Tips for Managing Canvas Parent Account

If you have not yet set up your Parent Account in Canvas, please click on the following link to access directions in creating your account.  

Setting up your Parent Canvas Account

While you can use the phone app for monitoring your student, it is very limited in what details you are able to see.  If you want to personalize your account or see course details, including assignments, feedback, etc. you will want to use the web version of Canvas.  This web version can be accessed on your phone as well on a computer. Just open a web browser, such as Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari and go to the parent tab on the district website,  

The following directions provided are utilizing the web version of Canvas.

Topics for Managing your Account:


Organizing Your Dashboard

View Canvas Organizing Dashboard PDF

The first page you see after you log in to your Canvas account is your Dashboard.  This Dashboard can be viewed in a few different ways. Card View displays course cards for quick access to all the courses you have favorited (if you never pick favorites, Canvas will assume  you want to see all your student’s active courses). In Recent Activity View Canvas displays all recent activity for all courses.

Canvas organizing dashboard screenshot

  1. To switch between view options, click on the vertical three dots at the top right of your Dashboard.  Click which view you want to see from the drop down menu. You can switch between views at any time.  Canvas allows you to personalize your Dashboard to help you better organize your view, this is especially helpful if you have more than one student.
  2. In Card View, click on the vertical three dots on the course card.
  3. To help you better know which class belongs to your student, you can type a course a nickname, for example, Cole’s Latin in place of “2019 – Latin I – Stoa – 1-FRL107”.  The new nickname will show up in Bold on the tile. You can also pick a specific color that corresponds with the class. This is helpful so you can put one child all in green and one child all in blue.

Finally, you can click on any of the course cards and drag them to a new spot on your dashboard, moving the courses in any order you want.  



Account Settings

View Canvas Account Setting PDF

Your account settings give you even more options for personalizing your Canvas Parent Account.  To access click on the Account button on the grey menu to the left of your screen. 

Canvas account settings

  1. In the Notifications section, decide what you want Canvas to notify (email) you about your student’s courses. (See the next section of the handout for more details about notifications.)
  2.  In the Profile section, edit your parent profile on Canvas.  In this section, you can upload a profile picture, add a biography, or links.  
  3. In the Observing section, you can see a list of the students you are observing.  If you have more than one student, you should have already been in this section adding students after connecting to you first one in your account creation.
  4. In the Settings section, you can click “Edit Settings” on the far right of the screen.  Make sure to click “Update Settings” when done. 
    1. Change the time zone of your Canvas.  
    2. Canvas can also translate its program to about 40 different languages.  If English is not your first language, you and your student can choose to view in your home language (if available).  
    3. Change password, if needed.  
    4. At the bottom of the page, Canvas offers other accessibility options including those with visual impairments.  These options can be enabled to make your viewing experience of Canvas even better.   


Email Notifications

View Canvas Email Notifications PDF

Canvas gives you the ability to pick and choose what you want to be notified about and how often.  Many of you probably have seen many emails already coming to your inbox, as the default settings is to be instantly notified anytime the teacher changes the content.  

For each option, you can select to be notified right away, receive a daily or weekly summary, or opt for no notification at all. 

Canvas notification preferences

 We recommend to check the box at the top of the page that turns on the option to show the name of the student connected to the notification if you have more than one student.  

When you look at the list of options, it is very overwhelming, especially if you have never been in Canvas before.  If you hover your cursor over each of the items, an explanation will pop up to help you make your decision as to whether or not you want to be notified.  

Canvas notification preferences2You certainly do not need to be notified about everything, we recommend to be notified right away for the circled options to the left.  

  1. Announcements; teachers use announcements to quickly communicate expectations, upcoming events, to do lists, agendas, etc.   As a parent, getting this emailed to you the minute the teacher posts it will help you to keep up with what is expected of your student.  
  2. Grading; we all want to know how our students are progressing in their course.  You will receive an email whenever the teacher has graded your student’s work.  If you check the box to “Include scores when alerting about grades” then your student’s grade will be in the email and you do not need to go to Canvas to see the grade.  
  3. Conversations; Canvas has its own messaging system and teachers will be using it to communicate with you and the students from the gradebook.  If you have “notify me right away” selected when you are added to a conversation or receive a conversation message, this email will instantly sync with your own email and you can even reply in your email and not have to go to the Canvas messaging system at all.  



Viewing Grades

View Canvas Viewing Grades PDF

Canvas offers a simple screen for parents that allows them to see a list of their students’ courses and current grade with one click of a button!  On the far right of your Dashboard, click on the button “View Grades” and you will see a list that includes your student’s name, course name, and current grade.

Canvas view grades

If you have more questions about the grade or want to see more details, you can click right into the course from the list by clicking on the course’s name.  Then click on the “Grades” link in the course.  

  1. Click on the assignment tab to view the list of tasks, due date, status, score, points, comments, and/or rubrics.  
  2. Click on Learning Mastery to view course outcomes/ standards.
  3. You can sort the grades list by course and arrange the assignments by groups, due dates, modules, or titles.  

Canvas view grades2

For more details about the icons and overall grade feature in Canvas, use this handout:

How do I view the Grades page for a student as an observer?

Essential Life Skills

View Canvas Essential Life Skills PDF

Effort, participation, attitude and other essential life skills will not be included in grades but shall be incorporated into learning with feedback for growth. Essential life skills will be reported separately, unless they are explicitly stated in the content standard.  

Essential Life Skills will be reported in Canvas for students in 7th through 12th grade for each course at a minimum of mid-term and at the end of the reporting period.  Rubrics will be used to help students, teachers, and parents/guardians in determining next steps in developing Essential Life Skills. This information is intended to inform instruction, feedback for students and families, as well as goal-setting. 

Essential Life Skills: 

  • Continuous Learning – Thoughtfully considers feedback and works toward accomplishing goals.
  • Collaboration – Interacts to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams to accomplish a common goal or task.
  • Communication – Conveys ideas and information respectfully, purposefully, and effectively through multiple means. 
  • Critical Thinking – Accesses and analyzes key information to develop, create, or innovate solutions to complex challenges.
  • Professionalism – Demonstrates learner readiness through self-regulation, responsibility, and integrity.

Use the following directions to view the teacher feedback provided to the student about the essential life skills.

Canvas life skills

Canvas life skills2

Canvas life skills3

Canvas life skills4

  1. Log in to Canvas and click on one of your student’s courses.  In the course, click on Grades.  
  2. Your first view is the assignment list that includes links to assignment details, including score, grades, comments, and rubrics (if utilized by teacher). 
  3. Click on the Learning Mastery tab.  There you will see a group called “Essential Life Skills” and a notation of how many outcomes have or have not been mastered.  
  4. Click on the arrow next to the Essential Life Skills group to expand the view and see each of the individual outcomes.  
  5. Click on the arrow next to each outcome to see more details about scores, read comments, and see a list of assignments that are aligned to that specific outcome.  
  6. Click on the assignment name to see more details about the assignment.