Do I sound official? I feel very cool and I can’t wait for my jacket (not joking and promise to add a picture when I have one).
In March 2015 I joined Twitter and was opened up to a world of educational tools and knowledge that I never before knew existed. One of those tools was Seesaw. It sounded like a cool idea, seemed simple enough to implement, and had a pretty logo for the app (Trifecta if you ask me). I spent 5 minutes signing up, added the app to my 4 classroom iPads the following day, and introduced it to the class. The kids, parents, and I LOVED it for so many reasons, let me list some:
- Parents finally had an answer to “What did you do today?”
- I had a record of student work that I could access anywhere I had an internet connection.
- The students did all the work!
- It was so easy to set up and manage, it was almost unbelievable.
- Parents appreciated the extra communication and they took the time to tell me (and brag to others about “what their child’s teacher had happening”).
- Students could see what their peers were doing (or mostly just check out things about themselves).
- Did I mention the students do all the work and my students are in KINDERGARTEN?
- It became a motivator for students to do their best work to share outside our classroom.
I could go on, but let’s get back to my love story. So I participated in Seesaw Twitter chat and heard about becoming a Seesaw Ambassador and went for it. One hour-long webinar later and I was official! I can’t say I have all the answers (but I have access to those that do) and I am on a mission to spread the word. When I began this blog, I knew this would be a post (or two or three posts) that would happen early on.
Still with me and wondering, “What is she talking about??”
So I know, it’s summer. Did I mention I am teaching 7 incoming kindergarten students for 6 weeks? I decided to see if Seesaw was so simple and I set up a class for my 7, not even in kindergarten, kids and went to town. However, let’s back up and get you started.
You do need access to the internet and some sort of device to access it. Seesaw recently added Android and Chrome apps for lots more possibilities. I prefer to use the iPads in my classroom (you only need one) and I do my part from a PC.
Go to http://web.seesaw.me/ and they can’t make it any simpler from there!
You only need a tiny bit of info and you are in and ready to create a class! If you are a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) school, I recommend signing in with Google+ so you can help manage the world of passwords you likely have.
Create a Class
Create a class by adding student names (first names are all that is necessary) and you are almost there! Next you need to print your student code and download the app on your classroom device (make sure you choose the CLASS app version). Not important right now, but you can change the student icons by clicking on the name (change animal or add a photo- they LOVE it either way). For older students I would recommend adding photos or having them take a snapshot of their self-designed icon.
Are you wondering something? Why didn’t I click that bit about “Invite Parents”? You don’t have anything to show them yet. You really want to intro this to the kids in your class, before sending home anything to parents. This way two things will be happening:
- The kids will be running home excited to share about Seesaw.
- And there will be something to see.
So give them something to see when they first sign in. To make it easiest on you, choose something that:
- Involves the whole class (tag everyone)
- Is easy to demo to your class (i.e. adding a photo)
Here is what I did:
We had all worked on it together and I could demo taking a picture of it. The app is easy and self-explanatory. It walks you through step by step. Once you are logged in on an iPad, you are mostly set unless you log out. Just keep the code posted a few places in the room if needed. A couple more things to remember:
- Look for those 3 little lines in the top left corner of the app and your log-in page. It brings you to more menu options and allows you to add the next item.
- Remind students to tag themselves and click the check mark! Make sure they see it uploading (you can always fix tags if needed).
Now you get to invite parents and watch the magic begin! This part is so easy, it’s silly. Just click on “Invite Parents” and you are given two ways to do just do that:
- Send a link in an email (or post it right on your class web site for easy access) OR
- Print out letters- The letters will be all set to go and specific for each student! WHAT?? Just hit PRINT and stuff in mailboxes. I can’t even stand it. I didn’t have any parents have trouble or even send me a question about it when I sent the letters home.
You will be able to see how many parents have signed up. If they use the link, you will get an email and have to approve them first (so random strangers will not be able to enjoy your student work). The journals are PRIVATE and parents can only see/comment on what their child is tagged on. If you tag multiple students, they will be able to see each other’s comments.
It’s like mini-Facebook with all the “Likes” and “Comments” flying around! You, as the teacher, also have options to flag certain entries and sort into folders. We will get into these advanced features another day. The three little dots (not to be confused with the three little lines from earlier) give you further options to edit OR use entries outside of Seesaw (identifying info is removed when shared outside of Seesaw).
Bask in the Glory
Now you can just enjoy the excellent work that your students have created and collected on their own. I will be following this in the future with posts on advanced features (changing and updating all the time) and ideas for using Seesaw in your class! For now, bask in my glory by checking out just a few examples from our journal: