Displaying items by tag: Canvas


Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You made it. Can you believe we’re even talking about this right now? It’s the end of the year. When approached with the opportunity to teach during a school year that would look differently than anything you learned about in college or experienced in your career,  you rose to the occasion. A consummate professional, you took it all in stride because you know just how important our work is. And, while none of it came easily, you made a difference.

We’re not talking about a pandemic; we’re talking about Canvas. 

You Can Take It All with You

Starting your school year with Canvas, like many other teachers, you probably operated on a “How can I make this?” basis in Canvas. Ever since Canvas ASCEND last summer, that has been the question. Throughout your professional career, there were materials, projects, activities, and lessons you used in your class. By the end of this school year, your awesome work has more than likely found its way to Canvas, and while you will always find yourself making new materials for your classes, your relationship with Canvas can look a little different next year. You learned a great deal along the way. 

Your relationship with Canvas is about to enter a “How can I make this better?” phase.

Making It Better Starts with Importing Your Course to Commons

As a teacher, there will always be units of instruction that you feel like tearing down to the foundation and rebuilding. But, that’s certainly not the case with everything you’ve built. Next school year, rather than reinventing the wheel in your classroom and starting from scratch, Canvas will allow you to pick up where you left off this year. Canvas makes this a really easy three click process.

Step 1: Go into the course you want to backup and click “Settings:”

This button will show up at the bottom of the menu buttons on the left of your screen.

Step 2: Click “Share to Commons:”

This button will be in the upper right corner of your screen.

Step 3: Check the Appropriate Settings and Click “Share:”

Select who you would like to be able to view this resource (more than likely, you will want this to be “Only Me;” however, you have the option to allow other WSD teachers or any Canvas educator to see it, as well. Be sure to add a little description to your course, add an image for it, and select the grade. Lastly, click “Share,” the blue button in the bottom right corner.

That’s it! You’re ready for next year!

Wrapping Up

After exporting your course to Canvas, you will no longer exist solely in the “How can I make this” phase but make your way into the “How can I make this better?” world. All teachers improve their craft in the classroom each year, and now that your classroom includes a physical and digital space, you’ve given yourself more room to grow. 

To use this material next year, simply log back into your Canvas account, click “Commons,” click “Shared,” select the course, click “Import/Download,” and throw it into your Sandbox (remember, it’s always best to develop your materials in your Sandbox before copying them to a live course; this helps avoid learner confusion).

As always, if you have any questions, fire off an email to your ISM or EdTech Coach! They would LOVE to hear from you.

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Sometimes the best way to say something is actually to show something. A GIF is a moving picture. Unlike a movie (mp4 or MOV), a GIF will play over and over without the need to press play. Click here for a tutorial on how to make a GIF in WeVideo.


Cool, but how would I use this?

Ways to use a GIF


Showing students where to click or how to submit something on canvas:

Remind students of something, or send a quick message.




Making flash cards.




There is a new submission type in Canvas called Student Annotation. Teachers are now able to add “student annotation” as a submission type for all assignments. This enables students to annotate .pdf documents that teachers choose using fully native and functional Canvas tools (for example, “missing” and “late” statuses will be automatically applied for assignments with due dates). Here’s a quick video detailing how to set up an assignment.


What will happen to my Canvas Course?


Wondering what to expect in your Canvas courses as the end of the school year approaches? Have no fear! We have you covered! Take a look at this End of Year Guide for Canvas written by our Canvas Team. 


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Grading in Canvas is simple, and a great way to simplify one aspect of our jobs as educators! This week I’d like to share some quick tips and tricks when it comes to utilizing speedgrader, especially when it comes to leaving feedback.  Let’s do it! 


Sorting Students

One way to speed up the grading process is to organize the order in which students appear in the speedgrader.  To do this, you’ll select the settings option in speedgrader, and open the options tab.  There, you can have speedgrader sort students by those who have submissions that need grading, no submissions, and already graded.  This makes flipping through submissions quick and easy! Once you have this set up, speedgrader will organize students this way from now on.  

Issuing Feedback 

For me, one of the hardest parts about soft closure last spring (and my school has had several this year as well!) was being able to give helpful feedback to students.  This took a lot of time and energy, and often there seemed to be miscommunication.  NOT ANYMORE! Speedgrader offers a myriad of options for issuing feedback, and I utilize all of them.  


Option 1: Attaching a file
This is helpful if a student needs to be reminded about specific instructions, rubrics, etc.  By clicking on the paperclip icon, you can attach any file.

