Differentiation in Seesaw

Today contributor: Megan Kite is the librarian at Pleasant Hill Elementary.

I have been a fan and user of Seesaw ever since I discovered it as a kindergarten teacher back in 2013. It is a great tool to showcase classroom learning, cultivate community, and integrate technology in meaningful ways. The platform has evolved over the years to include some amazing features that help educators differentiate for all types of learners in their classroom. Today, I’m going to share three ways you can scaffold activities to support your students.

Bilingual text and audio

As a dual-language campus, we have at least one class per grade level that instructs in Spanish as well as English. When I’m creating activities for these classes, it’s important for me to make the assignment accessible in both languages. Following the dual-language model, I make the English text blue and the Spanish text red. I also write and record instructions in English and Spanish. While you could create two separate assignments for each language, I prefer to combine them to give students a choice about which language they complete the activity in. It also feels more inclusive in this manner and exposes students to both languages to facilitate their biliteracy growth.

Voice recordings

My campus serves a high population of SPED students- about 1 in 5 students qualifies. Many of these students struggle with reading and writing. To help alleviate some of the stress, I use the voice recording feature to read aloud words, sentences, and directions. I encourage the students to first try to read it themselves, but they have the option to press the button if they need help (also helpful for ELLs to train their ear). While the initial instructions are useful, I’ve found that some of my SPED students need them broken down, step-by-step, page-by-page. I’ve started to include a question mark box on each page, which they can click on to access simplified directions. This also works great for younger students. The voice recordings are not just useful for teachers! Students who are disgraphic or struggle with writing can also use the voice-recording feature (microphone button) to record a response in lieu of typing one.

Draw and Record

Between Tik Tok and Youtube, many students have grown accustomed to learning things from quick video tutorials. The draw and record option on Seesaw is a great way for educators to emulate these popular platforms’ content. You can add multimedia instructions by selecting the drawing tool and then recording yourself completing the activity. This is a great way to think-aloud, demonstrate how to correct common errors, and set expectations. One thing I find frustrating is there isn’t a way to copy and paste the activity you’ve made in the student response into the instructions, so if you want it there, you’ll have to essentially make the activity twice. A workaround is to make the first page of the student response the tutorial instead.

I hope you’ll give one of these differentiating techniques a try. Seesaw has a short video that elaborates more on multi-modal scaffolding in their platform. Good luck, and happy teaching!

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