Use of Seesaw App Empowers Learning for First Graders

First grade teachers Jenny Griffiths, Sophy Joseph and Barbara Shindler tried out a new digital student platform called Seesaw with their classes.
“Seesaw was originally designed as a digital portfolio tool, allowing students to document and share their work and explain their thinking, giving them a sense of independence and ownership. The tool has grown to enable teachers to create and share activities with students,” said Marissa Zelmanowicz, Technical Support Specialist, who has been working with the first grade team to master this tool.
 
To use the Seesaw app for an activity a teacher will begin by explaining the assignment for the day to the whole class. Then, using an iPad, each student scans a QR code that is specific to their class that is posted in the room. The code allows the students to gain access to their class in the Seesaw app as well as their individual portfolios and assigned activities.
 
The app might be set up with a math activity where children are to demonstrate number sentences using grouping of beads. The students will then take a picture of the beads, write the equation on top of the image, record their thinking using the microphone and add this work to their file. First graders are able to articulate their thought processes and the app helps keep track of their thinking. Teachers can then log in to the app and view the completed assignments.
 
“After I’ve read through and listened to all of the assignments, what’s nice is that I can easily share some of the different ways of thinking through a math problem with the whole class,” said Sophy Joseph.
 
Jenny Griffiths added, “Sometimes the projects require the boys to work in partnerships, which helps them learn how to collaborate. It also gives them the chance to assist each other either with the instructions or with the assignment itself. They become responsible for each other’s learning.”
 
Barbara Shindler said, “The Seesaw app is very user friendly not only for the boys but for the teachers as well. As a team of teachers, we have found the app makes it easy for us to share ideas, which we have then repurposed for our own particular needs.”
 
“The first graders are currently publishing their writing How To unit. It is especially exciting for them because they get to take pictures, record their voices reading the story, and then publish it onto Seesaw. This published piece can then be shared digitally with family near and far. It builds a sense of independence, empowerment, and agency. How special that as first grade writers they can share their published book with a vast audience! What a treat for the audience that they get to hear the writing piece from the authors themselves,” explained Ms. Joseph.
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Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.