36 Weeks of Technology: SeeSaw

About Lori H Rice

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade for the past 19 years. Her students read books that are held together by tape, and because of budget cuts her school does not have a full-time librarian, art teacher, technology teacher or music teacher. As a result, she says, “our schedules are limited and cannot be arranged for what is best for students.”

In this series, #36weeksoftech, I will review tech tools in my fourth-grade classroom.  I will give you my honest opinion and some pros and cons through the eyes of an experienced teacher.  This is my 21st year in the classroom.  I teach all subject areas.  I have 19 students, an iPad cart I share with 6 other classrooms and 2 computers in my room.  Using technology can be a way to increase engagement and learning, but it should not be forced into your classroom and create more work.  In my first review, I talked about GoNoodle.  It is a classroom management tool.  In this second review, I will talk about SeeSaw.

After a month of learning, we have a community of learners coming together in our classroom.  I have established my expectations and we have discussed giving feedback.  We have also practiced our classroom and behavioral routines.  The piece of tech for this week allows us to take our community online.  SeeSaw is an online learning community that can be used to foster communication and learning between your students.

36-weeks-of-technology-seesaw

Set Up: Go to the site http://web.seesaw.me/ and click on “SIGN UP FREE!”.  Then, click on “I’m a teacher” and enter your personal information.  Finally, you will be provided with a short tutorial run through about this student-driven portfolio.

Create a Class: Here you can set up your class with a class name (I always include the year) and grade level.  It is possible to set up multiple classes.    The students will need a way to log in.  This can be provided with “Student Scan a QR Code” or “Students use an Email/Google Account”.  I used the QR code.  It was simply printed out on paper and I also displayed it on the smartboard.  Next, to add your students you can copy and paste a list of student names. You can also type each name if you would prefer.  The class list can be set up at any time and then when you open your account you have a button at the top to “Get Class Code”.

Game Play:  At the top right of the screen you can add items with the green “+” button.  As a teacher, you can put a photo, video, drawing, file, note or link into your SeeSaw account.  This can then be directed to specific student(s) or the whole class.  Anything you put in here can be viewed by students.  This is a great place to put video links or prompts for use during a lesson or when you are gone for a sub.  Students can see what is there and react with a “like” or “comment”.  You can also respond with “like (heart icon), “comment (speech bubble icon)” “rank (graduation cap icon)” or “file (folder icon).

The possibilities for class use include anything you want to do with a portfolio.  Students can capture their own work and add.  You, or others, can then go on and give feedback.  You could have them answer a prompt or create a response with a drawing.  Students could provide evidence of understanding with a link, video or photo to explain a concept.  Any grade level can use this app via Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Chrome.

There is a parent component if you would like to link parents into your community as well.  A parent invite can be sent via email or paper copy.  Parents will then be able to get on and see their students work.  This allows for a glimpse into learning anytime in the school year, not just at parent-teacher conferences or open house nights.

Pros:

Easy to navigate dashboard

Teacher approval of posts

View whole class or individual student work feed

Post whole class or individual/selected student walls

Resource section

Compatible with video, photo, links

Students showcase learning in pictures, videos, text and more

Cons:

Setting up multiple classes requires time

When you consider the learning capability and opportunity for feedback, SeeSaw is a must in all classrooms.  This app provides a variety of ways for learning to be gained, shared, and reflected upon.  Students are creating a portfolio of their learning as you use this app in your classroom lessons for learning and review.  Take time to teach students each piece and allow them to practice.  With clear expectations and conversations about feedback, students can strengthen their understanding by applying what they know and giving feedback to peers.  Parents can also gain sight into learning as they see what is happening at home.  One day when we were using SeeSaw my student excitedly got my attention and said, “Ms. Rice! My mom already hearted (liked) my work!”

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By | 2016-11-01T13:44:08+00:00 September 30th, 2016|#36WeeksOfTech|0 Comments

About the Author:

Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading as well as kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade for the past 19 years. Her students read books that are held together by tape, and because of budget cuts her school does not have a full-time librarian, art teacher, technology teacher or music teacher. As a result, she says, “our schedules are limited and cannot be arranged for what is best for students.”

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