Canvas has been working on an elementary theme that is currently available in beta, but open to districts to implement in their Canvas instances. The core functionality of Canvas, the Canvas Dashboard, and Canvas courses remains the same, but the look and feel is changed to better suit the needs of the elementary environment. This page is designed for people with little or no experience with Canvas. If you have experience with Canvas, please feel free to skip this section and move onto the next, which covers the major differences the elementary theme has over the traditional Canvas look and feel.

Canvas is a powerful learning management system (LMS) that ties into many 3rd party services, platforms and tools. It is used throughout the world at the K12 level, as well as in higher education. At its core, Canvas helps teachers to deliver the content they need their students to access, whether it be in class or remotely. Canvas can serve as a communication platform, an assignment delivery system, a gradebook, a quiz and test maker, a place for class discussions, and so on. Part of the power of Canvas is its flexibility and openness, and can become almost anything the teacher wants it to be. It can be used to make very simple tasks a lot easier and less time consuming, or can be used for major tasks and projects.

During this initial phase of Canvas at the elementary level, it makes most sense to use Canvas in its simplest form, as a way to deliver content to students. If you are interested in using Canvas for more advanced tasks, a vast amount of content can be found on this site, or many others that can be found out on the web. As always, do not hesitate to reach out to John DeLeo or your ed tech leaders for guidance and support.

Canvas Home

The Canvas Elementary theme makes the home page better suited for the elementary environment. At the top of the screen, all Elementary users see homeroom tabs, that provide quick access to content from any homeroom course. All Canvas courses do not have to be declared homeroom courses, and this will be covered in another article. The tabs seen here are the same that can be seen in any elementary course, and the benefits of using a course as a homeroom course is that teachers and students get more direct access to content on their home page.

Global Navigation

The global navigation bar on the left hand side provides access to the core components of Canvas. The bar can be expanded or collapsed to make larger or smaller by clicking the button all the way on the bottom.

My Subjects

Users will see all current courses/subjects that they are tied to as tiles within the “My Subjects” area. Content published within a course by a teacher will appear in the course card area, with a symbol that corresponds to the type of content that has been posted.


Important Dates

Any content assigned with a date will appear in the “Important Dates” area.

Click here to learn more about Canvas courses at the elementary level.