This post is written by Karly Moura, a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) in Mount Diablo USD in Concord, California. This post was originally published on her blog, Teaching, Tech and Twitter, at KarlyMoura.blogspot.com. Karly is also part of team Ditch That Textbook, enjoying her role as blog editor and social media manager.
Awhile back I had to create an invoice for something and I honestly had no idea where to start. So naturally, I Googled it. Imagine my surprise when a TON of amazing templates popped up from one of my favorite creation sites, Canva (canva.com).
Apparently, I haven't been very observant when using Canva because the section of templates is pretty obvious. You can find them in a drop down menu at the top of the page and can even search for the type you want. This new discovery took me down a rabbit hole of awesome and I began thinking of all of the ways we could use these Canva templates in the classroom.
There are hundreds of templates available and many of them are totally free! Check out the screenshot below of Canva's template menu to see what's available and scroll down for 20 templates and ideas for using them in class.
How to use Canva's free templates
1. Work inside of Canva
Canva is a graphic design tool in itself, so students can do the work inside of Canva. It's easy to get signed up. Students can even use their Google accounts to create a free Canva account.* Students open a link to the template and choose the "Customize this template" button. They complete their work and either a) download and turn it in through your learning management system (LMS) or b) share it with you via Canva.
2. Download blank templates and add to Slides/PowerPoint
If you don't want students working inside another new app, you could always open one of the templates and delete the placeholder text in it. Download the template as an image file. Then open Google Slides or PowerPoint, set the size of the slides as the size of the template, and then set the background image as the Canva template image. Students can add text boxes and other things to the file before turning it in.
Here are 20 FREE Canva templates you can use in class tomorrow.
Click on the name of the template to bring up a search of similar templates and click on the pictures to be taken to that specific template.
Have your students create an invoice after completing an engineering design project. How much did their materials cost? How much was their time worth? A real-world application that will add mathematics and even more critical thinking.
How fun would it be to have students create a resume for themselves at the end of the year to share their skills and accomplishments? They can even share them with their next teacher. Alternatively, have students create a resume for a storybook character or their classmates as a "star of the week" activity.
The days of boring reports are gone. Students can create an engaging magazine cover for their report to hook readers in. Pair that with a brochure (#6) and your students will be begging you to complete another.
Students can put the finishing touch on their creative writing project or on their entire writing portfolio with creative cover. Students can also create a book cover for the sequel to a book they read or for a class novel that doesn't already have one.
A fun twist on an old project. State report? California Missions? Animal habitats? Ancient Civilization? All of these reports can be turned into a brochure. Highlight the important places to see and the history or facts about your topic. Add pictures, color, and fun fonts to make it visually pleasing. Way more fun than writing it out on binder paper!
Our students work hard on their projects and should advertise that hard work to show it off. Creating a flyer would be a great wrap up to an engineering design project or a PBL unit. For example in this Simple Machines Unit, students are challenged to design a product using 2 or more simple machines that would help a person with disabilities. As alternative option students can use this Canva template for their product ad.
Well, this one speaks for itself. Challenge your class to write a monthly newsletter. Give each group a different section to write and have one "editor" each month put it all together. You can upload it to a class Google site or SeeSaw to share with parents.
The templates that are included already have an awesome selection of menus. Have your students choose one and write their own math problems for the class. Each week (or perhaps once a month) students can use one of the menus on the site and collaborate in groups to write math problems for their classmates in a collaborative Google Slides presentation. Your daily math warm-ups are done
and the problems have real-world application.
When reading a class novel pick out quotes that stick with your students. Have students create their own bookmark as a fun way wrap up your unit or as an extension activity.
Any music teachers out there? Well, you may have to first explain to your students what CDs ARE and bring in a couple of examples then you can give your students an opportunity to create their own cover for their school band or choir.
Build the excitement for a class celebration by creating invitations for your families. Make Back to School Night, Open House, a winter concert or school play personalized with a special invitation from your students.
Yes, I said worksheet. Hear me out here. The templates on Canva are not only pretty but they are adaptable. Who said the worksheets have to made by you? Challenge your students to create their own writing prompt. Students can adapt the template and write a new prompt that would interest them. Give them some parameters on the genre of writing you are working on and let them go. Students can create them in groups and can vote on the one they want to use for their assignment or give them the choice of using any of them. Either way, the engagement level goes way up.
Quotes can be inspiring and motivating. We see them all the time online, hanging up in the dentist office, pinned up on the wall of our workspace. Challenge them to create an inspiring poster to gear up for standardized testing at the end of the year, design a poster for a quote from a historical figure or a character from a book they are reading.
Yep, Canva even has templates for report cards. We may be confined to our district report card but our students aren't. They can create a report card for themselves at the end of each trimester as they reflect on their strengths and goals. As a class, you can even create your own class report card and have students give you feedback on the year on tips for improving.
Sharing information in a simple yet engaging way can be more challenging than it seems. Infographics are an excellent way to encourage your students to be concise and organized as they convey information in a visually pleasing format. Canva provides TONS of infographics for many different applications.
Almost any grade could create an infographic outlining the steps in a class procedure or routine that you could display on the wall. Older students can work in groups to create a poster for different apps you use in your classroom and can even share their posters with younger students to teach them how to be a good digital citizen. You can add this project to this Super Digital Citizen HyperDoc too =)
We love showing our students how amazing we think they are and a certificate is something they could keep forever. You can create certificates for your students, other staff members or have students create them for each other.
There are quite a few timeline templates for students to modify for all different purposes. The one linked above is simple yet has a place for pictures and is easily adaptable. Students can create a timeline for a particular time in history, for a biography report or even for themselves to mark accomplishments over the course of the year or in their life.
Canva has tons, and tons of templates including a number of online whiteboard templates, many of which are free to use. There are templates for problem solving, story writing, brainstorming and more. Some, such as the project journey, are interactive too. You can present your whiteboard directly from Canva, share a viewable link, embed on a website, or invite others to collaborate on your board. If you like the template design you can also download it as an image and add it as the background in Jamboard or Slides, or PowerPoint too!