If you’re looking to capitalize on your students’ creativity, then you need to consider using Canva in the classroom.
Do you remember those DIY books “_______ for Dummies?” Well, I have your “Graphic Design for Dummies” tech tool: Canva.
Not familiar with it? In a nutshell, Canva is an online graphic design tool that can produce basically anything you want. Posters? Check. Worksheets? Check. Cute designs to print on mugs? Check.
The best part? Canva for Educators is free. I mean, who doesn’t love free, right? (There’s also a paid version that provides more features, but honestly, the free version is pretty impressive and more than likely meets your needs).
Keep reading for 7 ideas for using this tool.
Canva is great for creating posters. Last year, our school did a giveaway promotion during Literacy Week to encourage students to use a specific reading program. Using photos from teachers (as well as some stock photos from Canva) and some different poster templates, I was able to whip up posters to hang in the hallways.
Likewise, students can use Canva to create posters for upcoming events. They’re also great for literary analysis – highlight key themes, characters, settings, etc. A personal favorite assignment that I often include in my choice boards is creating a movie advertisement for a film adaptation of the text being studied. Using Canva for this allows students to drag and drop photos and other elements into pre-made templates and produce quality posters in a fraction of the time.
Along the same lines, students can create book covers for whole-class, book club, or independent reading books. Once again, Canva comes through with some amazing templates.
During your novel study, have students analyze the cover for various elements – colors, fonts, pictures, etc. Discuss the importance of the images and any symbolic meanings behind them (like the eyes on this cover of The Great Gatsby or the puppet strings on this audiobook cover of The Crucible). Then, have students apply these same principles to their own cover interpretations.
These can be particularly helpful when breaking down nonfiction texts with large amounts of data or statistics. Infographics are also great for outlining processes, such as writing an essay or annotating a piece of literature. They could also be used to create timelines of key events – from a piece of literature, a key historical event, or a time period. You can check out tons of templates here.
Most students today can create basic PowerPoint or Google Slides presentations. With Canva, though, they can bring those presentations to life. Several of my Honors students chose to use Canva as part of the Global Issues Research Projects, and the results were impressive.
One of the advantages of using Canva over PowerPoint or Slides (besides the amazing drag-and-drop feature) is the ability to mix different template styles and designs. Bonus: Canva presentations can be downloaded as PowerPoints. However, they can also be shared via link, saving valuable space on the hard drive (and preventing the inevitable “I forgot where I saved it”).
social media posts
Canva has templates for basically every type of social media post – Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. Students can use these templates to create social media posts for clubs and other school organizations.
Another fun activity I include on my choice boards (along with movie posters) is creating social media accounts for the characters in the texts we’ve studied. This option forces students to really think about who the character is and what types of things they would post – a great exercise in practicing tone and diction. With Canva, students create entire social media accounts as their assigned characters and keep all elements in one spot.
Our students all use social media every day – why not make it work in our favor?
As more and more schools and companies are placing an emphasis on digital learning, working, and presentation, our students need to be able to showcase their abilities and work in a variety of ways. Digital portfolios are great for this. Our school currently uses ePortfolios (purchased through our district), but Canva is a great free alternative.
Students can use the Docs feature to create a document that includes text, images, videos, and more. They can also create several different projects and organize them all into a single folder.
lesson plans & worksheets
This last tip is for the teachers. Canva has tons of templates for worksheets, lesson plans, and planners (the search for “worksheets” alone turned up almost 14,000 results 😲). Within each of these broad topics is a host of more detailed search terms, making it easy to narrow down until you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Personally, I typically use PowerPoint to create worksheets because it has more robust features. However, if you’re new to creating worksheets (or want something relatively simple) then Canva is definitely a good option.
So there you have it. My top 7 ways to use Canva in the classroom. You can check out more here on Canva’s blog.
Have you tried Canva yet? If so, hit “Leave a comment” and let me know your favorite ways to use it. If not, try it out today!
Until next time, happy teaching 😀