Option 2: Video feedback

This is my most used feedback tool! This tool allows you to record audio and visual information to send to your students.  For example, a math teacher could demonstrate how to do a problem correctly! This tool allows me to explain what my students need to know or correct, but allows them to see my face! No more fear of the red pen.  This makes the feedback more friendly and eliminates possible misunderstandings. So many options here, and all you need is a webcam (our Chromebooks have those)!

Option 3: Voice Recording

By clicking on the speaker icon, you can record yourself explaining the feedback.  This works like the video recording, minus the visual component.  I find that speaking the feedback, rather than typing it out, is quicker and more efficient.  This would also be a great way to help give feedback to students who may struggle with reading comprehension!

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Today’s Triple T is an add-on to last week’s Triple T!  What are the secrets to easy, eye-catching designs that will draw attention from any audience?

The secret to any good design lies in the way its visual elements are organized and positioned in relation to each other. This is exactly what layout design is all about. One of the easiest ways to achieve an organized design is to apply a grid system. Grids are the backbone of all layouts, infographics, fliers, and presentations. It’s a tried and tested technique.

Layout design involves using one grid or a group of grids, depending on what needs to be achieved. The grid system helps align elements based on sequenced columns and rows. We use this column-based structure to place text, images, and functions in a consistent way throughout the design.

Adobe Spark Grid Layout

Start from scratch

Sometimes a template is exactly what you need, or sometimes you have ideas of your own. That is where the background layout comes into play. You can select your layout and then add your own elements.

These layouts can be used for all sorts of creations by you and your students. (Remember, everyone has full access to this awesome tool!) Here are a few ideas for your classroom:

  • Brochures
  • Photo collage
  • Display student work
  • Invitations
  • Book report magazine cover
  • Cereal box covers
  • Classroom newsletter
  • Memes
  • Book covers
  • Comic strips
  • Motivational quote cards
  • Class highlights
  • The list goes on…..

Watch this short tutorial video to find out exactly where these layouts are located. You’ll also find out a few tips and tricks along the way! Happy “Sparking’ !

To download and share the design, click on the download option in the upper right corner.


PNG and JPG work great for sharing on your website or through digital means.

PDF is excellent for printing or higher resolution uses.

Click start download to create the file.

Canvas - All Those Unpublished Assignments

Now that it’s the beginning of 4th quarter, teachers have probably noticed all the unpublished assignments that they have imported in their course showing up on the Canvas Gradebook. Since there is no due date for those assignments, Canvas just assumes that you will use them in the 4th quarter. Have no fear, if they are unpublished students can’t see them, and they are easy to remove. In the View menu go in and click to remove the Unpublished Assignments. 

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For this month we’ll be focusing on Nearpod. All teachers have full Nearpod licenses with tons of additional content available through their library. Nearpod is like the Swiss Army tool of EdTech. So many elements of teaching can be accomplished with Nearpod, yet it is familiar and simple to use. 

Nearpod Library 

Using the Nearpod Library

There are so many lessons, videos, and activities available in the Nearpod library that you can easily add and customize in your own library. Start by searching out a topic in the Nearpod library and use the filters on the left to fine tune your search by subject and grade level. Here’s a quick video on how to find and add videos to “My Library.” Once you have something in your library you can edit and adjust the lesson as you’d like. Take a look at all the different interactive lessons, videos, and activities. Chances are you will find a few to use this week.

Add a Nearpod Lesson to Canvas


You can add a video or lesson to your Canvas course. Start by creating an assignment as you normally would. Add an assignment title, instructions, points, and due dates. In the Submission Type field select External Tool. Click on Find. Look for Nearpod in the list. 


Find the lesson you’d like and choose Student-Paced. (You can use Live Participation if you have the students go through it with you.)  Then hit Save.  You will see a URL in the link box. If you’d like the activity to load a new tab select the box. (This is highly recommended for Nearpod Lessons.)

A student will go into the assignment and their Name information will be loaded from Canvas. This video shows you the process and what it looks like to grade the activity.

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It’s a new semester! For some, it’s the start of a new course and for most, it’s a halfway point. In both situations, it’s a great time to try some new changes and expand your EdTech ability.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your EdTech coach in your building with any questions.

Second Semester Begins 

The New Rich Content Editor (RCE)

A rich content editor allows you to create content without writing directly in HTML and to add multiple types of media. Over the weekend, Canvas made their “New RCE” the default RCE. While all the same features and abilities still exist, the overall look is simplified. 

