November 2022-Trimester Transitions

Staff, thank you for your patience as we go through this time of support for our students and buildings. 

As we transition trimesters, below you will find a list of resources to assist you. 

Trimester Transition Update:

New course shells will populate into Canvas over this long weekend, 11/24-27, if on Monday you are missing a course shell please notify us immediately by emailing Students will not populate until the start of Trimester 2. Remember, the first thing that must be done is cross-listing. There are more details below. 

Students Receiving Incompletes (High School):

Finally, after much trial and testing, we have located what we need to give students specific access to courses past their end-date so they can work on assignments, and turn them into the course.

Please see this updated policy to see how and more information: Click Here 
***Note you must do this process prior to the last day of term***

Canvas-Synergy Sync:

When syncing your course from Canvas to Synergy with the grade passback system, at times it may get stuck on a few data points. This is common when moving large amounts of data. To fix this issue, open your course, go to the Grade Sync link in the left-hand menu (if the link is not visible, enable it by going to Settings, and Navigation), from there you can click on Utilities and select Remaster Gradepassback. It will have you confirm. After about an hour, you should see the correct scores and updated information in Synergy. 

If for some reason you do not, some culprits could be: 

  • You don’t have the sync activated for that assignment: Go to Assignments, and check it has the green check mark on the right for Syncing, instead of the black circle with an X. 
  • You are trying to do extra credit out of zero. Synergy cannot divide by zero and sees it as an error, so that assignment will not sync: Instead tack on extra points to an assignment with a point value, ie 12/10. 
  • Your assignment isn’t published or does not have scores: An assignment won’t push to Synergy until it has been published and has been graded for at least one student. 
  • You haven’t synced in a while: Go to Grades, and in the menu bar at the top on the right and click Sync, and Sync Now. Remember a sync can take 20-30 minutes, or longer depending on how much data you are moving, and how busy the servers are. 
  • In Synergy the assignment is marked “HIDDEN TYPE”. This means the mapping in Synergy is such that the grading category is not visible: In Synergy, go to Gradebook, Gradebook Setup, and ensure that the dropdown menu reads “Add my types to the district types” and apply this to all classes at the bottom before clicking “Update”. 

The most up-to-date sync materials can be found here. You can always reach out via and tickets are routed to me, please use the ticket system as it’s much easier to keep track of help requests. 

Updates to IQWST’s Platform!

Starting 11/29/2022 IQWST will now have an auto-score feature for multiple-choice questions! More info can be found here:

End of Term Checklist:

  • When finished with grading, export a copy of your grade book for each class and email them to your registrar. 
    • Go to Grades. Click Export. Click Export Entire Grade Book. Save and upload to an email to your registrar for safekeeping. 
  • Tidy up any grades and comments in Synergy under Report Card- Progress Reports. Be sure to save frequently and to hit Post Grades when finished entering any comments you wish to add. 
  • If you would like to work on any coursework or alter anything for next year from a Synergy-generated course it should be copied to a Sandbox. Sandbox courses do not close and remain open for teachers to alter content indefinitely. 

*Optional* Export your Canvas course(s) as an IMSCC file. These files can be uploaded to most other LMS providers and give you a hard-copy backup of your course. Note that these files are not editable in their downloaded state. They need to be uploaded to an LMS, like Canvas, to be editable. See here for more information.

Setting Up Trimester 2:

Course shells will populate over the Thanksgiving long weekend. Students should start populating between 12/1-12/2. 


Remember, if you have common preps, it is highly recommended that your cross-list them together. This must be the first thing done prior to building or importing content. 

Cross-Listing Video Here


If you are using the template, which has weekly modules and dates preset for T2 and need a refresher on how to get content from the Commons, see this video. 


Synergy Gradebook has received an update, and now, syncing the gradebook between Canvas and Synergy is even easier than before! For a full walkthrough, including step-by-step instructions and videos click here!


You can of course import content from prior years/trimesters into current classes. Keep in mind, it’s best to select the option to “Remove Due Dates” when importing to eliminate the possibility of forcing zeros in the gradebook for missing assignments. 

Importing Video Here


The following curricular integrations are available in Canvas, they are very helpful in including accessible text options, activities, text-to-speech, and much more! 


Publish your course for students!

The Hour of Code is just around the corner, December 5th-11th! Sign up for it! It’s super fun and students of all ages love it! Don’t worry at all if you don’t know a thing about coding, all the puzzles offered on the website will walk students through everything they need to know. I’m happy to visit your class to get your class up and running. It’s for all ages, K-12! Once students get started, they can continue all year long! Here’s a link to Amy Page’s availability and you schedule a visit here as well 

October 2022

Hadley Herald: October 2022

Well Hello There!

In This Issue: 

  • New Synergy Materials
  • Canvas Curricula Integrations
  • Grade Guardian
  • Additional Resources

Synergy’s New Grade Book and Canvas Sync: 

Synergy’s grade book is getting a makeover this month and with that makeover comes new Synergy-Canvas Sync materials to reflect those changes. 

