Thinking About Reading and Planning Out Writing



First and second grade have begun to use Seesaw in a multitude of ways, but they have found that the app has been particularly useful in Reading and Writing Workshop. It has been great for engaging students in the thinking that we teach them during the minilesson, and has helped them to make plans as well.

You will see that the examples below aren't anything fancy, and yes, you can use MANY other apps to produce the similar student work. However, the big draw for our teachers in choosing Seesaw, is that when a student submits work to their portfolio, they can sort it into a folder, and the teacher not only recieves an instant notification on the teacher device, but they instantly have access to all the student work in one place without students having to go through another platform to submit or send it. Whether they choose to call a child over to review work with him or her, or perhaps take the iPad home and review everything submitted that day at a later time, it has allowed students to check their thinking, and teachers to assess in a much more seamless manner.

Writing Like a Scientist

In first grade, students are going through a non-fiction writing unit where they learn to plan out experiments, test them, and write about this process as they go along. By the end of the unit, students will have written several science experiment books and choose one to revise, extend and publish.

Seesaw was used to help students generate as well as collect science experiment ideas. Throughout the unit, students are encouraged to continue to come up with science experiments they could possibly do and write about. Seesaw is simple enough that teachers can just say "Go save your idea on Seesaw", whenever a student comes up with one. Then when time comes around to choose an experiment to write about, they go back to their Seesaw portfolio and look through their ideas. If they finish one, there's always more, so the process doesn't end!

Within each piece, students are asked to work with a partner to:

  1. Think of a question

  2. Come up with individual hypotheses

  3. Plan what materials they would need (must be able to find these things in the classroom)

They then go and collect their materials, take a photograph, and record their question and hypotheses. This is sent to both students' portfolios. Teachers can leave comments later on to encourage further thinking, which could lead to students reworking their ideas and submitting a new experiment. Students have also been working on learning to speak clearly and in full sentences. Here are some examples:

From Laura Walter, 1st Grade Teacher, TAS

Demonstrating Reading Strategies



In second grade, teachers have begun asking students to keep their iPads with them at their reading spots.

Whatever the focus of the minilesson might be, students need to demonstrate it at least once during their independent reading time. This could later possibly transition into demonstrating their partner work as well.

I particularly like how teachers use it to collect evidence of reading or writing, even if they didn't get to confer with that student on that day, they are able to check in and see where the student is at. With this information, teachers are able to find patterns among students and create small strategy groups. It is working as a great formative assessment tool.

Here are some examples of how teachers have asked their students to use Seesaw as they read:

1. Discovering new and interesting words

We always use books to learn new vocabulary. The integration of technology into this process allows students to take notice and think deeper about new words they come across.

From Steve Collins, 2nd Grade Teacher, TAS

2. Show strategies for figuring out tricky words, both pronunciation and meaning

In this particular example students were asked to check the charts for strategies whenever they came across on in their books. They needed to write the word then first explain how they figured out the pronunciation, then second talk about how they figured out the meaning. Here is an example of one of the charts:

Reading chart for tackling trouble

As you can see there are strategies that are for figuring out pronunciation and others to figure out meaning. Students needed to refer back to this through the lesson. Sometimes they even did a 'strategy smash' to figure it out!

From Katarina Safradin, 2nd Grade Teacher, TAS

3. Finding new craft techniques

Sometimes teachers ask students to read as writers and look at texts to discover new craft techniques. Here are a few examples of students who have discovered new craft techniques that help them understand the book better and that they might try out in their own writing.

From Steve Collins, 2nd Grade Teacher, TAS

How do you see using this tool in your classroom?