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I am now entering my 2nd year teaching with canvas. I have used google classroom for the past 2 years and made the switch to canvas last school year. My main reason to make the switch was so that I could still teach and facilitate my class while I was on maternity leave. Canvas allowed me to house everything for my class in one place. I could assign work, give feedback, assign supplemental work & resources, grade the work & push it to my gradebook all in one place!!! It also allows me to reduce student internet traffic and better monitor technology usage by embeding my videos, PDFs and google products right on the page. This way students do not have to even leave the canvas website! And the best part is once you have your course built, you can copy it to the next year!!!! You can then spend the time you would use planning to do one of the other many things that you need to do!

Career and Technical Education affords K-12 educators the opportunity to offer students uniquely structured project-based exploration activities, often in group settings, while simultaneously engaging in one-to-one learning with others who have various learning styles and needs. Canvas in the classroom as a support resource provides relevance, definition, and structure to support K-12 learning as a unique user friendly online platform. The ability to transition from hands on creative projects to demonstrating technique with classroom technology like desktop computers, tablets, androids, and iphones, especially if managed and used properly, provide students an amazing way to learn. 

Tammy Hendershot

New to Canvas

Posted by Tammy Hendershot Jul 18, 2017

I have used Google classroom for two years.   I really enjoy the ease of use and the fact that when it is uploaded it is instant.  I find it a little restricting and unorganized.  I used classroom because when I took the Canvas pd last summer.  It was hard to build and required a lot of time.  The major drawback was that it did not integrate with google suite.  


I have attended several district pd's on Canvas this summer. I have learned that there are easier ways to create buttons, add assignments and connect to my google drive.   I have learned many new was to improve my google side of the equation.  I am taking other courses in Canvas this summer.  


I am very excited to dust off my old sandbox and rebuild the my canvas page.  II am ready  have signed up for additional work days offered by my district so that I can get it up and running by the begging of school.  Any ideas or apps that I can add on to make me and my students experience easier?

BJ Williams

A Canvas Masterpiece

Posted by BJ Williams Jul 18, 2017

Canvas... always used by painters to create grand masterpieces. People always say,"start with a clean canvas." Or to "canvas" an area-- to look over it carefully. While neither one actually describes the Canvas LMS exactly, the way I have used Canvas in the classroom embodies each one of the uses of canvas mentioned above.


Canvas is the platform for teachers to create grand masterpieces for their classes. How does this work? Think about it, every time you start a painting, you outline the actual image, you want to make sure the structure of the image is what you want it to be. That is where the layout comes in to play. Instructors have the capability to make the Canvas LMS layout extremely simple or complex for the audience that will be using it.


After getting the layout the way you want it, then comes the outlining of images and shapes and bringing the course to life. This is the module feature that I love about Canvas. I love that I can begin by creating a module that will guide my students' learning for the week or the unit. I can add all of the materials I need them to access using pages, assignments, quizzes, and external links and apps. Once the modules are complete and everything that I need. Once all has been loaded and its done, I know that I have taken this blank Canvas, and turned it into a course masterpiece.

Many teachers don't know who their substitute is and what they know. Some substitutes follow teachers plans exactly, others tell stories and some do the work they decided on. This makes it difficult to plan for a day of absence. That is until Canvas appeared! The novel way that I used Canvas is to relay the expectations I had for students when I wasn't able to be at school. I would write an announcement with their directions and tasks for the day. I let students comment and respond to other's comments- this way they could answer each other's questions. My students would check in there each time I was not at school for their directions. My students would just log in and do their assignments. If the substitute didn't like what they were doing they would show them the computer and say Ms. Maurer says this has to be done today. This past year the tasks that I left were done even with substitutes that are known to not follow plans. 

Katherine King

New to Canvas? Me too!!

