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All Places > K-12 > Blog > 2018 > May

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

And a belated find: How To Quickly and Successfully Measure Learners' Understanding  

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


I've collected some ways of assessing using Canvas here Assessment and the little people - Part Two 

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?

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