jwray
New Member

Elementary Examples

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I am looking for some best practices/examples for how your elementary teachers are using Canvas with students. All teachers currently have a required homepage but most have not stepped into the world of having students interact with Canvas. 

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chillman
Community Participant

I just got done training our Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers who had never used Canvas before.  I took them through a 4 week course on the principles and practices of distance education through Canvas.  We created home pages using Bitmoji rooms that linked to resources that they used as well as to their first module, so students didn't have to navigate through the modules on their own.  Teachers had voice and choice in the tools and many used H5P tools for drop and drag and interactive videos. They also used Studio quizzes and Seesaw, Flipgrids as well as lots of discussions.  If you want to see some screenshots of the examples, click here.

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mjoaquin
Advocate

Hi Julie!

My information comes from a site visit I did to another district. We too, were looking for ideas on elementary integration, and just the reality of what Canvas might look like in K-5. Forney ISD let us come out and visit, and I have to say, the classrooms we saw have it down! We saw Kindergartners using Canvas to navigate to Seesaw and share recordings to a Google folder. In a 4th grade class, the students worked in a blended model--going to Canvas for the assignment, working off line for portions, then submitting recorded reflections of their work. They were problem solving perimeter and area. They worked in partners, and had a set of shapes. One person solved the area the other the perimeter. Then they wrote word problems--solve for x, then submitted a video solving the partners problem. They also had ongoing discussion topics. In Math--a two word problems on Monday. Students had until Friday to solve the word problem, sharing their answer and their reasoning. They could then, after they had posted, respond to the answers of others. We also saw students working via Nearpod, within Canvas and another group doing literature circle research.  I realize this may not help much. But if you have a chance, there is a twitter chat every other Tuesday that is focused on Canvas in elementary.  @tmercer ‌ can share more about that! 

tmercer
New Member

Hello Julie!

  Elementary is a bit tricky.  We have some T's with very limited Tech skills and an LMS with so many capabilities.  There are archives of the chat in CanvasLIVE in events under #canvas4elem if you want to search conversations about former topics look in the comments I copy and paste them there.  I created the chat because finding elementary examples was pretty hard.  We have a pretty amazing tribe at #canvas4elem.  @toddsilvius is a moderater as well and he is doing the next one on Twitter on the 16th at 9EST.  People there are awesome resources.  

ysmalls
Community Champion

Hi jwray‌,

 @tmercer  is right Elementary is trickier!  What we tell our Elementary teachers when we train them that their main audience are the parents.  So we have them create a homepage but "buttons/images" that link to pages where the content lies.  They have basic content in those pages like homework rules, supplies needed, meet the teacher, links and stuff like that and we stress to them the importance of using the Calendar!

We tell them to think of the calendar as a student planner, instead of creating content we tell them to create "events" of what's going on in the classroom, this helps the students and parents know what is going on in the classroom.

Some have also loved the delayed feature in announcements.  They are able to create announcements all at once and delay the posting for when they want it release.

Hope this helps. 

For me though parents don't use it because I have been using Bloomz for communication.  So My focus is on the kids and content.  They have hardly used the homepages I made.  I found making homepages bewildered some with linking pages and such.  I've started using backwards design.  Start with assessment and create from there the before part.  It can be done so many ways which is a perk and a challenge all at the same time.

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bogardde
Community Participant

Hey Everyone, I'm pretty jazzed that teachers now can easily share photos with parents (ala Bloomz or Dojo) by making an Announcement in the Teacher App on your phone and choosing "Camera"! Take the photo, post the Announcement, and voila!

On the parent's side of things, the parent will log in with their observer account on the Student App. They can then easily access Announcements and check out the photos you post.

So you say you want to share photos with individual kids & their parents? No problem! Set up a separate "section" in your class for each student at the beginning of the year, and place the students in their individual sections. Announcements can be targeted to individual sections, so you can create an Announcement just for little Johnny and his folks, and only choose his section from a Sections dropdown menu.

Let parents dump all those annoying extra logins and make Canvas your one-stop parent communication shop 🙂

#canvas4elem

I'm going to have to check this out!  I love Bloomz but one and done would be much better!  #canvas4elem 

ksrogers
Community Participant

This is brilliant. We don't make the Canvas grade book visible to parents because we use a differnet Student Information System grade book and having two would be confusing. Having parents access the student app with their parent login works perfectly though. It allows them to see their child's work, and that's been a tough nut to crack at the elementary level! Thanks Deborah!

rislis
Community Champion

I am starting to feel like announcements will be super important at this level. We are mandating 3rd-12th grade Canvas communication as we contemplate September return to school and part of our guidelines will include pinned messages to courses. We definitely have to incorporate the student app more, too. Any other suggestions?

