Seesaw for Schools is a digital platform that creates an online space for sharing work between students, teachers, and families. Used in the right way, Seesaw for Schools can enhance the student's learning experience, make a teacher's task more straightforward, and involve the parent or guardian in the process.
Seesaw for Schools allows students to post projects, from videos and images to PDF and text, all in one consistent stream. Progress can then be tracked over time and, since the platform can be set to run across grades, it can be used in the future to help guide progress based on previous success.
As with any digital platform, it's just that--a platform. It needs to be used creatively to get the most from it, which is why we've collated some of the best tips and tricks for Seesaw for Schools to help teachers master this learning assistant.
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Use video announcements
One great way to keep both parents and students up to speed is to use video announcements. This can be a quick and easy, time-saving process for everyone.
From explaining a homework assignment to updating parents on class progress, these videos can be expansive or specific. One can be easily created right inside Seesaw. Alternatively, you can use another tool such as iMovie, Powtoon, or Shadow Puppet EDU (to name a few fun and easy-to-use options) and upload the video to Seesaw.
Short video announcements are faster to create than, say, a newsletter, so this is a great alternative that allows parents and guardians to connect easily through their computer or smartphone, wherever they are. It also helps to give a more personal touch and helps them get to know your voice and character as a teacher.
Create a scavenger hunt with Seesaw Go
Seesaw for Schools has a tool called Seesaw Go, a purpose-built scavenger hunt that can be used in the classroom. The idea is to get students working together in groups, to be active moving about the room, and to become more aware of the spaces around them.
This is done by printing game boards and QR codes that can be hung around the room at spots you want students to focus on. Or codes can be posted on other fun items, such as even on yourself. The students then have to find and scan each QR code, then cross off the matching emoji on their game board until they've found them all.
You can take this further by creating puzzles and even creating virtual locks so they must 'escape' at each stage, making it like an escape room game. Or have the students play the game at home with their parents setting up the QR codes around their residence.
Also, instead of using the printed game board, you can have students take pictures of themselves on the hunt in their home and post to Seesaw to share with the class.
Create video directions using Seesaw
A great way to avoid repeating instructions regarding a task is to capture it in video form. Either have a video of you reading aloud instructions on a task written on a page, or do it straight to camera. Either way, students will be able to refer to the guidance as many times as they need without you having to repeat yourself.
This saves teacher time but also allows students who are struggling to go over guidance as many times as needed without potentially feeling too embarrassed to ask to hear the instructions again.
Grade students within Seesaw
A lesser known feature of Seesaw is its ability to allow teachers to tag student work with Common Core Standards, TEKS, and so on. This allows you to grade students within Seesaw.
Work can be scored with a rating of between three and six stars. It is helpfully color-coded for a quick at-a-glance view of how the student is doing with red, yellow, light green, and dark green relating to scores. This then works out the average score automatically, essentially making it a built-in gradebook.
This can be a great system for setting and hitting goals in which students track themselves. They can then see how they're doing with colors jumping out to help motivate them as they continue to progress.
Use Seesaw Activity draw-and-record
Seesaw for Schools has a whole host of activities that are essentially pre-created games designed to help students learn. One of the tools within that is the draw-and-record option, which is a great way to create your own tasks for students.
One example is creating a sentence with an essential word missing, or letters. These can be left out in a box which the student is then able to fill in using the draw-and-record option. This lets them work through tasks and have the end result recorded to refer to as well as to have you go over with them.
The beauty of this tool is that you can adapt it for a whole host of tasks to suit whatever subject you're teaching.
Use calendar view in Seesaw
A great way to save time going over work and to plan ahead is to use the Seesaw calendar view. This will show the month in daily chunks that can be color coded to help give you an at-a-glance perspective on what is going on that day, or what has come before.
Select a specific date and you can see all the items that were made in that day. It's then possible to select specific items, and then you can like, leave a comment, or share. It can be a great way to 'grade' work and to make sure you're responding to everything the class has been creating on the platform, quickly and easily.
If you want to view the work of a specific student, tap their name and only their items will appear in the calendar. This is a great way to get a clear view of how much work the student has been doing.