Before I get into the tips for using Seesaw in kindergarten, I wanted to talk about it a little bit for those who aren’t familiar with the platform. Seesaw is an online tool where teachers can assign, create, and view digital assignments. There are mobile and desktop versions, so students can use it regardless of what devices they have available. It also allows for connecting with families for communication. Seesaw can even be used to take pictures of student work in order to create a portfolio.
Seesaw has proven to be an excellent tool for teaching, especially in a time where so many teachers are having to teach remotely. Even when teaching in person, it is a great way to incorporate technology into your classroom routine. These are my tips for getting the most out of Seesaw when using it in kindergarten, whether you are in the classroom, or teaching online.
Tip #1 Have Explicit Lessons on Using Seesaw
Like anything in kindergarten, students need to be shown exactly how to use Seesaw before they are expected to do it themselves. I would recommend sharing your screen with students either online or in person while you complete an activity. Model for students how to use the “select and move” tool, the entering a text box tool, and the drawing tool since those will be the most likely to be used by kindergarten students. Then, make sure students have activities and time that they are able to practice using those tools with your help, before expecting them to complete an assignment alone.
Here is a great example of phonics lessons that kids can do independently and the teacher or parent can check their work.
Tip #2 Try to Incorporate Moveable Pieces
As mentioned before, Seesaw has a really cool feature where students can select moveable pieces, and move them to where they belong. To me, this seems like the simplest way for kindergarten students to complete digital assignments, as most are probably somewhat familiar with drag-and-drop games and activities. An example of this would be a math activity, in which students had to solve addition problems. It would be helpful if they could simply drag-and-drop the answers to the problem, rather than having to create a text box, and then type into it. Think of it like a digital, cut-and-paste activity. This is not to say that you shouldn’t do any other type of activity, but students would more than likely have an easier time completing this type of digital assignment, especially if they were new to using Seesaw.
Tip #3 Utilize the Activity Library
Creating your own activities through Seesaw for your students can be great. After all, you are their teacher, and know best about what types of skills they need to be working on. However, it can become really time consuming and stressful to constantly be creating new things for your students. The great thing is that Seesaw has an “Activity Library”, where you can search through free activities that have already been created by and for teachers like you. If you aren’t finding exactly what you need in Seesaw’s library of activities, you can also search Teachers Pay Teachers, where many creators have free and paid resources that they have added to Seesaw. By utilizing the activity library, you can take a lot of stress off of your plate, and still be giving students high quality digital activities to complete.
Tip #4 Connect Families
My final tip for using Seesaw in kindergarten is to connect families. Parents love being able to see what their students have been working on. Students love being able to share their portfolios with their parents. It is a great way to get parents more involved in what their students are working on in school, and a great way to help students take pride in their work. Overall, it can just be an excellent tool for communicating with families of your students.
Seesaw and other online learning platforms have become more important than ever over the past year. We have had to find tools and resources that are user friendly for our students, don’t add to the stress of teaching, and are effective for making connections with families about their student’s learning. Luckily, Seesaw is able to do all of these things and more.