open to my teachers' needs and not force any new tool on them.  However, I have seen that once one teacher on a team starts using something new, often others will be impressed and want to know more.  Setting up Conferences within Canvas is an excellent tool to assist with flipping PD.  I can schedule a time to meet individually or as a group.  Canvas offers me so many different ways to present information such as video, documents, audio, etc.

   Flipping the classroom is not just for students!  It works really well for teacher PD.

   types of locks

   Lately, I have heard about teachers using "Escape Room" type activities to increase student engagement for group practice of content information.  This can be done through Canvas using the module settings and very simple quiz questions.  (Fill in the blank can allow your answers to be anything!)

   To begin the teacher needs to decide how many "boxes" the students need to "unlock", this will determine the number of modules needed.  From here students will be given "clues" on paper or in a page in canvas.  The clues are designed to have the students practice a set skill on a set objective.  Once the students have solved the clue they will go to the quiz and put in their answer.  If the answer is not correct the quiz will give the students a grade of zero/not complete and this does not allow them to go on to the next "clue" in the next module.  The goal would be to have the groups competing against other groups to solve all the clues first.  

   Another layer could be added to this my using the mastery paths tool and let the quiz sent the students to a "time out page" that has a counter when they do not answer the quiz question correctly.  This idea is only limited by the designer's imagination.  So grab a friend and get it a try.

Daysha Meekins

Canvas saved my life!

Posted by Daysha Meekins Jun 21, 2017

Canvas saved my life! Canvas is a great tool to integrate in the classroom for the students, but especially the teacher! I have just finished a professional development for Canvas, and I am wondering why I didn't use Canvas in my classroom last year?! 

 

Going into the next school year I plan to use Canvas in my Spanish classroom. 

 

differentiation is super easy to do with Canvas! Each student can move along through modules at their own pace. This ensures that the students that may be having some trouble with an assignment can have the appropriate amount of time that they need to complete an assignment, while making sure that they "high fliers" are not getting bored. To make sure that the students have completed one task before moving on to the next, you have the option to label modules as prerequisites in the settings.

 

discussion is made easy in Canvas! In my Spanish classroom I plan to create topics for the students to discuss through the group discussion feature. There is also a setting that can be added for students to be required to reply prior to seeing their classmates post. How awesome is that?! This decreases the chances of them being able to copy from one of their peers.

 

Quizzes

The quizzes can be set to allow one attempt or multiple attempts. The quiz option also can grade itself if the quiz is multiple choice timesaver

 

Keeping in touch with parents

By implementing Canvas in my classroom, the students will have access to all work and notes at all times. There parents will also have access to the page to see what we are doing in class. They will also have access to my contact information through the homepage.

 

I am very excited to start using Canvas next school year!

Amanda Jones

New to Canvas?

Posted by Amanda Jones Jun 21, 2017

Until this week, I had little experience with Canvas, other than using it in Professional Development, basically as a student myself. I took a step outside of my comfort zone and signed up for a Canvas Expert course. This course pushed me to explore Canvas in ways I had never thought were possible. I learned so much about the functionality and uses of Canvas. When they call it an "Expert" course, they are not kidding. This course will definitely help you become more of an expert at utilizing all of the features of Canvas. There were times that I struggled and became frustrated, but in the end I figured out what was required and I feel so much more confident going into next school year.

 

My favorite new found features are the linked Mastery Connect function as well as the linked Google Drive function. I will definitely be using these external tools moving forward. You can import your assessments directly from Mastery Connect to be taken inside the Canvas LMS. This makes life so much easier! You can also add any document from Google Drive and Canvas automatically makes a copy for each student to turn in. I am so excited to try this out with my students!

 

If you are new to Canvas I highly suggest taking this course! If you don't feel comfortable taking an expert level course there are other courses that can help you become more confident in navigating Canvas and creating your class, such as Canvas Camp Out.

One thing that we do at my school every year is what we call heightened review. This occurs during the last two weeks of instruction before the students take their exams. Heightened review is when teachers try to review everything that has been covered during the entire school year within two weeks time. I always hated heightened review because I felt that it was a waste of times and teachers were just trying to squeeze as much information into the students' heads as possible with no real understanding of each students individualized needs. 

 

This year, I decided that we were no longer going to review all of the information from the entire year into those two weeks. Why? Because most student don't need to review ALL of the information. Why try to cram all of that information into two weeks when one student may only need to review a few things from the year and another student may need to review more? This is why I decided to use Canvas as a way to personalize heightened review for students. 

 

I decided to make a module that students had to work through. First, students read a passage in a google doc from an ELA mock EOG. Students had to show that they annotated the passage by submitting their google doc before they could move on to the next task. Students would then answer questions from the mock EOG under quizzes. The results from that quiz would tell them which standards they mastered and which ones they did not. Students would then complete a data tracker.  From there, students were given links to different blend spaces that focused on the standard that they received the lowest score in. Finally, students had to reassess their understanding of that standard on another quiz before moving on to the next passage. 

 

Using Canvas to personalize learning like this for my students made it much more meaningful for them and for me. We were able to really hone in on the areas that students actually had to review instead of wasting their time. This was just a start but as I learn more and more about Canvas, I have many ideas of how I can improve this even more for upcoming school year. 

Within my PLC we have effectively used Canvas modules to re-loop skills after students take a common assessment.  Each test item was linked to a standard and we set up Mastery Paths based on students' performance on each standard.  Using this method we have been able to effectively help both the struggling learners and the advanced learners.  

Joshua Howard

Canvas Assessments

Posted by Joshua Howard Jun 20, 2017

Canvas offers several assessment tools you can use to track and improve student learning in your courses.  Use the links below to find guides, walkthroughs, and videos on how to enable the full functionality of student learning assessment in Canvas, allowing you to monitor student progress across learning outcomes and target pedagogical interventions to improve student learning.