K12 Washington/Oregon Connections‌  K12 Strategic: Big Clients with Big IdeasK12 Texas Canvas User GroupK12 ANZNorth Carolina K12 Canvas UsersPriority Services K12‌  @jgosser ‌

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We just went Canvas K-12. I have some suggestions. What type of devices are the students using?

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rislis
Community Champion

Thanks, James!  6th-12th are on Chromebooks. 3rd-5th are a variety....hoping to utilize the Student App as much as possible.

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chillman
Community Participant

Preschool - 2nd grade: iPads

3rd - 12th - Chromebooks

chillman
Community Participant

I just got done training our Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers who had never used Canvas before.  I took them through a 4 week course on the principles and practices of distance education through Canvas.  We created home pages using Bitmoji rooms that linked to resources that they used as well as to their first module, so students didn't have to navigate through the modules on their own.  Teachers had voice and choice in the tools and many used H5P tools for drop and drag and interactive videos. They also used Studio quizzes and Seesaw, Flipgrids as well as lots of discussions.  If you want to see some screenshots of the examples, click here.

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chillman
Community Participant

I really wish that there were a lot of changes to the elementary layout rather than just the font change.  I have a lot of ideas on ways to make Canvas much more user friendly for elementary kids! One example would be using a RCE similar to Seesaw for student responses. 

rislis
Community Champion

So...true. Cute buttons on pages might look inviting, but what do they actually lead to that is user-friendly for littles?

Thanks for posting.

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chillman
Community Participant

We have emphasized building an online community which requires our students to interact with each other.  This is pretty difficult for our littles to do without a parent right by them or using an external tool such as Flipgrid. Even with video tutorials for our students, there are still multiple steps in the content editor to upload a video or an image. This task may seem simple for grades 3+; however, multi-step directions for a 4 year old are pretty difficult. (Go to the reply, click the three dots on the right, click studio, and then record. Then, save and reply). The old video in option in RCE is so unreliable that the frustration level for littles will get very high if their videos don't save the first time.

After our engage piece, we give our "I can statements." We have recorded ourselves or our bitmojis giving audio directions with captions.

From there, we have another page for our direct instruction.  No student interaction is needed for this piece; however, even a large button that has an arrow instead of the words next would be beneficial.

Then, we go into the guided and independent practice and without the use of external tools this is very difficult for littles to upload an assignment.

Finally we end in our launch for the day so if it is just a page with little interaction, no problem, but again discussions or submissions are pretty difficult.

IMHO, some of these things need to be developed pretty quickly because of the return to learn plan.  We can't expect parents to sit with their children to all of their distance learning, and without having met these students before to instruct or give guidance, it will be pretty difficult to move forward with the littles.

Also, the iOS Canvas app does not allow for many of the natural integrations for littles to occur because they also use an app. I know this is a lot of suggestions but wanted to throw out some ideas to suggest for making the elementary theme so much better than just a font change that does nothing to the delivery or ease of use for students.

Thank you for your response Carrie.  I wish there were more specific training geared toward TK-2.    Our huge K-12 district just adopted Canvas as our distance learning platform across the district, but all our training is SO impractical for our littlest learners.  Many of our families are Spanish Speaking and not technology trained so we can't rely on them, it has to be very direct, clear and user friendly what a child does every day and how.  Like "open, click on the red picture of the ladybug, and click next to complete all the slides for that day".  We used Peardeck with a daily google slides at the end of last year for distance learning, and that was more successful.  Anything that links to outside resources too much, opens new tabs you have to navigate back to, and such means kids just won't do it.   If you find anything that is not just theory based but practically speaking, "this is how it looks for a simple K, 1, 2 class of kids who can't read yet" I would love to hear it!  Also, I would love Canvas to have more trainings or resources sharing best practices of early elementary teachers using canvas.  Also when it's for distance learning, it's a whole other can of worms because we can't train the kids in class how to navigate the program initially... 

levinssr
New Member

I created a Bitmoji library classroom and embedded it for my Canvas front page. However, the accessibility was an issue. I was told that I cannot use pictures/words with links because they can't be read with the screen reader. I have to take my links off my Bitmoji so it's basically just an image now which defeats the purpose of the Bitmoji.

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