My school has always sent home “Friday Folders” with the students to share student work with the parents. However, these folders have limited the work that I’m able to share with parents. Most of the time, work does not get sent home until it’s finished. Sometimes, parents miss out on a neat critical thinking project we did in class because their student conducted it on a whiteboard or with the class set of materials. This year, my school has started using “Seesaw.” Seesaw has many uses, but my personal favorite is that it is an online portfolio tool where students can upload their work and share it with their parents and classmates. This has given parents a better snapshot of what is happening inside our classroom on a daily basis.
I started the year teaching the class how to use Seesaw. I had them take a selfie and introduce themselves using the video tool, and then take a picture of a classmate, ask them a question, and introduce their classmate. Because I have an odd number of students, one of my students took a picture of me and asked me a question. Here’s a recording of that: https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.628011dd-b806-4b86-a4df-974499fb5dd2&share_token=JffiBvP7T5WxAloP5YTGOA&mode=share
The parents loved seeing these introductions!
Students can also take a picture of their work, share a blog post, upload a recording of themselves, upload a video, and much more! I appreciate how this app is secure, and students have to login by scanning the QR code. While I am able to share students’ work with their parents, I am also able to keep things private if I am conducting an assessment and don’t want parents to view another child’s assessment. I am unsure as of now if there’s a way for parents to only see their child’s work. I’ll have to do some more research on that.
I also like how this app helps build a class community, by allowing students to view and comment on their classmates’ works. This is a good opportunity to teach students’ about digital citizenship and to teach them how to respond to what they see.
I am planning on using this app in a number of ways this year to promote reading and writing across disciplines. A few of my thoughts are:
- I am planning on using Seesaw as an assessment tool. I will be able to conduct reading assessments faster, as the students can record themselves and I can listen to them on my own time. This allows me to maximize my instructional time, instead of giving the other students independent work while I am administering assessments. I’m still thinking through if I’m going to make these visible to parents or not. I think that’s going to depend on if I can set up parent’s views so they can only see their child’s work.
- I am excited to have the students blog as an alternate way to their writing journals. I may give them a prompt some days, and others just allow them to freewrite. I do expect these to be shorter entries than what they would handwrite, as many of my students are not very efficient with typing on the iPads or computer.
- I plan on having students share how they solved a word problem in math. I envision them taking a picture of the problem, and then using the video tool to record themselves solving it on the screen.
- I am looking forward to having them share the progress of their Unit Study projects. I envision them taking a picture or recording a bit of their project, and using the caption tool to explain what they are doing.
- I also plan on having students conduct an oral narration on SeeSaw. I plan on reading the passage aloud, and then students will narrate the passage on SeeSaw. In the fall, this will be oral, and in the spring, the students will have the opportunity to type their written narration instead of handwriting it if they choose.
- I also would like to use Seesaw to have the children share their writing from their in-class journals with their parents. I can see them taking a picture and reading their story aloud.
There are so many ways that I can see myself using this app! I’m excited to dig in and figure out what works best with my students this year.