My Journey and Taking Seesaw with Me

After 16 wonderful years in 6th grade, I decided to go back to my first love, kindergarten. Regardless of the age I am teaching, technology plays a major role in my classroom. It may look different from 6th grade to kindergarten, although I was surprised to find how many aspects stay the same. Both grade levels need clear expectations of when and how to use technology.

We are a 1:1 iPad school and technology is part of our daily lives, but I am amazed at the fact that I use the iPads in kindergarten just as much as I did in 6th grade.  Even when the district did the iPad refresh and made my classroom 2:1, I still found meaningful iPad usage as a must!

One of the outstanding apps that I found crossed over well when I made my move was Seesaw. In 6th grade, we used it as an online portfolio and a way to share work with parents, but over the years I have found there is so much more! When my son`s school began using Seesaw, I realized how much I enjoyed seeing into his classroom. Seesaw provides parents with a window into their child`s classroom. Parents see on a daily basis what we are working on. I take pictures, send videos, and messages. Students post their own work by taking pictures, drawing, or recording themselves. As a teacher, I can assess their work and comment. Parents can also make comments. I can also upload items for the students to work off of and can make activities for them to complete and access through Seesaw. It is so easy to use and such a fantastic tool. My kindergartners use it daily!

Amidst Remote Learning right now, the tool is even more important than before.  I send daily photos and videos to help stay connected.  The students in turn, send me photos, videos, and share all their work through Seesaw.  I am staying connected with parents through the app as well.  Sending them daily announcements, which help with reminders or even videos to help with instruction.  I can provide them links and they can ask questions.  In truth, I don’t know where I would be without Seesaw at this point!

As a Seesaw Ambassador, I have been able to help spread my love of Seesaw.

Thank you Seesaw for helping me to stay connected with my families!

Janice Conboy

(Artifacts) – Staying Connected with Seesaw through Video and Audio Recordings

During the technology class that I am taking, I need to come up with two artifacts of items that I have created to share and reflect on them.  I have chosen to reflect on my use of videos and audios that I use through Seesaw.

During this time, when we are not in schools it is even more important to stay connected with our students and families.  I am able to do this through the use of Seesaw.  I have also been stepping outside of my comfort zone and sharing pictures, videos, and audios of myself to help my students feel more connected.

The first artifact is simply, my first day of “Home Learning” video for the students and their families.  It took several takes to get across what I wanted to say and when I was finished, I didn’t think it was anything special.  My hope is that it would provide some comfort for my kinders, being able to see my face and hear my voice.  And that’s what ended up making it special in the end.  I found out it did have a positive impact and my principal asked me to share the video with her because she had heard about it when the families went to school to pick up their materials.  I learned that a simple video had more than an impact that I could have imagined.  This has motivated me to continue to send a daily video, even if it is brief.  I have also used curriculum videos to create Seesaw activities.  This has also helped the students stay connected with the curriculum.

Artifact 1 – Home Learning Video

The second artifact is using audio to do a recording of a story.  This provided a wonderful opportunity to have my students practice visualizing.  Since our ELA and science curriculum tie so well together, I chose The Great Blizzard from our reading series because we are discussing weather in science.  I made a Seesaw activity and asked the students to draw what they visualized after listening to my reading of the story.  It was amazing to see all the different work!  Some of the pictures were so detailed.  During the process, I learned to be clear with giving the directions.  I changed the directions several times and I was happy with the simpler directions, because it truly let me see what the students’ visualized.  I have been sending my students daily read alouds read by me, but I learned that it is harder to read when you are not showing the pictures.  When I did this activity, I was very careful to enunciate and emphasize parts of the story to give a clear picture.  Then one of my students took it even further and found another story about the Blizzard of 1888.  He read that story and wrote about it, what a great connection!  Again, something that seemed to be a simple assignment, turned out to be something really special!

Artifact 2 – Seesaw Activity

The Great Blizzard Drawing
By Andrew (Kindergarten Student)
The Great Blizzard Writing
By Andrew (Kindergarten Student)


My Journey on How to Properly Share Content with a Global Audience

“When we see teachers and students learn how to properly share content, and how their global audience takes note, it is amazing how students’ interest and  motivation soars.”

