Ryan James

Ryan James

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 20:23

September 28, 2021 - Communication in Canvas

Today's tip is one to help with communicating with students in Canvas. Do you ever need to send a reminder to specific students? Say all the students who didn't submit a specific assignment. You could spend the time generating a list of all the students who still haven't submitted or, like many teachers, just send it to the entire group reminding everyone that "some of you still have not submitted". This style of communication causes all the students who did submit to panic and double-check to make sure they have. It also confirms to students who really haven't submitted that they aren't the only ones who didn't do the assignment. Either situation is less than ideal. This is where the beauty of an LMS (Learning Management System) like Canvas comes in handy. 

Message Students Who

In the gradebook, you can use the feature that allows you to email only those who you'd like on an assignment. Find an assignment that you'd like to send a reminder out to your students. Click on the three dots next to the assignment name then select Message Students Who.

canvas message students who

Now you can select which students you would like to message. You can see the different options in the image below. 

canvas haven't submit yet

Below that option, you can see all the students who qualify based on the criteria. Then you can customize the subject and add a message. By clicking the option to Include Observers it will also email the guardians of the students. Once you have the message crafted click Send Message to send it to the students. The message will be delivered to the student's inbox in Canvas and also their school email. 

Message The Entire Class

In the Canvas Inbox, you can compose a message to go to specific students, sections, guardians, or everyone. Go to the Inbox in Canvas. 

canvas inbox

Here you can click on the compose message icon in the upper right corner.

canvas compose

Now select the options you'd like. You can do all in the course or just add them by role. You can also narrow it down by sections only. 

canvas compose message

Add a subject and compose your message. You can add attachments and even record media. The message will be sent both to the Canvas Inbox and the Student/Guardians email. Canvas is an excellent way to communicate with your students in one location.






Monday, 20 September 2021 20:15

September 14, 2021 - Changing Dates in Canvas

Canvas is a great tool for organizing content and being prepared with content. Despite our best abilities to keep things on pace though, sometimes life gets in the way. The day you have a project planned and there could be a fire drill, or an assembly went long, or you were quarantined. You need to be able to quickly adjust due dates and re-arrange your schedule. 


Quick Adjustments in Canvas 

Move Due Dates in Calendar View

Using a due date is important to give students a date to complete a task. It adds the assignment to their schedule (Elementary) or the To-Do (Secondary). Opening each assignment is time-consuming and makes it difficult to see the entire course view. If you bump one assignment a few days, that will influence the following assignments. Using the Calendar you can click and drag the assignment to adjust the due date. This makes it much easier to move and you can clearly see “the big picture” of your course. If you don’t see your event check the colored box on the right side of the calendar for the course you’d like to work with. 

If you have multiple due dates (maybe for different periods or sections) you will see multiple blocks on the calendar. 


Edit Assignment Dates in Bulk

If using the Calendar to shift dates is not fast enough you can also use the Edit Assignment Dates tool to shift them in bulk.  Navigate to your course Assignments page. Find the three dots in the upper right corner. Select the Edit Assignment Dates option.

Select the assignments you’d like to adjust by clicking the checkbox.

Click on the Batch Edit button :

Choose how many days to shift.

Can you believe it's midterms already?! Since this year we have more teachers using Canvas than ever before, we felt it was a good time to look at the sync process from Canvas to MyStudent. Most of you probably have this information memorized and could cite the exact hours your course syncs over but for the rest of us, it's good to have a reminder. In order for an assignment to sync over to MyStudent there are few things that have to be set in order for it to qualify. These may seem obvious but before reaching out to your EdTech Coach check to make sure all of these are in place.

Four Things for Grade Syncing

First. the assignment must have points assigned. Without points, there's no information to sync. 

canvas points

Second, the option to include the assignment in the sync must be selected.

canvas sync

Third, the assignment must have a due date that is within the quarter's dates. This is how the sync process knows that it belongs in the quarter's grades. The sync will look for any date that is assigned to either a section or everyone and will utilize the first date.

canvas due dates

Lastly, the assignment must be published. Any unpublished assignments are ignored by the sync process. 

canvas published

One more thing to check. If you select the option to not count the assignment on the final grade then our sync will also ignore it. Make sure it is not selected.

canvas do not count assignment towards final grade

To quickly check that everything is set up correctly, navigate to your Assignments Page. Here you can check all 4 settings in one view. Look down the list and make sure the basics are set.

canvas assignment sync

A few more helpful reminders:

  • Before you delete an assignment make sure to remove the sync status.
  • The sync only travels one direction Canvas ---> MyStudent and not the other way.
  • Be patient. If you grade late at night (you know who you are) it may not show up until later the next morning in MyStudent.

