When the Student Becomes the Teacher

As a 4th grade math teacher I am always looking for ways to put my kids in the driver seat. I am always trying to find ways for them to be doing the teaching rather than me. How can I give them a real audience? How can I allow them to take more ownership in their learning? How can I provide them with more of a voice in my classroom? After reflecting on those (and many more) questions, my teammate and I decided to give Seesaw a shot in our classroom and man was it a success! The kids absolutely loved their homework. Yes, you read that correctly. They loved doing their homework! They loved that they could watch each other’s videos, like the video, and even comment on videos. They liked that they were not completing a worksheet for once.

So let’s back up… A normal night in 4th grade math consists of student’s completing a worksheet covering a topic that they learned either that day in class or recently. Worksheets can be necessary on one hand, but really don’t provide room for differentiation, checking for understanding, or insight into the student’s thinking. We were teaching our kids how to use an addition method known as partial-sums method and many kids were struggling with how to use this method. My teammate and I decided that this would be a great time to use the Seesaw app because we would quickly be able to assess who understands the method and who needs some extra help. Plus, bonus, it gave them a real world audience, their classmates. Each kid was asked to go home and use the whiteboard feature on the app and create a quick, short tutorial that would teach someone how to use the partial sums method. We quickly not only realized who has mastered the method and who hasn’t, but also who has great public speaking skills and who needs some work. The kids learned a very valuable skill that happens daily in our world – commenting on each other’s work. Training wheels for one day when they have social media accounts. We were able to use a controlled app to teach them appropriate ways to comment/like each other’s work and leave a positive digital footprint. What were some of their reactions when they came to school the next day?
“That was actually fun homework!”
“Can we use Seesaw again?”
“I liked how one of my classmates used a hard problem. It really showed that they were challenging themselves.”
“I liked that I could watch other people’s videos and learn from my classmates.”

Seesaw can always be used in reverse where the teacher creates a video to share with their students. Think flipped classroom.

Here is an example of one of the Seesaw videos that a student created teaching the Partial-Sums Method: http://tinyurl.com/znvlr4v

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