Now Classrooms K-2 book

What I am thankful for…

As a mom, I am thankful that my children’s teachers use Twitter to share what happens in the classroom.

As an educator, I am thankful that teachers worldwide share their ideas on Twitter.

As a classroom teacher, I am thankful that I found a way for my students to share, in their own words, both to their teacher, parent and other students all at the same time through the free app, Seesaw Learning Journal.

My journey on how to “properly share content”-

It all started with Twitter.  When our district started first using Twitter years ago, it was something that some teachers gravitated to and others stayed far away from.  For me, I logged on and was simply an observer for a while. I sat and watched what others were doing in their classroom and how they were sharing information.   Then one day, I got brave. After checking my “Do not photo list” I decided it was time to post about my classroom

Here are my first two posts from 2013:

What I realized quickly, was that people were watching.  My district was watching, my bosses were watching, other teachers were watching and parents were watching.  Twitter was the first avenue I used to help parents and others understand what happened in the kindergarten classroom.  It was a way for parents to engage in a rich conversation with their children about something that happened during their day.

I found a way to share my experiences with a local and global audience, but I needed something that the students could do with more independence.

In 2015, I was introduced to Seesaw.  Again, I went to a class about it and then…I waited.  I am not sure what got me to try it for the first time, but I am beyond happy that I did.  What I realized quickly, was that when I used Seesaw, “students interest soared” and SO did their learning.

Here is an example from one of my first years using Seesaw.  This is a non-English speaking student. It shows how he was able to collaborate in a meaningful way with his peers to better understand a challenging science concept.  I chose this video for the blog because I think it shows how collaboration and use of technology also has a hands-on, personal side. Imagine the social-emotional learning and cooperation that happened at this center while this student was creating this video:  Collaborating, communicating, critical thinking and creativity. He as doing it all. The best part is, that as a teacher, I could evaluate his understanding of science vocabulary and concepts (at a convenient time for me) and his parents could hear what his was doing in school.

Watch the video here.

The power that we have as teachers when we find the right tools is truly amazing.  When we can share what is happening it the classroom with peers, parents, teachers and the world, the desire to learn truly deepens.  It is my hope, you will read this today and become inspired to try something free…and new… that can be life changing in your educational career!

Tell us about your experience on Twitter using #nowclassrooms and tag me @MrsHatlen


Weather Movie Makers

Our students are expected to share their learning through a variety of media, so we like to create fun, engaging projects with each unit of study!  Second grade was researching various types of weather and wanted a special way to produce their hard work!

We created newscasts using the FABULOUS green screen app by Doink!  We use this app for many purposes, but this project was the first time we tried using all three layers of movie magic!

Our students saved images of their storms, an empty newsdesk and then dressed for the part!  They were able to be reporters at a newsdesk to introduce their friends, and change scenes using iMovie to create a complete weather research report!

We used our green wall, a desk and the app by Do Ink to create the fun.  Each child was filmed sitting at the desk, and standing by the green wall with a microphone, just like the real weather reporters!  We put all the clips together in iMovie, and shared them with our families on Seesaw Learning Journal!

A great lesson on real-world connections, collaboration and communicating our learning in a very sophisticated way!  Enjoy a great example here:
By Lissa Blake @D60HolmesTech


50s Day School Movie!

We celebrate the 50th day of school by dressing up in poodle skirts, rolled up jeans and hula hoop competitions!  I wanted to create something with each classroom to celebrate the 50th day integrating our technology throughout the entire school!

I took some time to research all the fun products that came about in the 1950s that our young students would know or care about still today! Each classroom picked the product out of a hat, we did some class research using a variety of tools and produced a short movie with our findings!

We learned about everything from PEZ dispensers and McDonald’s to Play-Doh and Frosted Flakes!  The kids loved learning about all the fun products that they still may use today  while we all learned a great new app, Puppet EDU (Shadow Puppet) to publish our research and share with our friends.

I took all the short videos, and put them together in iMovie with a 1950s soundtrack to complete the final project!  We all got to celebrate together by watching the movie our whole school worked hard to create in our classrooms on the 50th day of school!


What an easy and fun way to bring our school community together, and learn a little along the way!

Enjoy our school video:

By Lissa Blake @D60holmestech

We Are Going On an iPad Shape Hunt… and I Am Assessing You!

