Seesaw and the BPS Great 8

Recently, Patrick Murphy and I have been assisting our Fox Hill colleagues who have integrated Seesaw into their teaching practice with identifying the specific standards and indicators on the teacher evaluation they have met and have given them suggestions for evidence to submit to their evaluator. I decided to write this post to help all Burlington educators realize that their use of Seesaw meets many of the indicators listed in the BPS Great 8. We hope our colleagues who have used Seesaw find this post helpful and that it makes gathering evidence for evaluation purposes as efficient as possible. Feel free to copy and paste or paraphrase any part of this post into your evaluation write up if it is applicable.

Invite Your Evaluator to be a Co-Teacher

To give evaluators a full and complete understanding of the impact Seesaw has on student learning, its ability to document student growth and development over time, and its capacity to strengthen the home/school connection, we strongly recommend Burlington teachers make their evaluator a co-teacher in their Seesaw class(es). As an alternative, or in conjunction with adding an administrator as a co-teacher, we suggest  capturing screenshots from Seesaw classes to submit as evidence. Now, let’s examine the BPS Great 8 standards, indicators, and examples of evidence.

Standard I: Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment

A teacher who shares curriculum objectives, lessons plans, incorporates project-based learning (projects involving other apps such as iMovie, Book Creator, Explain Everything, Chatter Pix, Google Docs, etc.) and provides frequent student feedback via Seesaw can meet the indicators that fall under:

Standard I: Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment: The teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high-quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an ongoing basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.

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Evidence from Seesaw that can be used to meet Indicator I-A – Knows the subject matter well, has a good grasp of child development and how students learn, and designs effective and rigorous standards-based units of instruction consisting of well-structured lessons with measurable outcomes includes:

  • Uploading lesson plans and standards-based learning objectives (either daily or weekly)

 

  • Uploading instructional videos to Seesaw. This method of instruction would be especially helpful for students (and their parents) to understand complex math and science concepts and would also be an excellent resource for students who are absent. This instructional strategy is essentially flipping a lesson, which ultimately increases time spent working with students in small groups or individually, helps to determine groups for differentiation and to make adjustments to teaching practices. Uploading instructional videos to Seesaw meets indicator: Indicator I-A-1: Subject Matter Knowledge: Demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and the pedagogy it requires by consistently engaging students in learning experiences that enable them to acquire complex knowledge and skills in the subject.

 

  • Uploading rubrics so students (and parents) understand how they will be assessed. This example would meet: Indicator I-B. Assessment- Uses a variety of informal and formal methods of assessments to measure student learning, growth, and understanding to develop differentiated and enhanced learning experiences and improve future instruction.

Standard II: Teaching All Students

Seesaw will provide educators with evidence they have met Standard II: Teaching All Students- The teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency. 

Two of the Great 8 indicators in this standard that teachers must provide evidence of are:

Indicator II-A: Instruction – Uses instructional practices that reflect high expectations regarding content and quality of effort and work; engage all students; and are personalized to accommodate diverse learning styles, needs, interests, and levels of readiness.

Indicator II-A-2: Student Engagement- Consistently uses instructional practices that are likely to motivate and engage most students during the lesson.

We have seen countless example of teachers who have had their students use Seesaw’s creative tools (drawing, video, photo, note, etc.) that instantly motivate and engage students during the lesson. What makes Seesaw so powerful is that it is a student-center application. It empowers students to take ownership of their learning, provides student choice and, if used to its fullest potential, encourages reflective thinking about learning. At Fox Hill we encourage teachers to have students think about the work they are uploading to Seesaw as their WOW Work . Examples of evidence that could be used to meet this indicator include:

  • Photos of students’ written work (journals, poems, posters, “I can” statements, math and science problems, etc.)
  • Written responses to essential questions
  • Videos of student presentations
  • Recordings of students reading
  • Drawings of students work
  • Audio recordings of students explaining an uploaded photo or drawing
Screenshot 2018-03-29 at 2.15.10 PM

Student presentations can show progress towards three literacy domains; speaking, reading, and listening

Another EXCELLENT way to show an evaluator you have used instructional strategies that are personalized to accommodate diverse learning styles is to highlight a specific student’s Seesaw journal and the items that are contained in his or her journal. In doing so, you can highlight how a particular student’s skills and knowledge (ELA, math, science, or social studies) have improved over time. Recordings of a student’s oral reading, photos of their writing, math or science projects will show concrete evidence of attainment of the learning goals. If you have consistently had your students upload their work, you should have plenty of examples to choose from.

