@Seesaw the Learning Journal
By now, most of you have heard of and/or used the popular Seesaw App. This past year was my fourth year as a Seesaw Teacher and Ambassador. Parents LOVE this communication tool and journal! There is NO downside to incorporating it into your daily routine. The following information is both to address how we implement Seesaw during the regular school year, and how I am using the app this summer with incoming kindergarten students. Settle in with some ice tea and consider the following for your program!
Implementing @Seesaw During the School Year
For four years, I have gathered email addresses and cell phone numbers for incoming students in order to get them signed up on Seesaw BEFORE school begins. In late July, if our online data system is ready, I gather this information and either text a link to join our class, or email the standard form included with Seesaw that is customized four our own class. If need be, I mail the letter with the link or QR code to parents.Each year has shown an increase in participation and parent involvement. This is the win-win situation every classroom should strive for!
@Seesaw in the Classroom
After school begins, students are taught to use our class iPads, Kindle, Chromebook or Computer with Camera to take pictures and “annotate with voice” the work they are doing. This is uploaded and approved for parents to view. The absolute power of letting parents peer into the daily activities of your classroom is something to experience!!! Parents are hooked, just like they are hooked by Facebook notifications. 🙂 I have found parents are easier to contact through Seesaw’s messaging feature too!
A New Trick with @Seesaw
As students become more adept at using @Seesaw, I create a duplicate class account for students to use the app from home. They will sign in from home as they do at school with their qr code, then interact with activities I have uploaded for them to do, or from the activities bank in the app that I have assigned. This is not hard to keep up with since it is work above and beyond expected activities in our regular class app. I do not use the message feature in the separate app. All communication is kept in our original app. Students can be allowed to view each others’ responses, or you can set the app to “student can only view their own work”. Here are samples of activities we did last year that could be practiced at home.
Our Brand New @Seesaw Adventure
What if we could give parents of new kinder students a head start in getting their child ready for kindergarten? What if it were as easy as interacting with a phone, tablet or computer? What if we could suggest non-techie ways to help their kids prepare? Would it increase success at the beginning of the year? My guess is YES!!
At the end of the school year, I began to think of how @Seesaw could help us expand our reach to incoming kindergarten students beginning school in August. Since the data was in our system for all students to be enrolled, it was easy to compile a list of phone numbers and email addresses.
While email was a good fit for some of the contacts, the most response came from sending a link to our class journal via instant messaging. Parents saw the “Dear Parents” heading in the text and knew it was from the school. I am finding many parents do not check email regularly, so texting will be the primary contact method in the future. After setting up Seesaw with student names, invitations were sent, and now we are up and running! The following are sample posts from this current summer class. I like to ask a question that begs an answer from students in the first message.
Other tools for student use during the summer before they come to school can include items similar to the following:
The possibilities are endless! My summer students are already using the activities I have uploaded or linked to. I am excited to see the benefit of an early contact with school and kindergarten skills. Results will be in a future post!
If you need help, or have questions about @Seesaw, comment with your questions below. Seesaw is the best digital learning tool I have found to date!