5 Ways You Can Use Seesaw for Remote Teaching

Looking for effective tools and strategies to enhance your remote learning during school closures? Veteran teacher and edtech expert Lisa shares 5 powerful ways to use the Seesaw platform for highly effective online teaching.

Updated on: May 6, 2020

5 tips for using Seesaw for remote learning

When you think of a seesaw, you’re probably picturing the classic teeter-totter playground favorite in which two kids sit opposite one another and use their legs to push off the ground, engaging in an up and down, back and forth game. If you haven’t heard of the teaching app Seesaw, it hinges on a similar principle of a back and forth, except the two kids opposite one another are more like the teacher and the class. Seesaw is a fantastic website and app that makes remote teaching engaging, more fun, and easily accessible for students, parents, and teachers.

On the Seesaw site, they state that Seesaw is “Student driven digital portfolios and simple parent communication,” and I have found that this quote is exactly what Seesaw is. Kids can post updates to their own portfolio, teachers can post updates for everyone, and everyone can see each others’ work (or the work can remain private-- it’s up to the teacher!). I used Seesaw prior to the world catching on fire, so my class is used to logging on, but part of the beauty of Seesaw is that kids can easily log on from home regardless of if they’ve used the app before. More information about how to generate a class and help kids to log on can be found on the .

Here are five different ways that I have utilized Seesaw to help teach online:

Teacher Posting Videos

Seesaw has been absolutely instrumental for me as I know that kids will respond best to lessons and read-alouds taught by me. As I filmed my first math lesson on geometric terms and watched as the video became ten minutes long, I wondered if there was any way I could possibly push my lesson out to kids. I started out trying to attach the video to an email, which did not work. I then tried to upload the video to Google Docs, which took somewhere around three hours…and then I remembered that Seesaw offers the ability to either record video directly on the app, or upload a video right from your phone! The ten minute video processed and uploaded in less than a minute, and I was even able to find a shareable link to send to ANYONE, not only my class on Seesaw! I have posted numerous math lessons, as well as videos of myself reading our latest read aloud book, Matilda, by Roald Dahl!

Students Posting Videos

Another wonderful feature of Seesaw is that it is not only a place for the teacher to post videos and assignments, the kids can post, too! I almost think of Seesaw as an educational Facebook timeline! One way that I’ve loved to keep interacting with the kids and having the kids interact with one another is to offer opportunities for kids to respond to some assignments with their own videos, rather than always requiring them to write by hand or on the computer. One of my math assignments was to have the kids go around their house and do a scavenger hunt looking for line segments and angles! The results were fabulous and the kids were able to see each others’ scavenger hunts. Offering students multiple means of representation of their assignments has also led to the kids not getting bored or frustrated if writing is hard for them.

Contacting Families

If you feel like you are being the helicopter parent emailing out ten different messages per day, you are not alone! Seesaw is a great place to push out announcements and keep everything streamlined in one place! In addition to posting student work to the Seesaw “journal,” you as the teacher can post messages in a Seesaw-specific inbox, AND you can message families, kids, or both. This way, instead of parents constantly seeing new emails pop up in their personal or work emails, they can designate a time to check Seesaw for relevant information related to school.

Assigning Activities

Another great way to keep messages to your class streamlined is to assign activities directly through Seesaw on the “Activities” section of the app. When you create a new activity, you get to name your activity, include direct links, instructions, and can even include voice instructions and a student template to help them respond. It’s like a virtual teaching lesson plus graphic organizer plus links and instructions all in one!

Creating a Classroom Community in One Place

During this time of pandemic, what I believe is more important than academics is the ability for the class to continue to come together as a community, and I would argue this point for any age, any grade, anybody-- everyone needs their communities right now. When I scroll through my Seesaw, here is a snapshot of what I can see: a photo of a student wearing her school shirt, a video of a kid playing basketball and doing a trick, an online drawing of a rainbow, a video of a student who built a LEGO vending machine, and so much more. It is imperative that we keep the fun in learning and continue to bond over shared activities as much as possible during these times, and Seesaw is a great way to keep us all together, even while we are apart.

Do you have great ideas for using edtech? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Lisa Koplik is a fourth-grade teacher at the Greenwood School in Wakefield, Massachusetts. She loves teaching math, reading intense read-aloud books that promote complaints when she has to stop reading, and figuring out educational games to play with her students. Check out her video series on classroom management!.

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