Using canvas to differentiate assignments

Written By Mollie Page (Liquid error: internal)

Updated at June 15th, 2020

Canvas allows you to customize assignments by allowing assignments to be posted for individual students, a select group of students or class sections.


NOTE – Events can only be assigned by class or by section, but Assignments can be customized down to individual students.


To assign an assignment to an individual or select group of students:


  1. On the Calendar page for your course, click on the day you want the assignment to be due

  2. Click on the Assignment Tab.

    1. Be sure you have selected the appropriate calendar– this cannot be changed once you click more options.

    2. You may fill in the title of the assignment, the due date, the group and set it to publish now or they can be changed later

  3. Click the More Options button to further customize the assignment


  1. Customize the assignment by filling in the assignment title, a description of what you want students to do and any links they will need.

    1. Fill out the points, group, submission type and other options as desired

    2. When you get to the “Assign to” section, you can customize to whom it is assigned and the due date.

 



  1. In the “Assign to” section, click the x after Everyone to clear the field

  2. Then type the first letter of the student you wish to assign this assignment to and select that student.

  3. Continue selecting students to build a list of students who should complete this assignment.

    1. Note – all students selected at this time will have the same due date.

    2. If you want to have different due dates, set the first group and their due date here and see instructions below for multiple due dates.

  1. When you have selected all the students, select the appropriate due date for the group.

  2. When you have finished customizing the assignment, click on Save or Save & Publish

    1. Save will save your work, but the assignment will NOT be visible to students yet. You will need to go back into the assignment and publish when you are ready.

    2. Save& Publish will save your work AND publish the assignment to students. Students will be able to see the assignment and may receive a notification depending on their Canvas settings.

  1. To create a different assignment for another set of students, start the process over again with a new assignment.


Assigning the same assignment with different due dates.


  1. At the bottom of the Assign box, click on +Add to create another set of assignment options.















  1. Select the other set of students as described in steps 5-7 above.

  2. Select the appropriate due date.










  1. Add additional groups and due dates as necessary by clicking +Add.


  1. When you have finished customizing the assignment, click on Save or Save& Publish

    1. Save will save your work, but the assignment will NOT be visible to students yet. You will have to go back to the assignment and publish when you are ready.

    2. Save& Publish will save your work AND publish the assignment to students. Students will be able to see the assignment and may receive a notification depending on their Canvas settings.


Resources for differentiated content and process


If you prefer to create your own differentiated assignments:

  • Within Canvas

    • Create differentiated modules and link different students to different modules

    • Create quizzes and practice quizzes at different levels and link students appropriately

  • Create different assignments and create a custom assignment by group

    • Type or copy your own differentiated questions, textbook questions or web links in the assignment description box

    • Create your own assignments in the program of your choice (word, ppt, notepad, etc). Upload files to your canvas page and link to the appropriate file in the assignment description box

    • Provide scaffolds to support differentiated processes:

  • Build differentiated assessments in DigiExam and provide each student with the appropriate Exam ID code. DigiExam can be added to your Canvas pages.

    • With DigiExam, you can create custom assessments and rubrics that can be taken online.

    • Options include spell check and computer lock down for more secure online testing

    • See separate guide on using DigiExam

  • Use Quizlet to build different review options for students


If you prefer to use pre-designed differentiated practice sets:

    • CK-12 Adaptive Practice: https://www.ck12.org/assessment/ui/browse/practice/

    • Adaptive practice – students keep answering questions until they answer 10 correctly

    • Practice questions for: Math, Science, Spelling

    • Teacher accounts allow teachers to create classes and track student progress (requires account registration and login for teacher and students)

    • You can also create your own customized non-adaptive quizzes.

  • SAS Curriculum Pathways: https://www.sascurriculumpathways.com/portal/

  • Quill: https://www.quill.org/ 

    • Interactive writing and grammar activities designed to improve writing quality

    • Teacher can create class rosters and generate usernames and passwords

    • Diagnostic assessment is used to create personalized learning plan

    • Assignments can be given to the whole class or selected students.

  • Newsela: https://newsela.com/

    • Repository of articles that can be adjusted to different reading levels.

    • Includes articles for science, social studies, current events, issues, and primary sources

    • Some articles are available in Spanish, which can also be adjusted to different reading levels.

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