Mr. Murphy and I are excited to shine this week’s Seesaw Spotlight on fifth grade teachers Mr. Raymond and Mrs. Lee and their ELA stduents.
Several days ago, Mrs. Lee visited Mr. Murphy and I in the Learning Commons and exclaimed with excitement, “I just uploaded an iMovie to Seesaw all by myself!” Why is this so significant? Well, it underscores the intuitiveness of Seesaw, how it seamlessly integrates with other apps, and how easily teachers can capture daily classroom activities to share with families. In this specific example, Mrs. Lee divided her students into groups to present their research on “Thanksgiving Mythbusters.” Students revealed several truths about historic Thanksgiving myths including that pilgrims really ate duck instead of turkey, and that not all Native Americans lived in tipis and rode horseback. We asked Mrs. Lee if she could make us co-teachers in her ELA class so that we could continue our collaboration with her and support her students with using Seesaw to document their learning. Although see hadn’t yet learned how to add co-teachers, I was able to show her how to do this in literally seconds. Mrs. Lee is eager to help her students build portfolios that demonstrate their growth and development as learners. She’s open minded about using this new tool and is willing to take suggestions from me and Mr. Murphy on the types of items that students can add to their journals. The first major project Mrs. Lee’s students will be uploading to their Seesaw journals will be their Explorer Projects and we are super excited to share those in a future blog post! Click here for a behind the scenes look at the creation of this project!
Mr. Raymond recently had his students use Seesaw to document the entire personal narrative writing process. In this ELA writing unit, which lasted approximately one month, students learned how to engage their reader by writing an effective lead; they were taught how to write six different types of leads. They also learned how to write in “slow motion” which was a process where they would slow the reader down by taking one or two sentences and “blow them up” by adding more details. Students wrote their personal narrative rough drafts in their writer’s notebook and self-edited. Next, they typed their rough drafts in a Google Doc and had a peer edit for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. After the peer edit, they wrote their final draft. This entire process was documented in Seesaw and has huge advantages for the students, teacher, and parents. Rather than showcase only a final, polished draft of the student’s writing, Mr. Raymond has given his students the opportunity to share how their writing developed and improved over the course of the entire unit and that is exactly how to use Seesaw to its fullest potential. Sharing all the activities and assignments within a unit, and not just the final product, helps to build confidence in students and helps parents understand how their child’s skills and knowledge are developing. Mr. Raymond added a creative, digital element to this unit when he allowed his students to either draw a picture or create a Chatter Pix highlighting a piece of their writing. As a suggestion for future Seesaw entries of analog work, I suggested to Mr. Raymond to have his students take pictures of their writer’s notebook, import them into Google Slides, and then share the presentation via Seesaw versus individual posts of multiple pictures. Mr. Raymond agreed with the suggestion and is going to integrate that for the next unit.
We are so impressed by how many teachers at Fox Hill are taking risks with Seesaw and exploring new and creative ways to capture and share student learning on a more consistent basis. Eventually, as teachers become more comfortable with integrating Seesaw, we hope that adding items to their Seesaw journal will be a daily, personal, self-directed, and independent process for our students. We hope that reflection becomes a daily practice for our students. We’d love to see them articulate, either in writing or orally, why they are proud of the items they are uploading and why they want to share their work with a larger audience. Essentially, we want them to explain their WOW work!
In addition to sharing their content knowledge and work they are proud of, frequent use of Seesaw allows students to practice digital citizenship in authentic ways. Mr. Murphy and I are fortunate to have colleagues who are willing to integrate technology into their instruction and assessment in meaningful ways. We look forward to spotlighting more of our teachers in future posts! We have enjoyed assisting Mr. Raymond’s and Mrs. Lee’s students in their Learning Commons during the research, writing, and creating phases of their Explorer Projects. We love that Fox Hill teachers are using our space exactly the way we envisioned!