Using Canva in the Classroom

Canva is one of the MUST HAVE tools for teachers.  Canva in the classroom provides opportunities for students to display learning in a multitude of ways while engaging learners. 

Using technology such as Canva in the classroom benefits both teachers and students. If you are familiar with SAMR model for online learning, then you will be able to see tremendous opportunities for not only substitution and augmentation but also modification and redefinition of learning using Canva.

Canva for Teachers

Did you know that Canva offers a free education plan for teachers to use with their students? And to make it even better, once teachers set up a Canva for Education account, their students have access and they are able to submit their assignments in Canva directly there. Head here to learn more about the free account.

Canva in the ELA Classroom

There are so many ways to use Canva in the ELA classroom. Along with Flip and Padlet, it is my Top 3 platforms that I use yearly. The platform is so easy to use for both teachers and students that in no time your students will be creating away. 

Here are some ideas of how to get started with Canva in your middle or high school classrooms. 

Digital PSA

Public Service Announcements (PSA) were one culminating activity that students used to wrap up our Social Justice book club and our Environmental Sustainability writing unit. Using Canva, they were able to design a PSA video and added in rhetoric, images, and music. Canva also provides the ability to add transitions and navigate just as in other presentation software. PSAs are able to be downloaded and saved so that it can be uploaded anywhere you like such as a private YouTube channel.

Literary Magazine

Part of the yearly 20 Book Challenge that my middle and high school students participate in includes the making of a literary magazine. It would not be as easy to do without Canva. In previous years, I have had students complete their magazines on Book Creator which is another great technology resource, but with the availability of pre-made templates that students can work from or use to model their own design from, Canva worked out to be an easier solution. The literary magazine is a recap of the books they read and it includes them writing poetry, advice column, fan fiction writing, and more. On Canva they can design their covers, table of contents, and any other page they need.

Want to have your students design their own literary magazine? Download the free guide HERE.

Tabloid Magazine

One of the newer activities that Canva came in clutch for was designing a tabloid magazine cover for Crucible Act 1 review. This activity came courtesy of a Facebook group post and Canva enabled the option of digital design. Once again, my students chose a magazine template cover and made it their own by recapping the gossip that came out in Act 1. The activity demonstrated the students’ ability to close read. And because they were working on it in Canva, they just hit “Submit to Teacher” and I get access (and an email letting me know they submitted).

Skills Based Activities

Canva gives a great opportunity to switch up things and allow students to demonstrate their understanding of content and skills in unique ways. 

For instance, after reading Circe and The Land of the Dead books in Odyssey, students designed a postcard for Odysseus to send back home to his wife Penelope explaining his delay home.  The design was based on the setting of the book and as well included a one sentence summary of that chapter.

Another skills activity students did using Canva was designing Valentine’s cards while reading Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s poetic words have always been greeting card ready and not only did this activity allow my students to take part in the holiday but also focus on words and phrases to create a tone. Students were tasked with choosing lines from the play as the cover of their greeting card and to write an inside blurb to extend the meaning of those words dedicated to someone or as many chose, a pet. 

A popular line from the play that made its way on many greeting cards is from Act 2 Scene 2 “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.” 

Students had a great time dissecting words and phrases while being fully engaged and Canva made designing and sending off their greeting cards easy.

Tools in Canva 

Canva has the capability to add music, videos, pictures to whatever students are working on. It also has great editing capabilities so they can remove backgrounds in pictures, change colors, and more. Canva now has AI capabilities such as creating images based off of words or generating ideas in their Magic Write. Canva also connects to apps to make its use endless. Apps such as Microsoft, QR code maker, Bitmoji,etc. The software is always expanding and adding more features and its ease of use makes it a useful option over Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

The opportunities available to make rigorous lessons using the technology in Canva is limitless. Students can create portfolios, their own websites, social media campaigns for student organizations and so much more and are only limited by their imagination. 

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