My Kinders have been learning a lot about shapes and how to describe them.  My Kinders love to use their iPads in any way possible so all through our shape lessons we have been drawing, identifying and describing shapes on our ipads.   I decided it was time to assess my kiddos and see where they were at with all of their shapes and what better way to do it than on a shape hunt!

Each student was given a shape hunt recording form so they knew what shapes they were looking for around our room.

They were to find each shape around our room and take a picture.

Then edit the picture to isolate the shape.


Finally, the students used Puppet Edu to create a mini book  They selected each picture they took and then describe their shapes using the recording option in the app!




After modeling the process for my students


once, they were off! I did leave the directions on the board for my students to see in case they needed reminders but they did great! It’s amazing that 5 and 6-year-olds can complete all these steps independently!

After they finished their project in Puppet Edu they saved to their Seesaw portfolio. I was able to listen to all of my students recordings and see the shapes they took pictures of in about 15 minutes after school and I didn’t have to find time during our already busy day to individually assess each student.  I love saving time….there is just never enough of it in the day.  Now the other great thing about Seesaw is not only do I know if each student can identify and describe shapes but so do their parents!   No more waiting for report cards or parent-teacher conferences to give them updates.   Who knew that assessing for common core math standards could be so easy and so fun! There will definitely be more “hunts” in our classroom!

Kindergarten teacher Kristy Hopkins @HopkinsKinder

Academic Vocabulary Student Driven Review

Academic vocabulary words can be tricky for young students to understand since they are not words readily used in their daily language. The second-grade team was looking for a way for students to define and review these words in an accessible way.

We used an app called Puppet EDU (formerly called Shadow Puppet) to create short slide show videos with the students voice recordings.

Students were placed in small groups to complete this activity to allow for collaboration and more communication about what these words mean to the students.

Each student was given a graphic organizer to come up with synonyms for the word in “kid friendly” language. Then, each student was asked to draw a picture to show what their word meant to them.

Once we had some definitions, synonyms, and images to explain our vocabulary words we added them to the app Puppet EDU.

Students were able to record their voice over each image or text to explain what those words meant in their own language.

We shared our work on Seesaw, labeling each movie within a vocabulary folder, so all students can access these at home or at school to review the words often!

What an easy, and student driven, way to reinforce our academic vocabulary words!

Check out a great example here:

Lissa Blake, k-2 Instructional Coach


Recording Sight Word Fun!

iPads make recording our learning so easy, and possible for our young students! We love sharing and showing what we have learned with our families at home through online posts.

This week, I was working in a ELL Kindergarten classroom, and they are struggling with learning and articulating their sight words. Many of the students parents do not speak English, which also makes it harder for them to practice at home as well. So, we came up with a simple idea for students to record their sight words using images and voice, then post them online for parents to learn at home with them.

Students were given letters and paper and were asked to spell their favorite sight word. Then they were asked to take a picture of the word, then each letter to spell the word in order.

We used a fabulous, easy app, Puppet EDU, to create a slide show and record our voice over the word and letters. Once we saved the movies, we posted them to our Seesaw account for parents to see at home!

Students are now able to use this as a guided reading center to watch, listen and engage in basic sight word practice! Authentic audience, authentic purpose!

Instructional Coach Lissa Blake

Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety

We start the year by making sure all of our students hear the same internet safety lesson to help keep our students safe and start the conversations about our digital footprint, even at a young age.

Common Sense Media is a wonderful site to look for information, ideas and lessons to help teach students about being a responsible digital citizen.

I found a great resource that I used with my second grade students, a video called “Pause and Think Online”. I played the animated music video for my students, which they truly enjoy and start to sing along as we watch it together. Then we have a great class discussion about how to keep ourselves safe online, respect each other and give ourselves a balance of online and outside time.

Once we had this great discussion, I gave them each a bookmark, since what primary student doesn’t LOVE a bookmark

Students were in small groups, and were put to a task of creating a “poster” that tells about some of the information on their bookmarks. They were given choice to create with images of themselves, text or clipart. I gave them a time limit, and let them go on one of our favorite stand by apps, Pic Collage.

Here is our teacher example:

When the time was up, they were put on the task of posting their “poster” on their class Seesaw page and present it to the class.

Great job second graders!

Instructional Coach Lissa Blake