Posted by Katherine King Jul 18, 2017

   I am new to Canvas in the sense that I have never used it in my class. I have gone through a training through my school that every teacher had to do. Doing this training, I earned my Canvas badge. I never used Canvas after that training. Sitting here today, I am going through the Canvas Expert course. I have learned a lot of new things that I would like to start implemented in my classroom this year.

   I like the feature in assignments where you can have group work. You can allow students to pick their groups and set a limit to how many students are in the group. I like the feature in the grade book where you can add comments and mark students completed or not. Canvas can seem scary at first with all of the different features. I would suggest taking a introductory course on Canvas to learn more about it.

   If you like google classroom, you will like Canvas as well. Canvas is a place to have your things more organized and be able to integrate more technology features in your work. I would highly recommend trying Canvas and playing around with all of the different features. 

Donnica Walls

Canvas is Awesome

Posted by Donnica Walls Jul 18, 2017

My experience with Canvas has been wonderful so far! My favorite part was being able to use the conference mode while I was out on leave. The conference mode allowed me to interact with my students two different ways. The first way was that I was able to live stream and teach to my students from my house while they were at school. I could upload my PowerPoint or PDF's and teach live through the conference. It also allowed my students to participate by using an icon to raise their hands, use their microphone to ask questions or to secretly ask questions o me that other students could not see. The other feature allowed me to video myself teaching and record it for the students to come back and watch it on their own time. This is an awesome feature and I recommend it to all teachers

I am pretty fluent in technology related things, especially compared to my current professional peers. So, as a tech leader, I walked into a Canvas Expert feeling confident that I could tackle the LMS and be equipped for my best year of digital-based instruction and facilitation yet. Well, my confidence has been softened by a whole new world of possibilities and returned me to the position of a true learner. I am no longer coasting thorugh a course but really wishing for more time to explore all the amazing features of Canvas. The positive is that there is so much I will be able to do now to streamline and enhance digital learning for my students. Some things I will be able to utilize for the first time or in better ways include: conferencing (to tutor, for students to practice presentations, guest speakers, & more), Google Integration (to embed better constructed documents and presentations, copy without sharing, and more), and Outcomes (to track mastery and create strategic groups).  While I have a lot to learn, I am really excited about being able to do all this with my students. 

LaVonna Felton

My Canvas Experience

Posted by LaVonna Felton Jul 18, 2017

I have been using Canvas for the past two years and it's becoming one of my best friends. I use Canvas daily in the classroom. Students are required to complete their warm-ups, quizzes and test through Canvas. This year, I also required to turn in their homework solutions through Canvas for credit as well. 


This upcoming school year, I plan on taking Canvas to the next level by really customizing Canvas as an online class for my students. I will be adding detailed modules that lay out their daily assignments. I'm looking forward to see how my students will react to my Canvas use expansion. 

Katherine King

King's take on Canvas

Posted by Katherine King Jul 18, 2017

I am new to Canvas in the sense that I have never used it in my class. I have gone through a training through my school that every teacher had to do. Doing this training, I earned my Canvas badge. I never used Canvas after that training. Sitting here today, I am going through the Canvas Expert course. I have learned a lot of new things that I would like to start implemented in my classroom this year. I like the feature in assignments where you can have group work. You can allow students to pick their groups and set a limit to how many students are in the group. I like the feature in the grade book where you can add comments and mark students completed or not. Canvas can seem scary at first with all of the different features. I would suggest taking a introductory course on Canvas to learn more about it. If you like google classroom, you will like Canvas as well. Canvas is a place to have your things more organized and be able to integrate more technology features in your work. I would highly recommend trying Canvas and playing around with all of the different features. 

      I will admit... I am a newbie to Canvas. As a kindergarten teacher, I never thought that Canvas would be an appropriate tool for my to use with my young students. I am moving down to pre-K for this upcoming school year and still struggle to see how I can effectively use Canvas with my students. After getting some advice and suggestions from other learners in a "Canvas Expert" class, I think I have finally figured out a way to be able to implement this great program and resource into my curriculum for my students: their parents!


