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Community Participant

How to use canvas with 5-7 year old children?

Hi, My P-12 school has recently purchased canvas. I am looking for some examples and info about how to start to use canvas with our young children. The video of Mrs park's First Grade Class is lovely, but we really need more explicit info about how to build canvas tasks for children aged 5-7. Can anyone please suggest how to get started, and some online resources or examples?

Thanks, Fiona

28 Replies
Community Member

I teach 6th grade so this would be helpful for me to follow as well!  Great question!

Community Participant

  1. How are these young learners using hardware and software already?
  2. What do you imagine them being able to do?


Fiona, are your students using tablets, iPads, Chromebooks...? What standards can be met?

Have you considered creating simple lessons as webquests?

Tech Quests ( K-2, 3-5, 6-8 ) at

Canvas Commons Search: K-2, modules, specialty

Community Participant

One elementary teacher shared that she uses it with stations.  The home page is designed with images that represent various stations in the room.  Students visit a station, log in to Canvas on an iPad, click the applicable image for the station, and access all the materials they need for that station.  If the activity involves an app, she includes a link that opens that app on the iPad. 

The rich content editor has a video/audio record option.  The teacher can record a prompt, students listen and respond by recording an audio file or video file.

Community Champion

Great question.  We are in our first year of Canvas deployment.  We are doing OK with secondary, but are struggling a little bit with the K-5 group.  Teachers have been asked to create a home page which is largely used by parents to get information.  We don't use the gradebook with the K-5 students, we do with the older students.  I myself am looking for more solid examples of Canvas use in a K-5 environment.


Hi Fiona!

Some of this might be dependent on your curriculum goals and available devices, but here are a few examples of things I've developed, or things I've seen in other K-2 classrooms using Canvas.

1. Reading Log - As my students progressed through K-2 with different teachers and different abilities - one thing was constant. The required at home reading log:) I recently visited some Canvas rock stars who were using an ASSIGNMENT to record student independent reading. The teacher used the same, single assignment for the entire year. She limited the response to only media recorder and text. This allowed the students to respond via video, audio, or written words, depending on their comfort, preference, and abilities. The assignment was linked on the homepage, so anytime a student logged in, they just clicked the link and started talking or writing about what they were reading. Because this was a single assignment,  the teacher could easily view multiple submissions and give video feedback to the students. The teacher reported that the students really enjoyed watching videos of the teacher "talking to them" and she appreciated the extra insight she got into her students reading and comprehension compared to a box checked on a reading log.

A single assignment can also be used to record reading. Students can video themselves reading, listen to it, select the best, and submit to you to review.

2. Discussion Posts - Not traditionally thought of as a an elementary feature, but it is really useful and easy - especially in the mobile app. Students have the option to reply with pictures, video, or text. I like using discussions for students to share their world and how it connects to the learning goal with students around them. One example I've seen is students taking pictures of geometric shapes they find in their home, identifying them, and posting to the group for others to see. I also have seen them used for practicing grammar in context. Let's say you want students to work on using descriptive words, and also proper punctuation. Post an interesting image, and ask students to write about it - using descriptive words and minding their punctuation. You can even deliver these instructions using video. You can set the discussion so students can't see each others post until they post their own, or you can allow them to see right away if some students would benefit from modeling. In 1st grade, I've seen this used in that way, however student were just learning how to log in, so every student logged in using the same account. Students typed their name or said their name if using video at the beginning of the post.  By the end of the year, the students were logging in independently with their own account and posting to discussions using text, video and images.

3. Resource providing - As you mentioned in your post, Canvas is a great way to post resources to be used by parents at home, but it also a great place to post digital resources that you might use in class that day, or post resources for students to use. I have see some teachers create a page for every day with the resources that they use, students might need to access, etc. Every day, the make that "daily page" their home page, so when parents/students log in to canvas, they are seeing the work of the day. It just takes a few seconds to change the home page from page settings. Also - if you create an event on the calendar with content, or an assignment with no submission requirement - the content can be launched and viewed from the calendar itself. So, some teachers I have worked with preferred this method. Students/parents just go to the calendar, click on the day, and they are in the right place. (Also helps with Calendar skills)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these ideas! Let me know how I can help, and please share your successes!

Thanks for these wonderful ideas. I am just getting Levano Ideapad Miix 300's with my class and excited to learn new ways to use our devices. These ideas will certainly get me started! Look forward to more ideas and maybe even adding a few of my own!


These are awesome suggestions! I teach in higher ed, and am also our Canvas Admin and provider of professional development for faculty. I started perusing this discussion because many things that work in K-12, also work in higher ed. Learners are learners! Your suggestions, and others in this discussion, amply prove I was right.

Some of the suggestions I would add (or are amplifications on yours) for you and Fiona include:

  • Keep navigation simple: I love your suggestion of rotating out home pages, and this is easy in Canvas. As a work-flow suggestion I would create an unpublished "Teacher's Resources" module to house the various home pages so that they are unavailable to students, but are always available to the teacher for use and modification. You can learn more about how unpublished content works @How do I use Draft State in Pages?  Furthermore, I would severely limit the number of links displayed in the left-side course navigation menu. Work from Modules, because any content posted in a published module are always available to the student, even when you have hidden "Pages", "Assignments", "Quizzes" etc. in the navigation menu. Learn more @What are Modules for instructors?
  • Use lots of Images: Use them to convey content and ideas, use them for navigation, use them to engage students. Images are a double-edged sword though. You must assure that your classroom is accessible to all students. Use alt-text, if the image is used to convey content, provide that content in an alternate format. You can learn more about accessibility in Canvas @General Accessibility Design Guidelines . If you want to learn more about some of the great tricks that can be done with images in Canvas using the HTML Editor (for more adventurous faculty), enroll in the CanvasHacks Demo Course. This open Canvas course incluses how-tos for many hacks and you don't need to be a coder to use most of them. Enroll @
  • Use Canvas as a platform to begin teaching 21st Century Skills: you alluded to some of this in your posting, but Canvas can be a great tool for teaching youngsters how to use computers, how to navigate on the internet, how to communicate digitally, how to upload and download files, and much more. Within a Canvas classroom, you can create a Collaboration space for groups of student. A Collaboration space is like a mini Canvas Classroom where students can create content together. You can learn more about Collaboration @What are Collaborations?

Finally, here is a link to a good YouTube video about Canvas and K-12: Get to know Canvas K-12 - YouTube

And remember, this K-12 Community Group is a great resource for learning more!

Agent K

Community Participant

Hi, we have begun using Canvas from Years 5-12 but I have been experimenting with it in Year 2. I have set their Courses with links to sites that we are using in class so that we don't have students ending up all over the place. Students are confident that the sites are useful and can access them again on their own. Also I use quizlets for basic drills - sight words and times tables.

The other day I gave the students an assignment to record a story (not read a story) and afterwards we listened to them again to compare with their written piece. It was perfect to help the students become self-reflective learners. That's why I love Canvas - and why I'll try to find more and more ways to differentiate their learning experience so that all my students can show what they know and express it in multiple ways.

Nice, Phillip!

You are teaching skills that will last a life time. Canvas is a great tool for accomplishing this, because a Canvas classroom can be as simple or complex as needed, and can be used to stepladder concepts and skills.