Learning Isn’t Just Paper & Pencil

Today’s Contributor: Mariana Martin, Andrews Elementary CIC

My name is Mariana Martin. I’m a first-grade dual-language teacher. This is my first year in first grade after two years teaching the third grade. I learned a lot in those two years and now I feel prepared to take the on challenge of teaching first graders. I am loving it!

Last year I tried really hard to incorporate technology into my classroom. It was really hard, considering all of the requirements a STAAR grade has. This year I am determined to include more technology in my first-grade classroom. I want my students to see that iPads and technology are not just for watching YouTube and playing Fortnite. I want them to see that you can learn new and important things using technology in fun ways, that learning isn’t just paper and pencil.

This year I have 20 iPads just for my classroom (#blessed) and I have free range to do research and use those iPads the best way I can. I found many useful resources that promote learning, but I was introduced to an extraordinary application called Seesaw. This is such an amazing tool that every teacher should try in their classroom.

On Seesaw you can create or choose activities to assign for the students. There are so many types of activities to choose from. For example, to introduce my students to Seesaw I found an activity called “Welcome to Seesaw.” The students had to draw a portrait of themselves, take a picture of it using the camera tool in Seesaw, and then, using the microphone tool, record themselves talking about their drawing and things they like. After they are all done, all of the students add it to their “journal.” What’s cool about the journals is that the entire class is able to see their friends’ works and like it, or write a comment.

Another amazing feature of Seesaw is that you can use it for parent communication. You send an invite to the parents with a QR code for them to scan and they will automatically have access to their child’s journal. There, they will see the different assignments their child has completed, and they can comment and like those assignments. Something I use it for is to take pictures of them doing other activities and posting them on Seesaw, so it wasn’t a Seesaw activity, but it was something I wanted to show the parent (see picture). Also, when the parents connect to your class through Seesaw, they can use this tool to communicate with the teacher and vice versa. You can do “Family Announcements,” which is a group message for you to send information to all of the parents. For example, if you forgot to send a flyer home with the students, you can easily take a picture and send it through Seesaw. You can also communicate with the parents individually. This is like Remind, but better.

I can’t wait to plan more activities using Seesaw. The kids love it and are constantly asking when we will be using it again. Parents also love how easy it is to communicate with me and to see the things their child is learning. I fully recommend this tool and am available to provide help if any teacher ever wants to try it. You won’t be disappointed.


  1. I enjoyed this post! I love what I’ve seen from Seesaw. The interactions one can have with students (and parents) building upon lessons through out the course of the year is wonderful. I love how that app builds student ownership and engagement at their level to succeed.

  2. I love Seesaw! It’s amazing that you have so many ipads in your classroom! I’d love to hear what your favorite apps for students to create and publish are, especially that are easy to access for the little ones!

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