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10 Posts authored by: Bobby Pedersen

I love creating environments for students to write creatively. Seeing students engage with words and proudly share their work makes me burst with the joy of teaching. Recently I was asked to share some ideas on how to use Canvas for teaching writing. Here are some of the ideas that were shared:

Writing Logs

  • Set up each student with their own ongoing discussion with the teacher or a peer with students attaching a photo, or word doc of their drafts, editing process or published writing. 
  • Use the recording tool to record the students reading their writing aloud. Encourage expression, use of punctuation, editing when it doesn't make sense...
  • Evidence of different text types developing during the year creates a mini portfolio.

How do I manually assign students to groups? 

How do I create a group discussion in a course?  


Multiple users can work together on the same document at the same time. These are saved in real-time, meaning a change made by any of its users will be immediately visible to everyone.

Use Collaborations to:

  • Have a ‘Word War’ or debate with pairs or small groups of students. 
  • Students could share work into a collaborative powerpoint
  • Insert mock texts with deliberate errors for students to be detectives to find the errors.
  • Copy and paste notes that everyone can access.
  • Share bullet-point lists or agendas for upcoming synchronous class or group time or meetings.
  • Create a text-based whiteboard that everyone in the classroom can see and refer to later.

Collaborations – Changed my world!  


Peer Reviews

  • A peer review assignment enables students to provide feedback on another student's assignment submission.
  • Peer reviews are a tool that allows communication between students and can help students master the concepts of a course and learn from each other.

Students must be well trained for this!

How do I use peer review assignments in a course? 

Writing Displays

  • Use online embedded tools like padlet to showcase published writing for the class to enjoy, or for the school newsletter or website. 
  • Encourage the students to record themselves reading their writing. Upload to Padlet or class Canvas page. 

Padlet is the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world 

TeachersFirst Review - Padlet  


  • Use websites like Pobble 365 ( or Literacy Shed (Home - THE LITERACY SHED) to provide provocative images and wordy challenges.
  • Harness discussions and assignments within Canvas to collect students ideas based on these provocations.   

Quick writes

  • Use images in a discussion to set criteria for each quick write to include eg. two onomatopoeia, three adverbs, one simile, four adjectives, two headings...

How do I create a discussion as an instructor? 

50 Quick Writing Prompts for Elementary School Children  

Word Collections

Goal setting and reflections

Use discussions, Microsoft forms or online tools as exit tickets to set goals or reflect on. 

Canvas “hearts” Microsoft Office365 


Interviews with authors

Embed videos of popular authors to:

  • spark discussion
  • brainstorm other questions to ask
  • students interview each other based on their own writing

How do I link to a YouTube video in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor? 

Bump it Up

  • Students could access this from any location using their device, compared to one location in the classroom.
  • Place a piece of anonymous student work on the discussion board and then ask students to discuss the elements that they can see being used in the piece of work. e.g. varied sentences are used, paragraphs with one idea etc. Students could then give the piece of work a 1, 2 or 3.
  • This process would be repeated with another two examples making sure as a teacher you have a low, medium and high example.
  • Students then use the discussion points as a way of working out where their individual work sits.
  • Once they have assessed where their work sits they check the example and read the discussion points to work out what they need to do to bump up their work.

Thanks Tameika Munday for your ideas here and Canvas FastTrack Ep. 25 - Gallery Stroll 


Which ideas will you start implementing and what support might you need?



Please find the infographic based on this blog created by the talented Erin Keefe.

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. 

10 Useful Blog Content Writing Tips for Beginning Student Bloggers  


After a few week the students had ALL produced the most entertaining work. So much variety. And best of all each student was seen as a unique, creative, interesting and successful individual. I had taught a lot of these students previously and was impressed with how each student took the opportunity to showcase themselves so creatively. Hats off to you Philly Illingworth!

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 

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

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 schools? THANKS in advance. 

Bobby Pedersen

ctrl K - you rock!

Posted by Bobby Pedersen Feb 24, 2018

Recently a colleague introduced me to ctrl K in Canvas. The magic it can do is pretty cool.

How did we get anything done without it?


For example, a friend I was working with was annoyed with how the links they had put in to their Canvas page were taking them out of Canvas. This was not the end of the world as the back arrow brought them back again BUT if they needed to fill in fields in the new site then this information would be lost on the return back to Canvas. With ctrl K we highlighted the link within the page and made the ‘Target’ become a ‘new window’. Hey presto Canvas stays where it is and the link takes the user to a new window.


Then another colleague knew that their page was way too long and required a lot of scrolling. Using ctrl K they could link to heading bookmarks on the page or create ‘top’ ‘bottom’ of page links.


This might come in handy to have it explained better. @Use Ctrl+K to insert/modify a hyperlink (instead of code) - Meta Stack Exchange 


Has anyone else got a different trick for using ctrl K?

Thank you Tina ctrl K Queen!

"We think many teachers live in their LMSes. Move a couch in, some mood lighting and flowers in that corner over there and it's practically home." 



I stumbled on this quote today and had to share. Any other pearls of wisdom out there?

I’ve been getting my head around how to use Canvas lately and thoroughly enjoying how intuitive it is and how crisp it looks. So, there I was feeling jolly pleased with mastering Pages and Modules, experimenting with Assignments, using Discussions and Announcements.


Somehow through all of this new learning I had managed to overlook the magic of Collaborations. Silly me! The joy I felt with creating my first shared Word doc through Canvas was huge. Thank you Alannah for showing me! The potential of Collaborations is massive for all learners involved. I can’t wait to use it more, and I can’t wait to show more of my colleagues.

@How do I create a Microsoft Office 365 collaboration as an instructor?  


As a Canvas newbie I could be missing a lot of the potential uses of Collaborations. How are others using Collaborations within their Canvas courses? I’m interested to hear how Collaborations are used in different areas of school organisations eg. Administration, Staff Professional Development, K-6 classes etc.


Great group to belong to here Canvas User Group: Office 365 


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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