To access those materials please click here (WordPress won’t embed them :-/ ) 

Benefits to Syncing:

  • Quicker turnover at grade report times. 
  • Recorded grades for drops, schedule changes, withdrawals, etc. 
  • Easily print grade printouts for your class. 
  • Turn on nightly sync to set and forget. 

Canvas Curricula Integrations: 

As the social studies adoption continues, science continues looking at materials, as well as other resources are reviewed; we have found that many of our curricular items come with a digital component that also integrates into Canvas for ease of use. By integrating these items, you can insert assignments, readings, and materials directly in Canvas or take students directly to them, allowing for access outside the classroom. Keep in mind that for some services, though we have access to them, if they are not district-funded, those will need to come from buildings. For a list of items funded by the district click here
The following curricular sources are available to integrate into your Canvas course(s): 

If you have trouble accessing the materials, be sure you have enrolled in the Canvas Resources Course

Grade Guardian:

All 4J Teachers have access to Grade Guardian in their Canvas instance and courses. Grade Guardian is a way for teachers to see how their students are doing in other courses, they can see how many missing assignments, zeros, and other info students have in other courses. To access this information, navigate to your course settings, go to Navigation, and drag Grade Guardian to the visible area above, be sure to hit save. 

For more information here is a 3min video: Click Here

Additional Resources:

Lit2Go: A free consortium of literature in PDF and Audiobook format. 

Apple Teacher: A place to get Apple Teacher Certified and post/find lessons from other teachers using Apple products. 

EA/Office Canvas Training: A quick presentation and video showing EAs how to navigate Canvas with their EA accounts. 

App Approval Process: Is there an app, software, or website you’d like to use pedagogically with students? Feel free to submit a form request to ensure that it follows district guidelines for safety, student information security, and other use cases. Note that it can take up to 2-3 weeks for a turnaround in some cases. 

Canva for Educators: Canva is a free tool for educators where you can create amazing things for your classroom! You can make slides, banners, newsletters, lesson planning pages, certificates, announcements, worksheets and more. Be sure to claim your educator account when signing up with your 4J email to have access to all their amazing templates and more. (Note Canva is approved for teacher use.)


September Resources to Share

deep breaths

Thank you for all of the work you are doing to support students and the community!

In this edition: 

  • Canvas-
    • Tips and Reminders 
      • Guest Teachers/Subs
      • Student Teachers
      • Synergy-Canvas Sync
    • Integrations to Curricula
  • Apple Learning Resources
    • Apple Education Community
    • 1:1 Free Virtual Coaching
    • Free Virtual Conferences


Tips and Reminders:

Substitutes and Guest Teachers in Canvas- Please remember that our district has over 300 guest teachers, this means that not all guest teachers will automatically have a Canvas account in order to access your Canvas course or to be added to your course(s), which in the event of a sudden absence would need to be done by the Canvas team ( Whenever possible, leaving a printout of an agenda of what students are doing in Canvas or identifying a helpful student that a guest teacher can rely on to look at Canvas with while in classes is very helpful. If a planned absence is coming up and you’d like to add a guest teacher to your course(s) you can try adding them with their Login ID (email without the If they do not have an account please email 4J Desktop with Guest Teacher Canvas in the subject line for proper routing. At this time we are looking at methods to get all of our guest teachers limited access to Canvas for emergencies, but that process is still in development. 

Student-Teachers in Canvas If you have a student teacher in Canvas, please see the district’s updated process for student-teacher access to digital services such as Canvas, Seesaw and Synergy. 

Synergy-Canvas Gradebook Sync- There has been a lot of concerning information circulating around the Synergy-Canvas Grade Passback. Yes, when Canvas was first adopted by the district, it operated very poorly and had many issues. Since then there have been a number of updates and improvements, both to Canvas and Synergy.
To clarify some concerning points. You can use the Synergy-Canvas Grade Passback if you meet any of the following:

  • You use a point-based scale ( ie 9/10 points, etc) with the standard A-D/NP/F Scale. (Most High Schools fall in this category for state reporting). 
  • You choose to use weighted categories, ie Tests/quizzes are 30% of the overall grade while Homework is 20% and Participation is 50%. 
  • You use a modified proficiency calculation via points, such as the aforementioned 9/10 points (HP, Prof, Np, Etc) in conjunction with weighted categories, but map final scores to HP = 70%-100%, etc. You can fully customize these things both in Synergy and Canvas. They just need to be set up first. Granted, for state reporting, many buildings still require teachers translate a HP to A or B, etc. 
  • You would like to have your grades sync each night automatically to Synergy so they are there for you at reporting times. 

If you, your department, or your building would like an in-person tutorial and walkthrough on this process, which after some practice takes approximately 8-10 minutes, please reach to me directly at I would be more than happy to come on some of the Friday times or during a prep period. Note that syncing can be done at any time, you don’t have to do it right now, but the sooner before reporting time, when servers get very busy, the better! This is a process that is done at the beginning of each trimester. 

Updated walkthrough materials can be found here. 

Canvas Integrations:

Over time we are beginning to add more and more integrations to our Canvas instance. There are integrations already installed for services such as: NewsELA, NoRedInk, Quizlet, Wayside, Cengage(NatGeo), Nearpod, CK-12, Khan Academy, Turnitin and others. By utilizing our integrations you are able to create assignments that include materials from curriculum, link students directly to class portals, and in many cases allow for grade passback to Canvas and other grading options. Integration set up information can be found in the 4J Training and Resources Course. 