Here’s a quick video from ISM Blake Pope demonstrating how to use the New RCE. If you’d like a bit more information you can also watch this video. So fire up your creative juices and start adding content to all your pages, announcements, assignments, and anywhere else Canvas allows you to make your mark using the New RCE. If you’d like even more information you can read Canvas’ nifty write-up on using the tool as well.

Chrome Music Lab

Looking for a great activity to engage students while discussing musical elements such as tone, tempo, or voice? Interested in a new way to teach fractions using the timing of notes? Want to discuss the science of sound using waves, frequencies, and energy? Or compare music to the written word? There’s so much to be discovered with music. Google has a bunch of tools (they call them Experiments) that can be used to create and learn about music. These tools are simple and easy to pick up and can be used by all ages. Check them out and see where you might be able to add them in your instruction. For some great ideas on how to implement them in your classroom check out this blog post.

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We hope that you were able to use the information that we shared last week.  Our goal with this email is to share some information that we feel is particularly important at this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your EdTech coach in your building with any questions.

Semester Transition Part 2 

Edit Assignment Dates

Migrating content from one course to another (or semester) can bring in assignments that need some dates changed or shifted. Editing dates for multiple assignments can be time consuming because opening each assignment to make the due date changes is a slow process. Thankfully, Canvas has a quick solution for adjusting dates for multiple assignments.

Here’s a quick video demonstrating how to use the Edit Assignment Dates feature on the Assignments page. You can batch edit or just shift the dates as needed. If you’d like more information you can read Canvas’ nifty write up on using the tool as well.

Google Workspace (GSuite) Templates

Using the Google Suite with students is a great way to give them a creative and fun way to express themselves and demonstrate their knowledge. Finding a template that is built and ready to go makes it even easier. Here are a few great sites to find free templates for teachers.

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It’s a new year and that means new traditions. In order to share more info with each of you, we will be sending a tech tip every Tuesday. We wanted a unique name so we called it Tech Tip Tuesday! This will be a fountain of knowledge for you to indulge in every week. 


Semester Transition 


Move your content

With the new semester looming, you’re probably getting anxious to start setting up your new semester course. The courses are created and can be found by going to your courses tab in Canvas. Don’t forget to publish the courses for your students before the first day of 2nd Semester. 

Here’s a quick video to demonstrate how to migrate your content from 1st Semester’s course to 2nd Semester. This transition is a great time to assess what is working in your courses and remove extra or unused materials.  Using the ‘Import Existing Content’ button will allow you to add all content or select specific content to move over. 

EdTech Coaches

Each school has one or more EdTech Coaches. As you have questions about technology in your classroom it’s important to rely on their expertise to help you. EdTech Coaches are trained on new technologies and have access to a network of Coaches throughout the district. A listing of all EdTech Coaches can be found here. A user support specialist or Tech at your school can help you get the technology up and running. If you are having technical trouble such as connectivity issues, power, or basic functionality, you will turn to your Tech (USSP). If it’s how I teach or use this tool in my instruction you will want to turn to your EdTech Coach. 


Student View in Canvas

A recent update in  Canvas has removed the Student View button from the Home Page. Fear not, you can still use Student View. It’s now contained at the top of every content page. Just look for the neat-looking eyeglasses icon. This will put you into Student View. You can still find the regular link on the course settings page. We encourage you to use Student View every time you publish new content to make sure it’s showing up the way you want students to see it.



Canvas Help Desk

We are excited to announce a new, Live Help option for teachers, students, and parents. It is available from 12pm - 8pm on Weekdays. You can contact the help desk by emailing or calling (801) 476-7999. A friendly support staff will be on the other end to help answer your questions. Please utilize and share this information with those who may need it. 

Important Dates in Canvas

Saturday, Jan 16th

  • Canvas syncing ends for all first-semester courses and grading periods. This includes enrollments and assignments/score syncing to MyStudent. 
    • What does this mean to me? Any makeup scores entered into Canvas for first-semester assignments will have to be manually entered into MyStudent from this point forward.
  • All second-quarter MyStudent gradebook assignment columns unlocked. 
    • What does this mean to me? Teachers will now be able to enter makeup scores for second-quarter assignments manually in MyStudent gradebooks regardless of whether the assignment was previously synced from Canvas (and therefore locked) or not. 

Monday, Jan 18th

  • Martin Luthur King, Jr. Day (no school)
  • Students enrolled in second semester courses.
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