By Ann Corrado (@AnnCorrado)
Recently, I stood in front of my class and asked the question, “Why are we doing this?” The question was much more specific to the subject, but the response was eye-opening: no one could answer me. No one raised their hand. No one shouted out a response. The silence was deafening, causing me to rethink how I approach my learning objectives. I was posting them on their board. I was repeating them every day. Yet no one knew why …
I later sat at my desk and thought, “How I can I help my students understand the why?” And if students don’t know why they are learning something, how can they be asked to set a goal?
With this in mind, I reviewed my approach to sharing objectives which ultimately leads to students understanding the why. I thought about how students were goal setting and where the goals lived: written down in a binder in their desk where they could easily be forgotten. This is when I decided to give SeeSaw a shot.
After researching SeeSaw, I realized this “Learner Driven” resource was the perfect medium for goal setting. SeeSaw is a digital learning journal that provides opportunities for learners to set goals, assess their own understanding, and reflect on their progress. Not only is it easy to use, but students have options on how to communicate in a way that they feel comfortable, including:
- Taking or inserting a picture
- Recording their voice
- Making a video
- Drawing a picture
- Uploading a file
- Inserting a link
- Writing a note
Students’ first assignment was goal setting in writing. They reviewed their graded writing piece, studied the rubric and set goals for themselves. Their job was to set a small attainable goal that they could go back to and see if they had reached it. The results were amazing!
Some students took pictures of their work, circled a specific example of what they wanted to improve and then shared their goal in a caption under the picture, while others uploaded their papers, annotated them and included captions. One student cut out a specific section of the rubric, took a picture of it and pinpointed what he needed to achieve that score on the rubric.
I sat there reviewing each child’s post and wondered how this simple tool had such a positive effect on my students. Then I realized that SeeSaw gave them a chance to use their voice. They were also able to choose a means of communication that made them feel comfortable. Their goals became attainable because they were visible.
Seesaw helps students capture and understand the learning process, not just an end result. It also allows teachers to attain a real-time understanding of how students are progressing toward an end goal.