3 Ways I Use Canva Collage in Literature Classes


The Canva photo collage layout is one of my favorite tools to use in any literature class.


The simplicity of Canva's designs makes the collages easy to create while providing a product that's aesthetically pleasing for students who aren't good with graphic design.


The process for making the collage is as follows:



Collage Design Process
  1. Set up a Canva account (student)

  2. Type in "photo collage" in the Canva search bar

  3. Choose a collage design (I usually ask for 5-6 pictures)

  4. Use the text feature to name the collage after the assignment

  5. Drag-n-drop photos into the photo slots

  6. Canva photos (if you allow this, the watermark will be on many of the photos in the free account)

  7. Royalty free photos from Unsplash, Pixabay, or similar websites

  8. Personal photos

  9. Google images (they'll have to cite these, but that's a great learning experience!)

  10. Download the collage and turn in OR share the collage link


I often teach the collage design process as a get-to-know-you assignment the first week of school. The students learn a skill, and I get a visual of their interests, personality, etc.



1. Research

When I teach "The Battle of Maldon" play writing unit, I have the students research Anglo-Saxon warrior costumes and create a collage of ideas for their characters.



Depending on the depth of their character development, you can have them create a collage for each character or a collage with overall ideas that they'll draw from when designing each character.


The collage isn't a stand-alone project. The students also write a short paper describing the costuming (type of fabrics, use, etc.) and how the designs reflect the characters' rank/status.


The main warning I give students is this: don't just do a Google image search or Pixabay search and assume what pops up is good! Read the source material surrounding the image.


2. Mood or Imagery Visualization

This is a fun one because students can play with filters and styles as well as the collage design.



Since imagery helps establish mood, students can do an image search of the images in a poem and then choose the image OR filter that creates the mood of the piece.


For example, when I looked up "moon" to create an "Annabel Lee" mood board, I found scientific pictures, romantic pictures, Halloween-esque images, etc. I chose a simple moon photo but used a filter that created the mood I attach to "Annabel Lee."


I've used this to compare poems where the imagery is similar but the mood differs, to show the change in imagery/mood across a short story or novel, and as a way to help students visualize antonyms and synonyms.


3. Color Schemes

In novels such as Lord of the Flies or shorts stories similar to "The Masque of the Red Death," color plays a central role. Sometimes the students get lost in all of the color/descriptions, so I use color boards to help them stay involved.



Creating a color board is incredibly simple in Canva.


Finding color board images is so simple, in fact, that I have students pair at least one image with the color board and then describe where those colors are found in the text and their importance to the theme or atmosphere/tone/other focus.





Using Canva is helpful because virtual students can easily use it, and it's a tool used by entrepreneurs and designers in various businesses, so students can get experience in content creation while in class.


I'm sure you've already thought of a myriad of other ways to use this quick tip! Let me know how you've incorporated graphic work into your classes.





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