This year, my school started using “Seesaw,” an online portfolio tool where students can upload their work and share it with their parents and classmates. In August, I knew very little about this tool, and had a lot of questions and ideas about how I may use it to promote parent and student engagement.
Over this semester, I spent time learning about Seesaw and learned more how to use Seesaw to meet my instructional needs and also enhance engagement for my students and parents.
Seesaw has been an amazing tool to use this year! When a student or teacher posts something on Seesaw, the child’s parents receive a notification. This allows parents to have a timely snapshot into their child’s day at school. Parents are able to leave written or oral comments on their child’s journal. My students love checking their comments!
I’ve received many comments from parents about how they’ve enjoyed seeing pictures, watching reports or videos on how to solve math problems, listening to their child read a story, etc. Many of these parents have mentioned how it helps them better engage their child in school related conversations at home. They are able to talk specifically about something they’re aware the child did or learned that day, instead of the typical, “How was your day?” conversation that is rarely productive or informative.
When I first started digging into Seesaw, I was unsure how to set it up so that parents would only have access to their child’s journal. After talking to the IT staff at my school, I realized how easy it is to give parents access! Seesaw has an email that you can send to parents that contains explicit instructions about how to download the app and sign up to view their child’s journal. The parents click on their child’s name and each child’s journal is able to be shared with up to 10 people. Several parents have chosen to allow grandparents to have access to the journal. While all my parents are able to access Seesaw, not all of them have signed up. This has been a little disappointing, as I think parents are missing seeing so much of their child’s work in “real time.” I’ve sent follow-up emails, but haven’t had much success getting the remaining few registered. I’m hopeful that after our next parent-teacher conference, I’ll have all my parents signed up!
At the beginning of the year, I set out to use Seesaw primarily as a tool to promote reading and writing across disciplines through assessment, blogging, sharing how they’ve solved word problems, conducting oral narrations, presenting reports, and reading stories they have written. I have utilized all of these methods except for blogging, which I hope to start after winter break.
While it’s been fun to show student work, I’ve also enjoyed using Seesaw to post pictures of activities that the students do throughout the day. When they’re in centers, I may snap a picture and upload it to the child’s journal with a caption about the activity they’re doing in centers. It’s also been fun to capture them playing soccer or digging in the woods during recess. These are the things parents love to see! Unfortunately, we do not have enough iPads for each child to go around snapping pictures, but I plan on adding class photographer to my job chart after break. This person would be in charge of taking a couple pictures a day and posting them to Seesaw. I’m excited to see what my students choose to capture!
As a teacher, I enjoy how user-friendly Seesaw is and how compatible it is with other apps. I’ve done a lot of app-smashing where I’ve imported projects from different apps. The other week, my students presented reports on their explorer on Chaterpix. I was then able to upload these to Seesaw to share with parents.
If you are not familiar with Seesaw, I encourage you to look into it. It’s user-friendly and a great tool to share student work and promote engagement with parents!