So what does this button do?

mystudent canvas sync button

Think of the sync as having three distinct locations. Using the illustration of a few buckets below with each bucket holding grades information that will be transferred from one to another during certain processes. When you update grades in Canvas that information is stored there until the sync runs Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm hourly. That process initiates on the hour, meaning that pouring all that data from one bucket (Canvas) into the next bucket (Cache) may take up to 40 or so minutes for your data to come over. Waiting around two hours during those time slots would ensure that the process has had sufficient time to run. Once that data resides in the Grades Cache location it waits until MyStudent is either opened or refreshed to pour the updated information. If you open your gradebook in the morning at 7 am unless you close the gradebook and reopen or click the Canvas Sync button, your data will remain what was loaded at 7 am. The Canvas Sync button takes the information waiting in the Grades Cache location and brings it into your gradebook (MyStudent). It's more of a refresh button. It doesn't initiate the sync but instead pulls any info waiting from the sync process.


 buckets of data with arrows

 If you are interested in reading our FAQs about the sync process click here.


More Canvas Sync Information
- Mon-Fri 7am-9pm hourly
Course creation and enrollments 
- Elementary: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm hourly
- Secondary: Mon-Fri 4am-4pm every four hours
- WOL: Mon-Sat 3:30am
- Library courses: Sat 12am
User creation and updates
- Students/Employees: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm hourly
- Guardians: Mon-Sat 3am

Monday, 13 September 2021 15:48

Google Jamboard Custom Background

Watch the video below to see how to create the image to add as a background in Jamboard.

jamboard custom background


Monday, 13 September 2021 15:31

Google Jamboard Worksheet Activity in Canvas

How to use a Jamboard in Canvas.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021 14:25

August 31, 2021 - Canvas for Elementary


Over the summer Canvas released a new update that simplifies navigation for younger students. This Homeroom view eliminates the need to create cross-course buttons. The navigation is broken down into four main categories.

canvas homeroom navigation

The student's course cards are now contained in the homeroom. Announcements and Important Dates are displayed to communicate with students. In the Schedule tab, students will see a breakdown of all the assignments and events that are available to them in every course. This makes the question "what do I need to do?" much more accessible for the student. It also includes missing tags so they know what they still need to accomplish. 

canvas schedule

The grades tab makes it easy to see an overview of the grades in each course and Resources allows teachers to post the most relevant and "important info" for their class. 

canvas important dates

Important dates are posted on the homeroom page and make it easy for students to see what is coming up without visiting the calendar. 


For the end-users, our students, this new navigation eliminates much of the many clicks it would take to get to today's assignments. On the teacher;s end, this is less to manage, since you won't have to create and manage multiple buttons that link to various locations in the course. Don't worry! You still have all the same functionality in your subject courses. To set up your Homeroom and use all of its features there are five main steps.

  1. Designate a Course as your Homeroom.
  2. Create a Homeroom Announcement.
  3. Add important dates on the Calendar and/or Assignments.
  4. Edit the important info page.
  5. Set home pages on individual subjects.

Here is a video that walks you through the 5 steps:



If you are missing the old dashboard you can change your view by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner. Select Classic View. This is a user setting and will only impact your view. Your students will continue to utilize the homeroom view.

canvas change view

For more extensive write-ups on using the Canvas For Elementary homeroom view. Visit our page loaded with tutorials on working with this new navigation.





Tuesday, 17 August 2021 19:44

Canvas for Elementary


Instructure recently released a new update for Canvas aimed at making things a bit easier for elementary teachers and students. Remember the old-timey days of painstakingly making all those subject buttons for your homeroom courses and checking the links thrice? Now Canvas will do that for you: All you have to do is designate your homeroom course, and all the other courses any given student is enrolled in will appear automagically as course cards below your homeroom.

Canvas for Elementary also includes tabs that list all a student's grades in one tab, important info, and more! For more info, check out the handy guides linked below!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 19:15

Intro to Google Docs

How to create with Google Docs. Working with text, adding images, and more to create great-looking documents.

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