      Just like any upper elementary, middle or high school course, there are standards, goals and expectations in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. While these young ones are probably not going to be able to maneuver a Canvas course on their own, there is most likely an adult in their life that can figure it out! Even if it is someone else clicking through each module, video, presentation or assignment, young students can still have exposure to the material that they are expected to learn in these early grades. In this case, using a Canvas course will also hold my students' family members accountable for their learning and progress.


      As I begin to build a course for my pre-K class for this year, I know that I need to consider the types of assignments and content that is included in my course. I plan on using modules to separate different skills/standards. I plan on using YouTube to help embed interactive and engaging content for my 3-5 year old students. I plan on trying to use mastery paths to provide extra practice or enrichment opportunities for each student. I plan on including assignments that require uploading videos or pictures of student work that is completed at home.


      I am open to any other advice, suggestions, tips! Has anyone else used a Canvas course for these pre-K or kindergarten and found it to be effective? What issues have you run into regarding parents using Canvas for their young children?

Very often times, I find myself promising a child "something in return" in an effort to get them to complete their work. Like "hey, if you'll do this make up assignment, I'll drop your lowest test score." Sometimes it works, sometimes, if they didn't care about the grade in the first place- they aren't going to care now. I teach a group of 120 students, at times even more. I don't always have the resources to buy prizes and I don't like throwing extra credit like free samples at Cosco. I was recently introduced to CanvaBadges at a class I took, where I received a few badges for some course completion. I get to stick them on my email signature and they show up in my Canvas profile. 


Many video games nowadays also give you badges for levels and challenges completed. I know my students love to "receive things" and show off their skills, thus I have made a series of Canvas badges to help keep the competitiveness alive and well in my classroom.


These badges will be assigned for different things, Mastery of Content, project completion, weekly challenges, etc. I also have the Harry Potter houses as my small group teams, so there will also be a badge for winning the TriWizard Tournaments each quarter. I am so excited about this and I know they will be too! They can look at each others' profiles and go home and show their parents the cool badges they earned. 


To get started using CanvaBadges, you will need to enable it as an external app on your canvas course. This awesome video got me started. I also used Google Drawings to make my badges but the external app also has a badge designer you can use as well.

I hope this gives you some ideas of how to use positive reinforcement to really challenge and get your students excited about learning and completing their work! 

Whitney Byers

Housing Secure Documents

Posted by Whitney Byers Jul 13, 2017

   I was recently asked by my principal to create a secure storage area where teachers and staff can access documents such as the School Policies, Lesson Plan Templates, Handbook, Class & Testing Schedules, Rosters, Calendars, etc. I looked at using a webpage as the storage area and there were many choices (Google Sites, Weebly, WikiSpaces, etc), I also considered using a password secured Google Folder in GAFE. After talking to my instructional specialists at the district level they suggested using the Learning Management System (LMS) Canvas. 

   Canvas is created as a secure storage area where teachers (and students) must log in with their district ID's. This LMS is also where you can manipulate Canvas to be the host for your website.  Therefore, the security is automatically present! Wow...first requirement complete without much work!

   The second requirement would be an ease of access to these documents. I learned how to create buttons and link them to each document (a canvas page) where staff can read and learn at their own pace. Staff will have access to the 'Canvas House' in the navigation column on the left of the Canvas screen. All they need to know is their log-in information for the cloud space housing Canvas as well as other Apps and important links to grading materials. The ease of use will be facilitated by an introductory course to Canvas during the first few workdays of the school year. Videos and Courses will also be available for those who need to work on their own time.

   The third requirement is for the teachers to be able to take documents and make them their own, i.e. Lesson Plan Templates, School Calendar and other documents they can take and customize to their own curriculum and schedule. This is where Google comes in. All of the documents can be housed in Google Drive (a secure location within GAFE in our district) and the staff can choose to view the original or make a copy and put it in their own Google folder to edit. 

