Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Learn.BLEND.Lead Student Agency

We have been talking a lot about student agency and how students take ownership of their learning in the classroom. For the past couple of years, I have been a big fan of SeeSaw. Every year, I learn more about how I can use the program gauge my students' learning, and the over the past couple of years, the quality of student demonstration videos and posts have really improved! I love that this program can be as exciting now as it was for me a couple of years ago. It is proving to stand the test of time, which is rare in technology these days. 

I love how SeeSaw enhances our classroom community. Students can hop online and share out their learning in various ways: pictures with text or voice recordings, drawings with text or voice recordings, videos, and Google Drive uploads. SeeSaw not only allows them to build their own digital reflection and learning portfolio, but also offer peer reflections, critiques, and receive feedback from peers/parents/staff at school. Students have become accustomed to posting quality work that showcases their learning in an environment that fosters growth and challenges them through questioning and comments from peers, parents, and staff. 

Here are some videos that my students have created with SeeSaw so far this year to showcase their learning. 

In this video a student is re-telling one of our focus stories, Little Red Riding Hood. Through the video, I can gauge whether students are able to sequence and tell the story correctly (a first grade Common Core standard). In this short video, I gain information about the story elements, and the student gets to share their learning in a fun way! Additionally, what a time saver in the classroom! Instead of having students write, cut/glue and sequence pictures, or listen to all 27 oral retellings during class time, this is a way that I can flip my classroom within the classroom, and watch the videos on my own time later, while we keep moving to the next thing in the classroom. I don't always do this for re-tellings, but the students really enjoy it, and it keeps things engaging when we shake it up every once in awhile! 

In this video, this child is sharing her tip on how to tie shoes in a "new" way! This aligns with our "How To"/procedural writing unit, but offers so much more! We talk a lot about independence in first grade and self-help skills are a must in order for students to feel independent and successful at school when they can do age-appropriate things on their own! This shoe tying video was posted on SeeSaw so that her friends in class could learn an easier way to tie, and they would have the video at their fingertips at school or home during the learning process. We know that the highest form of learning and mastery is being able to teach others, so let's just go ahead and give this a "4" on that Marzano scale! 

During our Human Body unit of study, students wrote a non-fiction book about the body systems, with one fun fact for each system. Once we published the final copy of the book, student authors had a chance to share their publication on SeeSaw in order to share it with a greater audience. This new take on author's chair eliminates the need for students to wait extended periods of time for their peers to stand up and read to the class one after the other, or for authors chair to be broken up over the course of a few short sessions for 2-3 days. There are times that we do share our writings in traditional face to face author's chair format, but this is another way that students stay motivated during the writing process, knowing that they will also get feedback from their parents, our principal, or myself! It is fun to write for a big audience! 

Sometimes I also like to catch little conversations and moments of exploration on video, as well. They are authentic pieces of assessment for me, and they also show the true nature of little minds in action. 

All of these videos are SeeSaw videos, but I often upload them to YouTube from the SeeSaw app after students post them so that I can use them in our classroom blog. Parents enjoy seeing their child's SeeSaw page, and the blog shows how these posts fit into the bigger picture of our learning, units, and goals. 

You can check out my classroom blog here: Mrs. Powell's Class Blog to find each post and some other SeeSaw content other than videos. 

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  1. Keri - this is so fantastic! I'm sure your students are thriving because of the environment you create to help them lead their learning. So amazing!!

    1. Hi Erin,
      Thank you! We certainly have fun with our learning and I love seeing how much they grow throughout the year!