Currently, we are developing integrations for our Middle School Science curriculum with ActivateLearning (IQWST) and Pivot Interactive platforms. Information on how to set up these different integrations info can be found in the 4J Training and Resources Course. If there is an integration you are interested in seeing in Canvas, let me know by emailing  

Additional Tips

Grade Book Filters: Remember that the filter for period sections in the Canvas grade book has moved –click here 

Importing Past Content: Small clip on how to import materials from past courses and remove due dates- click here

Google Translate now has a feature for teachers, perhaps not best shared with students in WL/Immersion programs, where you can translate your lesson materials, slides, pdfs, docs, into other languages by uploading them- click here. This feature is not perfect and has only been tested with Spanish, but provides scaffolds for our students for whom English may not be their first language and may want to reference classroom materials in their first language. 

Apple Learning Resources-

We were so fortunate to have an Apple Representative come and speak to our district during the MacBook camp this summer. While here teachers who attended were able to gain insights to their MacBook device on how to create lessons, tools, and features. Some of those features have been compiled into a handy PDF with short instructions and/or links to how to view those features. Feel free to download a copy here

Additionally, there are some free options that educators can take advantage of to hone their skills and learning: 


Remember you can always file a ticket at  with any concern you have regarding software, hardware, or other issues. 


Welcome Back! Sept 2022

waving doorway


In this issue:

  • Getting Started in Canvas
  • New Canvas Assignments Interface
  • Grade Book Filters Update
  • Syncing Canvas and Synergy Grade Book
  • New Quizzes


Getting Started in Canvas:

  • Be sure to sign up for this year’s Canvas 101 course:
  • Be sure to check everything off the First Day of Class Checklist in that course before day 1 with students! 
  • BEFORE BUILDING COURSE CONTENT  you must cross-list courses. Cross-listing courses allows you to combine multiple preps into a single course, rather than needing to copy materials multiple times. To see how to cross-list your courses –CLICK HERE
  • Teachers are able to modify the provided template as they like. For a refresher on how to import the template into your course or a sandbox please see this video. – CLICK HERE
  • Importing course settings can be very helpful, this way you can consistently use the same grading scales, course details, etc. Link to video. Just be sure to set the name for your course AFTER doing this step so it isn’t reset. This method is also useful to import past course content into your current courses. 
  • MacBook Rollout: if your building has opted to utilize the pre-made MacBook Rollout modules and materials here is a video showing how to import it into your classes from the Canvas Commons- CLICK HERE
  • Publish your course!     


Enhanced Gradebook Filters:

The Canvas Gradebook has received an update and will allow for different ways to drill down to students and specific assignments. 

Enhanced Gradebook Filters Overview


New Assignment Interface for Students:

The assignments interface for students is slightly different from last year, it’s cleaner and easier to read for our students by utilizing larger icons for the submission type (Text, File Upload, Student Annotation, etc). Below are some screenshots showing the new icons as well as where to find the Google Drive submission.


Image 1 of 5

***A piece to note about the new and improved Annotation Feature, as the teacher you will upload a PDF and students can then edit and manipulate the PDF within Canvas, even disconnect from the assignment, change locations, and still be able to open the assignment, continue editing and then submit. Until a student submits the assignment their changes are saved (cached) in Canvas. Note that if a student retries a student annotation assignment they get a clean copy of the PDF, if they’d like, they can download their work prior to submission or after, to keep a local copy.***

Syncing Synergy and Canvas Grade Books:

Syncing your Canvas and Synergy grade books is a great way to save time, create a more complete record, and improve workflow throughout the year. New training materials are in development at this time but I am awaiting the opening of Synergy to record those materials. At this time, last year’s materials (though still accurate) are available below. The benefits of syncing grade books include grades already synced at grading periods/reporting times, easier grade manipulation for students that receive Incompletes at high school, a more complete record for students as they move classes, as students have enrollment changes their grades are still recorded in Synergy and are available for staff.


New Quizzes:

Canvas is going to retire its current instance of Quizzes (Classic Quizzes) on June 24th, 2024. This means that starting in Fall of 2024 we will no longer be able to build in Classic Quizzes, nor have students take them. Starting now the New Quizzes interface is active in our instance of Canvas. Meaning that you can now build directly into New Quizzes or even Migrate your Classic Quizzes over to New Quizzes. To migrate, import the quiz into your course and on the Quizzes page, click the 3-dot menu next to the quiz and it will let you Migrate it. There is A LOT of information on New Quizzes and the best starting point is within our Canvas Training/Resources course. Full documentation can be found here

In short, you can now have/do: 

  • Student Quiz Accommodations for the whole course (not just quiz by quiz!)
  • Shuffle Answers by Question
  • Printing Quizzes
  • Require Waiting Period Between Attempts
  • Stimulus, Ordering, and Hot Spot Question Types

Migrating is the easiest method as we start the year, and it’s just something to keep in mind as we move forward.