   With these requirements in mind I set off on my journey to create a 'HOUSE' for our staff in Canvas. Not only will I be able to create this safe home for our documents but I will be mastering different sections of Canvas as I progress through the construction of this course. If you want to learn more about my progress and/or the completed 'house' feel free to send me an email.

Todd Nasife

Conferencing in Canvas

Posted by Todd Nasife Jul 11, 2017

The Conference feature in Canvas is something I recently discovered, but something I plan on using more in the future. As we started our review in April and May for the end of grade tests, I realized students were sending me a lot of messages to my Inbox with questions about review material after they got home from school. It was hard for me to answer their questions or explain a certain concept in an email, especially with math. I knew I could answer their questions the next day in school, but I decided to set up a conference in the evening once a week for students wanting extra review. I wanted to work with them while they were doing the review work at home and not waiting until the next day when the question they had might not be as fresh in their mind.

The setup is fairly simple and can be found by accessing this link.  I also want to mention that there is a record feature in the setup and would recommend selecting this. The recording are available for 14 days after the conference for students who cannot make the live session. 


What I want to highlight in this blog are some of the features on the main conferencing page and how they can be used to create a meaningful conference with your students.  There are a variety of layouts you can choose from, but I like the default layout with users and webcams on the left, the presentation screen in the middle, and a chat section to the right (see image below).


The first feature I like and find useful with student presentations is the User list on the left side of the screen. Here you can control the users access to the microphones, screen share, and  use the smiley face to get a variety of responses from students. I also like how  you can change who the presenter is by clicking on the little projector next to the name and move it to others. I really liked this feature because it allowed me to give control of the presentation board to the students for them to explain their work.



The presentation section in the middle of the screen has a variety of controls, including taking surveys from the users and uploading files that are either Office documents or a PDF. This is where problems can be displayed and students can show their work.



As I stated in the beginning, I discovered this feature towards the end of the year and did not have much time to work with it. I used it only three times, but found it very beneficial. I also only used it with math, so I am looking forward to trying it with other subjects.  

Sandra Reitzel

The Way I See It

Posted by Sandra Reitzel Jul 11, 2017

I have been using Canvas in my classroom for 2 years now. At first I just used it for quizzes, since my students had to take their Science EOG online that year, and I wanted them to be used to taking quizzes online. As the year went on I saw that Canvas modules were very useful for organizing content. I could post my slide presentations there, which helped my students follow along with instruction, or access the slides if they were absent that day.


As time went on I saw how nice it was to post assignments to Canvas for my students, instead of running off 170 sheets of paper I could post the assignments one time, and all of my students could access them, most of them even if they were absent that day.I will admit having that many students, and on an A day B day schedule, it is hard for me to remember who is absent. So this enables my students to keep up with the work. I started using Announcements to send reminders of important due dates and upcoming events. I love having the my tests and quizzes graded for me!


Now that I am becoming somewhat of an 'expert' using Canvas, I look forward to really seeing the power of this LMS. I look forward to using more Discussions with Rubrics, Collaborations, Mastery Paths, and streamlining my course. I have to say I can not relinquish total control of my teaching to an online system, but I can really target my individual student needs and make learning engaging and appropriate for all of my students. 

Hi Everyone,

This is my 1st blog post and I apologize if it duplicates thoughts that have been previously shared.  I have used CANVAS for 3 years and I love it!  Thank You.




Use shared teacher access to a course to enhance teacher mentoring, especially using questions banks for shared assessments.



Last year I mentored a new teacher in a course in which we both taught separated sections.  We functioned as a PLC.. Prior to last year my mentee used CANVAS, which our school district provided, to deliver course resources.  However, he did not have detailed CANVAS experience and resorted to paper quizzes for assessments.  Initially, I exported to him CANVAS quizzes I had developed, but we both wanted to use Question Banks.  Our system limitations coupled with the size of our courses led to difficulty using export/import.   The idea arose for him to have access to my course, which we found our system administrator could do for us.  Now my mentee had a course model to consult.  Happily, we found he could directly use my question bank for questions for his quizzes.  As his experience grew, he too began writing questions in our shared question banks.  This became an extremely valuable resource for us and most importantly our kids.  We believe this contributed to our students' best performance to date on our state's EOC.