Another idea for evidence of student engagement is to simply ask students to write, record a video, or make a drawing with audio explaining what they like most about using Seesaw and how it has helped them with their learning. Think of this as a “Seesaw Student Survey.” Gathering this type of student feedback would be a truly authentic example of how Seesaw engages students, amplifies student voice, and creates learning experiences that are personalized to accommodate a variety of learning styles.

Standard III: Family and Community Engagement

Teachers who are using Seesaw are meeting Standard III: Family and Community Engagement: The teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations. 

The list below provides examples of how you may have used Seesaw to connect with and engage families.

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Screenshot 2018-03-29 at 12.30.31 PM

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  • Regularly use the announcement feature to communicate with families. The announcement feature now provides two-way communication and the ability to send attachments with messages. Be sure to share this update with parents so they know they can message you back through Seesaw.
  • Post expectations for classroom behavior (this could be a PDF, video, image, etc)
  • Post learning objectives, important due dates, state testing schedule, field trips, etc.
  • Update parents about curriculum (activities, lessons, assessments, etc.) You may be using a blog or Instagram and you can send a link to your blog/Instagram account through Seesaw as well to show you employ a variety of tools to communicate with parents.
  • Made suggestions to parents on how they can support learning at home. For example, you remind parents to read to their children daily, or encourage parents to have their children read aloud each night before bedtime.

The examples listed above are not all inclusive. You may have implemented different and/or additional strategies to engage families and those items would also be eligible as evidence for Standard III. By design, Seesaw is meant to develop partnerships with the families of your students. If your students have regularly uploaded their work to their Seesaw journals, you should have no shortage of evidence to meet Standard III. Seesaw will certainly help demonstrate that you have the ability to “successfully engage most families and sustain their active and appropriate participation in the classroom and school community.”

Standard IV: Professional Culture

Users of Seesaw are also meeting Standard IV: Professional Culture- Teacher promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice. 

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Karen Saia’s students used Seesaw’s blogging feature to connect with other students in the U.S. and China!

When educators make a specialist, tutor, instructional assistant, special education teacher, or another grade level team member a co-teacher in their Seesaw class(es) they are meeting the indicators in Standard IV: Professional Culture.

Specifically, teachers are meeting indicator IV-C-1: Professional Collaboration-Consistently and effectively collaborates with colleagues in such work as developing standards-based units, examining student work, analyzing student performance, and planning appropriate intervention.

By leveraging the co-teacher feature in Seesaw, teachers can gain additional support from their colleagues in developing lessons and units, assessing student work, and providing student feedback. Teachers can increase their efficiency in grading student work when they collaborate and they can also discuss the individual strengths and areas of concern of their students. Serving as co-teachers has enable Patrick and I to collaborate with our colleagues on several project-based units in Science, Social Studies and ELA. These collaborative experiences have helped teachers develop a deeper understanding of digital pedagogy, how technology can be used to differentiate instruction based on student interest, and how adjusting their practice to include technology can impact student learning. Patrick and I are constantly brainstorming ways we can bring creative, digital learning experiences to our students and we are fortunate to have so many colleagues who are willing to collaborate with us and try new and innovative instructional strategies.

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Working with a co-teacher is an excellent form of collaboration…and one of the best parts of being an Instructional Technology Specialist!

Seesaw Use at Fox Hill to Date

Since last year’s pilot of Seesaw, teachers throughout the Burlington district have made significant progress leveraging this application as a digital portfolio tool. Members of the BPS EdTech Team will continue to find ways to assist teachers in making the use of Seesaw to showcase student work a seamless part of their day.

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Fox Hill’a all-time use of Seesaw

We’re hopeful that the educators and administrators in the Burlington district will continue to think creatively and collaboratively about how we can use Seesaw not only to meet the standards and indicators on the teacher evaluation, but to document our students’ academic growth and social and emotional development in ways that a test score never could. The qualitative data gathered from a comprehensive digital portfolio is significant for all school stakeholders; teachers, administrators, parents and especially the students themselves, to examine and reflect upon.

A portfolio of learning, one which showcases a wide variety of academic disciplines, can provide a complete picture of the whole child; their strengths, interests, and areas for growth. With consistent use of Seesaw, a student’s teachers can develop a deeper understanding of who their students are and how they can build strong and meaningful relationships with each and every one of them. We will continue to promote Seesaw among our colleagues and encourage their professional learning around this application.  In fact, we hope more Burlington educators will become Seesaw ambassadors as their expertise with this application grows and develops.

We hope this post has been helpful as we approach evaluation time and please feel free to contact us if you need further assistance with gathering evidence from Seesaw for  your evaluation.

 

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