Thursday, February 9, 2017

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

My name is Amber Harper and I am Google Trainer and classroom teacher at East Noble School Corporation in Northeast Indiana. I currently teach first grade at Avilla Elementary. Our school corporation has been a 1:1 device district for the past several years. At ENSC, grades K-4 use ipads and grades 5-12 use laptops. I am in my 10th year of teaching and am so incredibly honored to be contributing to the IDOE’s Digital Learning Month by blogging about the love of my teaching life, Seesaw. If you haven’t heard of it, hold onto your hats, because I am going to share with you a digital tool that can change your teaching life today. Are you ready? Alright! Here we go!

What is Seesaw?

The best way to describe what Seesaw is to show you. Click the links below to see some examples of what I have had my kids do on Seesaw, how I have used it to flip lessons, as well as how I use Seesaw to communicate with parents. Check out these examples of student work and of me flipping my lessons:

Student Example 1 Student Example 2 Student Example 3
Student Example 4 Student Example 5 Student Example 6
Flipped Example 1 Flipped Example 2 Flipped Example 3
Communication Example

I could show you thousands more examples of how my students and I use this tool every day in our classroom (8,142 examples to be exact), but we simply don’t have time for that.

Seesaw is basically Facebook for the classroom (with a focus on sharing our best work, of course) and has transformed my life as a teacher and my students' lives as learners. Students can post their work, comment and offer feedback on each others work (if you allow them to), edit their work, and you can even have them post work from home! They can also draw, type, label, point, and record to explain their thinking. It is truly the best way to see what students are thinking and learning on your journey together through the school year!

Seesaw is also a great platform for sharing eLearning lessons and for students to post their work. I use it to embed my Google Slides which contain videos, links, explanations, and instructions for posting their work.

Why do you need this tool in your classroom?

Seesaw was completely foreign to me when I started at my new school in 2015. Even though I was unsure of what it was exactly, my teaching partner was doing it so I thought, "Why not?" Little did I know that my life as a teacher would be forever changed. I fell so in love with Seesaw, that I became an ambassador and preach its features anywhere to anyone who will listen.

What's so great about this platform is that you can use it to best serve you and your students in the way that is best for you and them. The possibilities are endless. You can:
Create folders in any way that works for you

Share student examples and teach students digital citizenship by opening up commenting capabilities
Flip and differentiate assessments

Flipped Spelling Assessment Flipped Math Assessment

Embed links from YouTube to teach/enhance lessons
Differentiate lessons by sharing with specific students
(Click here for an example of how I differentiate and share several different spelling lists each week.)

Communicate and interact with parents
Encourage student choice in ways that they share their understanding by app smashing
Embed Google Forms and multi-media text sets (aka HyperDocs) into Seesaw for easy access for younger students (and to share eLearning lessons)
In November, through Seesaw Blogs, we did a Google Hangout with a class from another state. Last week, I was contacted by a school from Hong Kong and asked if we would like to connect through Seesaw Blogs. Talk about breaking down classroom walls! My students are beside themselves with excitement! When I say that Seesaw is a game-changer, I mean it.

My students love it when they see that students from halfway around the world have commented on their work or pictures! (See below.)

Bottom line, this online student-driven portfolio is AWESOME and FREE. Yes. Free. Watch these two YouTube video tutorials from Seesaw about how to begin using it TOMORROW. You can do it!

Watch this first:

Watch this second:

Seesaw hosts many ‘PD in Your PJ’s’ about how to use this tool in different ways. It is such a huge help for those just starting out as well as those teachers who are ready to take their Seesawing to the next level! Follow them on Twitter (@seesaw) to be notified when they are hosting a new "PD in Your PJ's." If you miss it, they also post them on YouTube.

Give Seesaw a try. You won’t regret it.

Happy Digital Learning Month!

Live in Northeast Indiana? I would be happy to facilitate a discussion about Seesaw and/or G Suite and how to use them in your school and classroom! Contact me by emailing me at

Burn on!

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