I hope this post is helpful to some and might yield some comments on how we can extend this approach.  Cheets!

*Written with a middle school mindset!*


"Can I have another copy? I put it in my binder but it's not there." "I forgot that it was due today, can I turn it in tomorrow?" "Why is it the end of the semester and I am just finding out my child is failing?!" These are all things that most teachers have heard multiple times throughout the school year, and if you are like me, it makes me want to pull my hair out! The school provided planner is never used, the online grade book is never accessed, and there is a paper monster in everyone's backpack. This is why I get so excited about Canvas and wish more of my colleagues would utilize it in their daily instruction. Canvas provides our students with tools that can increase their organization and time management skills so that we may increase their accountability. 


Online Distribution and Submission

Every year it feels like I go through more paper than the year before, and every year it feels like administration gives fewer reams than the year before. By uploading articles and other resources I am saving not only trees but my students from having to keep up with multiple handouts (the horror!). Using the quiz element allows me to easily grade from any convenient location without having to lug a stack of 150+ tests around. Not to mention all submissions on Canvas are time stamped so setting deadlines and holding our students to meeting them is easier. No more arguments of "I turned it in but you must have lost it."



I love the calendar element for Canvas because it cuts out the "I didn't know it was due" excuse. At the beginning of each week, I have my students pull out their planners and write down all their assignments for the week looking at the Canvas calendar. This leads to great discussions on making to-do lists, prioritizing, and setting goals. These are all very valuable real-world skills they need to develop before even reaching high school. So many times teachers expect students to know how to manage their time, but don't realize the maturity needed to master the concept. Think about how many of your colleagues can't even keep up with meetings or grade submissions!


Parent App

I encourage parents at the beginning of the year to download the Canvas Parent App, and then I take it a step further and encourage them to set a reoccurring reminder on their phone for one evening each week. I tell them when this alarm goes off, I want them to grab their student and open up the Canvas App to have a discussion about the student's grades and upcoming assignments. I have found there are two extremes when it comes to middle school parents- those who expect their child to immediately be responsible time managers on the first day of sixth grade, and those who insist that the teacher write assignments in their student's planner each day as well as send a daily email with their grades and assignments all the way through 8th grade. Explaining to parents at the beginning of the year how they can use the app to have conversations with their students about grades and due dates in order to develop the child's organization skills have eliminated a lot of those headaches. Throwing out that it'll take stress off of them and help keep those daily conversations with their hormonal and moody preteen helps too!

"I have no idea what’s going to happen here, but it can’t be good,” said a visibly shaken Katie Wahl, 11, who according to reports began steeling herself for whatever god-awful group project, class discussion, or sharing of personal experiences the sixth-grade teacher might have in store for them."


Socratic seminars, while a valuable (and, as this Onion article implies, ubiquitous) classroom discussion tool, don't always go as planned. I haven't managed to pull one off, at least. Tips? 


One way I'm improving this deficit is by bringing it to my students' playing field. After all, they do get to send text to their classmates rather than having to talk in class. And I don't have to take furious notes on what each kid says, or print out a roster with a bunch of vague check-marks, or ask that one little girl in 4th block to please speak up, please, or have a kid in my homeroom repeat himself about 80 times before I finally get the presence of mind to actually listen to what he's saying, but you know, your mileage may vary. Additional benefits include another surprise grammar quiz after realizing that they still haven't learned "its" v. "it's" and ways to further myself as an educator by remembering to leave a clear rubric every time I see a "I agree with [REDACTED] because I like what they said" instead of a short answer style response with coherent structure and text evidence/supporting details for a a formal project grade. 


Naturally, this doesn't preclude me from hearing the sweet, sweet sound of 36 desks being laboriously dragged across the laminate into clunky oblong. Time to cut up some tennis balls. 

