Using Seesaw to Monitor Progress in a Special Education Classroom

This school year I started using Seesaw, and I see so much potential in its application in a special education classroom, that I thought I should write a post about it.  First, I should say that I'm in no way being compensated by Seesaw.  I just want to share with you an interactive program that has many benefits for students with special needs.  I'm going to give you a step-by-step process to registering your account, and then I'll talk about some of the ways you can use Seesaw to monitor progress and update your parents on the amazing things that are happening in your classroom.

The URL for Sessaw is https://web.seesaw.me/, or you can just click HERE.  You will see their home page:


Click login in the top right corner, and you will be taken to a page that looks like this:


Click "I'm a teacher," and you'll be taken to the next screen:


You will first need to create your account, and you only need your name, email and password.  You can also register using your google account, which is easier if you already have a google account.  It is free to register.


Once you register, you will have a tutorial screen guide you through the process.  It's really easy, so I won't recap the information that the tutorial provides.


Once you've named your class, selected your grade levels and added your students' names, you'll be taken to this screen.  Watch the 2:28 video to give you an idea of how teachers are using Seesaw.  If you're curious and want to watch the video before you register, click HERE.

Your page will start out blue on the background with no pictures.  Your students' names will be listed in the right column.  I'm going to give you a few tips on how to customize your page.

To customize the color and picture on your teacher background, click the little wrench in the top right corner.  Class settings will appear, and you will see "Class theme."  Click here to change your color.  Below you will see "Class icon."  You can upload a picture of yourself, or you can upload a picture that symbolizes your classroom.  Seesaw also offers cute emojis.


As you can see, I've now changed my background to seafoam, and I added my picture.  Scroll down on Class settings, and you'll see "Manage students."  Click there, and you'll be taken to a screen that lists your students.  If you want to insert their pictures where you see their initials, simply click on their name, and then click "Icon."  You can select an emoji or upload a picture of your student.  In my class, I uploaded pictures of my students, but right now, I'll just use an emoji for my one-student example class.



You're now ready to start posting.  Seesaw lets you create folders, and I highly encourage you to set these up, as it's really easy, and once you begin using Seesaw with your parents, it'll help them to understand what is happening in each post.  Click the green circle with the white plus sign, and you'll see a menu open up.  Click the middle selection that says "Post to Student Journal."


You will see this screen.  Seesaw lets you upload pictures, videos, drawings, notes, links and files.  Choose any one of these to get started on adding your files.  You can add files directly from your computer, or if you want to take your picture or video on the spot, you can do that too.


Once your file has been uploaded, you need to click the green circle with the check mark on the top right to advance to the next screen.


On this screen, you can rotate, record, draw, label and add captions.  I think that adding a quick caption is always helpful for parents.


Once you add what you want, click the check mark in the green circle, and you will be taken to the screen where your students are listed.  I only have one student in this example class, but you will have a list.  Everything you post will be listed on your teacher post page, but parents will only see the posts where their student's name was selected.  If it's an announcement for all of your parents, of course, you'd click "Everyone."



You can now see that my picture has been posted, but it hasn't been put into a file.  I'm going to show you how to add files to keep your posts organized.  After you add your files, they will always pop up after the student names page when making a post.  So, you will always be able to easily add a post only to the applicable students' page, and you will always be able to quickly label it in a folder.

Under my post, you can see symbols similar to Facebook where parents can like or comment on the post.  On that row, there is a little file folder.  Click there.  A pop-up that looks like this will appear.  If you feel confident, just click "Create a Folder!"  Seesaw also offers a "Show me how," so I won't explain too much, and I'll get straight to the folders.


You can choose a different color for each folder, and at the top is where you will label your folder.  Once you create one folder, click the green circle with the check, and you can continue to create folders.  Although you can always create folders later, I think it's easy to initially add the ones you know you are going to need.  I'm going to show you a list of folders that I've found helpful.


I showed as many as could be seen in one screen, but you can customize your folders however you like.  Also, you'll see little green check marks next to each folder.  You want to make sure that you only check the pictures that apply to that particular post.  My picture has now been labeled with the folder School is Fun!  All of the other folders that I created are saved so that when I make posts in the future, I only need to check the folders that are applicable.


All of your posts can now easily be sorted by student and folder.  Parents can look at your posts and know whether it's a classroom activity or if it's an activity that directly supports their IEP.  On the bottom right of the screen is a link that says "Invite families."  Click here, and Seesaw offers you options for inviting that are all really easy to use.


Seesaw offers many other features, but these are just the basics on how to get started.  This is such an amazing site for special education classrooms for many reasons:

(1) Our students can have difficulty communicating their school day to their parents, so this empowers parents to open up a dialogue about their school day when students get home.

(2) Our students will benefit from their parents being able to reinforce the learning at home that they have been working on at school.

(3) If students are having difficulty with a particular goal, or on the opposite end, if they are showing significant progress with a goal, parents are informed of the different strategies, accommodations and modifications that are being used in the classroom to help students meet their goals.

(4) Students love seeing their pictures and videos on this site, and I've noticed that when they know that their parents are going to be seeing their page, they take the learning process more seriously.

I could go on with more reasons why I love this site, but I will leave you to explore on your own.  I hope this post was helpful, and have a great year!

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