Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

FigJam for 3rd Graders – or Any Graders

Elementary teachers are looking for engaging, interactive, and easy tools to use with their students. FigJam is an excellent tool for 3rd graders, or any grade.
FigJam for 3rd Graders – or Any Graders

Free for Educators

As you may know, I am a fan of FigJam. Google has depreciated Google Jamboard and I have happily moved to FigJam as my replacement. In a nutshell, FigJam is a collaborative digital whiteboard by Figma. While Figma, and FigJam, were not designed for educators there is an education team that would like to help you to effectively use FigJam in your classroom. To help build the educator community they started a Facebook group this week. One of my friends I invited to the group asked how you can use FigJam for 3rd graders. More than a quick response on Facebook, here is a more detailed response. 

Collaboration is a Skill That Must Be Taught

While FigJam is a powerful tool for fostering collaboration and creativity in the classroom, its wide array of features might seem a bit daunting at first. Consider taking some time to explore the platform on your own – get familiar with its drawing tools, sticky notes, and other interactive elements. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, you’ll be well-equipped to guide your students through collaborative projects, using FigJam as a digital canvas for brainstorming, problem-solving, and learning valuable digital citizenship skills like communication, respect, and teamwork.

Give Students a Space

Unlike Jamboard (that limited you to a max of 20 pages) there are no pages in FigJam. Instead, you create sections. You can find the sections icon in the toolbar to draw a section for each student.

FigJam for 3rd Graders Have Their Own Section

It may seem tedious to create a section for each student in your class but it is actually quite simple. Create one section and duplicate it with Control D

Before duplicating, add directions to the section, images, etc… Duplicating the section also duplicates all the elements in the section. In the example below I created a section with a video (copy paste the YouTube link onto the canvas), added text directions, and I added a section within the section to allow students to use the pen tool. 

Tip: Rename the Section

To rename a section simply double click and type a new name. If the section name ends in a number, when you duplicate the section the number will increment. 

Name & File

It is important not to leave your file as “Untitled.” Click on the word “Untitled” at the top center. 

Tiny Arrow for Options

You also want to “Move to project” which means to have it in a folder. You can create projects (folders) at figma.com.

Consider sharing quickly by starting an open session. Students have 24 hours access to the edit the file with you. Note, you can stop the collaboration at any time as well. 

Share FigJam for 3rd Graders

To be sure FigJam is not only for 3rd graders. No matter the grade level, here is how you can share your FigJam with the students. 

Click on the Share icon.

Notice the default is anyone “can view.” Change that to edit if you choose to paste the link into your LMS. 

Another option is to paste your student email accounts into the “Invite” box. I would still provide the link to the FigJam in the LMS. 

Start Small with FigJam for 3rd Graders

What is cool about FigJam is it has so many options for ways to interact with and collaborate with students. Let’s not get overwhelmed… keep it simple and slowly add in other features. 

Design Your Lesson in a FigJam

FigJam is a digital whiteboard. It has a marker pen. You can embed videos, Google Docs, and link to other resources easily. Consider your flow of your lesson and all the links and things you want to include. Instead of designing them into a presentation tool, why not build it into FigJam?? Each section the next element of your lesson. Need to write on the board… give yourself some blank space in FigJam. Want to show a video? Add a video to the next section. Want students to do small group discussion, design a “slide” in a section of FigJam with the directions for you to display. 

Share as View Only

Share the view only link to your FigJam in the LMS for students to follow along with the resources if desired. Any writing you did using the marker will be captured as notes for students to easily access. 

Work Your Way Up to Collaboration

It is honestly equally easy for me to create a FigJam to pace my lessons as it is to create a Google Slides or other tool that I plan to project. I do think it important to expose 3rd graders to learn how to collaborate in a digital document, be it FigJam or Google Slides, or even Canva. So while you may not start with the collaboration features, I gently nudge you to make it a goal to work up to it. 

Share Copies of FigJam

A third way to use FigJam with 3rd graders is to share a copy with students so they have their own canvas to work on. This is an excellent way to blend both digital and non digital elements. Create a sequence of events using sections that help students to navigate resources, directions for paper tasks and discussions, space to reflect with sticky notes, and use the digital marker if desired. 

Slash Duplicate

The trick to share a copy of a file with students is to modify the end of the link with /duplicate. 

For example:

https://www.figma.com/board/VqF9jlTFeJaLlKuyozbNY2/Student-Sections?node-id=0-1&t=kB56uJiNYxNRoLAT-1

would become:

https://www.figma.com/board/VqF9jlTFeJaLlKuyozbNY2/Student-Sections/duplicate

The key is to look for the question mark in the link. 

Share the link with students to force a copy. 

Submitting Individual Work

By default FigJam files are view only. Teach students to click the share button and copy the link to the file. Turning in their FigJam link to the LMS or a Google Form will allow you to easily view their file. 

Even as view only you are able to add feedback comments to the students file. Press C and click on the canvas to leave comments. 

FigJam.new

One last way to use FigJam with 3rd graders, or any graders, is to empower them to create their own blank FigJams. My 5th grader this year could always be found using a FigJam when he was doing his school work. 

figjam.new starts a new FigJam file. 

COPPA and FERPA compliant

Of course FigJam is COPPA and FERPA compliant. FigJam can be used with students under the age of 13 but you will want to have your school email education@figma.com to provision student accounts. 

Want More Help With FigJam?

The FigJam Figma for Educators Facebook group is a good place to start! You can also drop your comments and questions below: 

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