Isiah Willaims

My Journey to Canvas

Posted by Isiah Willaims Jul 11, 2017

My first year teaching I was a High School math teacher.  I was at an alternative school for pregnant teens.  Many of the students were not in attendance but wanted to be.  We had rolling admission at my school so I didn't know how many kids I would teaching from day to day and very little notice of who would leave.  We had attendance issues.  My students couldn't get to school because of health issues, appointments, or they had to stay home with their children.  I first started developing an online curriculum through using Wikispaces.  It worked! My students were able access all my material.  The problem was getting work turned in!  We had limited email space in my district and many of students were sending huge files.  I was trying to eliminate paper.  However, at the end of the semester most students would come class with a book full of completed work.  That's frustrating near of the year with grades on the line.  I did home visits for some kids and used Skype for others, but because of their medical issue it was hard to get in touch with them.  With the introduction to Canvas in my district it has made it so much easier for my students to retrieve and submit work, contact, and get feedback.  With incorporation of Google Apps, I can upload all of my docs so students can submit work.  I am an Engineering Teacher now, I still love using it.  Now I'm looking forward to the day that Canvas can interact with CAD files with fluidity.  

How do the "old-schoolers" like myself, use technology see and do math? Math is not just an answer but math is about the route you take to come to the solution. If you are like me, you like working things out on paper, or being able to highlight and manipulate a worksheet. Our students also like to do the same, well most of them. This year our state introduce the math EOG online. The look in there eyes were scary, as their teacher. We prepped them with prior online tests but when it comes to the real thing, it is just not the same as it was.


So what do we do in this time of the tech boom. We had a tech boom in the late 1990's and early 2000's but this is a tech boom for everyone, not just those in Silicon Valley. The answer might be scary but... we need to change our ways and learn to adapt. We have to modify and recreate lesson plans that we have using for 5,10, 15 years.


Using Canvas, we can find new and innovative ways to do such thing in math that we did not think if before. I have some examples below to help guide you (and me!) in this new age of school's relationship with technology.


1. Canvas has many great features. One is, discussions. Every have the situation of "why do we need this" or "why does it matter if I change a negative sign over an inequality...". This tool helps students express ideas and collaborate and ponder together. Students can receive a participation grade and "like" other students ideas. Play around and see what you can do!


2. Instant quiz results can either be a hindrance or a blessing. Canvas makes it easy to set parameters on what you want students to see after they quiz. Do you want them to see the correct answers, do you want them to be able to retake? The possibilities for quizzes is boundless.


3. Do you enjoy having a clean desk and classroom? Do you like not having stacks of paper? Well, Canvas is for you! The best part, Canvas can drop your grades right into your gradebook!


I hope you found some useful information and that you get out there and explore!

Alison Zorrilla

CTE & Canvas

Posted by Alison Zorrilla Jul 3, 2017

As CTE instructors we are expected to do everything using technology - it is a Career and TECHNICAL education class.  The problem is that students either get overwhelmed by to much technology or they just don't enjoy using technology.  In my 8th grade Exploring Careers and Employment class, I give my students the option of using the documents I provide in Canvas or to do it the old fashion way with paper and pencil.  Even though they may do their assignment using paper and pencil, they must still find a way to submit their assignment for grading in Canvas.  


Some of the students will write out their thoughts first on paper and pencil and then physically enter the information in the electronic document to submit.  Other students will utilize their mobile device to take a picture and then submit the document, while others will utilize the camera option on the laptop.  Still others will take their assignment home and scan the document to submit.  


Students like having the option of submitting their assignments in multiple ways and ways that suit them.  Canvas provides them with this options and still provides me, as the teacher, the ability to grade their submissions whether it be an electronic documents, picture or pdf scan.  I don't want them to feel completely overwhelmed when they come into my class and with all the options within canvas to submit assignments, students feel much more comfortable using it.

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