Whether you call it a mid-term, exam, quiz, test, evaluation, survey --- Canvas creates all assessments using the 'quizzes' tool.

 

Different types of Quizzes

There are 2 different quiz 'types' in Canvas:

  • Quiz: Most common assessment. Questions will automatically be evaluated based on right or wrong answers.
  • Survey: Most common form of evaluation. Can be administered anonymously. Questions will not be evaluated based on right or wrong answers. 

As always, quizzes and surveys can be graded or ungraded. Graded quizzes and surveys will be listed as 'assignments' and will have a column associated in the gradebook. Ungraded quizzes are considered practice quizzes.

Simply put, Canvas makes teaching and learning easier. It’s intuitive, collaborative, and you can access it anytime, anywhere, on any device. Being easy to learn, easy to implement, and radically easy to use makes Canvas that much easier for teachers to adopt. Simple is what Canvas does better than anyone else.

 

Organizing Notes

 

Every year I struggle with students taking and organizing effective notes and binders. I have tried various methods to help students stay organized. My first year I had students by a three-ring binder and page dividers, to find that students put papers anywhere in their binders and that the pages easily ripped out. I then tried to use an interactive notebook, which was a struggle because students never glued their work in neatly and did not keep up with the table of contents. Other note-taking strategies failed me as well. An effective notebook is both organized and filled with succinct notes. Luckily Canvas has helped my class to create a perfect balance.

 

Canvas for Organization

 

I have found that Canvas ha proven to be extremely effective in helping students organize their notes. By using the module tool in Canvas, I am able to neatly display each unit as a module. I can then use sub-headings to organize the different topics within each units. Within each topic I then post all of the materials, videos, slides, and quizzes. Having this structure allows students to easily see information displayed. This is very helpful when students are trying to study for a quiz or test because it allows them to focus on specific section while studying.

 

Canvas for Note-Taking

 

Canvas has also been very helpful for allowing students to take detailed and succinct notes. In class I post all of the notes online. When I am teaching I put a symbol next to what I want students to copy down. Since I post the notes online I make sure that students are only writing down what is more important, because students know they can go on Canvas to see the complete slides, which frees up time in class. I also don't have to worry about students gluing as many worksheets in their notebooks because I can post the sheets online for students to complete.

Tracey Surrett

Ever-Changing Quizzes

Posted by Tracey Surrett Jun 20, 2017

   If you teach multiple sections of the same class and are concerned with the possiblity of students from classes that meet early in the day sharing quiz questions and/or answers with their friends who come to your class later in the day, these features are for you! These features are also really helpful if you use Mastery Paths, or have other situation in which students do not all take quizzes simultaneously. 

question group

   When you create a quiz, instead of just typing in your questions, choose "New Question Group" and either name a new question group, or open an existing group of questions. Decide how many questions will be selected from the question group, and the point value of each question. To have a lower chance of students having the same questions on their quizzes, have a small number (compared to the total number in the group) assigned for each student. If I have 100 questions in the question group, and I only assign 5 to each student's quiz, the liklihood of students having the same questions on their quiz is really low. Personally, I'm not quite that concerned that I'm willing to create 95 additional quiz questions. I tend to put no more than double the total amount that will be assigned to each student into that question bank.

   quiz details

   As an added layer of security, the details section allows some helpful options. I like to shuffle answers, which changes the order of the answer choices for each student. The choices themselves do not change, but the order in which they appear shuffles each time the quiz is loaded. I also like to allow students to see their answers, but not until after everyone has taken the quiz. I use the "Show correct answers at" function and select a date at least one day after the quiz closes for student submissions. Students (and their parents) can still see where they went wrong on their quizzes, but not until after all students have taken the quiz

   If you allow students multiple attempts on a quiz, they are not guaranteed to have the same questions on the subsequent attempts than they did on their first time taking the quiz. My only caution is to make sure that all questions in a question group are a similar difficulty level. If you have some really easy questions and other really hard questions in the same group, student's scores might not vary based on their understanding as much as based on the difficulty of the questions.

As a middle school teacher, my lessons and ideas must always involve collaboration. Students cannot sit still, cannot stay quiet, and must be able to work with each other in order to achieve their goals. As I approached our unit on Animal Farm this year, I knew that I wanted my Honors students to read the novel in literature circles. But, with 43 students in a class, I did not want to make any copies or take up any work to grade. I also needed them to be able to work at their own pace and not be stalled waiting for other groups. Therefore, I turned to Canvas.

 

I set up the novel study through Pages so that I could give my students extremely clear directions and one page to refer back to when they reached a point of confusion. On the page, I divided the novel into sections and posted the instructions for the work. I linked the Google Docs to copy and the assignments for students to turn their documents into. I could post links to videos and presentations as well. I also used the groups feature to assign discussions within their small groups. 

 

At first, my students balked in the face of so much technology and complained. But, I did not let their initial shock and resistance deter me. I explained that they would need to adjust their thinking and figure out how to use the page in this way. After the first week, they were able to operate the page and assignments on their own. This method made them so much more independent and allowed me to float around the classroom and listen in as they explained their thinking to others. 

 

By the end of the unit, my students said that they loved being able to get such quick feedback on their work, knowing exactly where to go to find assignments, and that the directions were always available to them. Now that Canvas has been more fully integrated with Google, I look forward to being able to tweak this page and move it into modules with the documents already built into the pages and assignments. 

I am brand new to Canvas. In Tasmania we are aiming to transfer from our current LMS to the bright shiny world of Canvas very soon. Ideas, tips and tricks welcome. I'm already overwhelmed by the amazing support the Canvas Community offers. Can't wait to get my head around all that it offers - and meet inspiring people in the process.

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