Posted in Journal, Technology

Using Seesaw App in a Foreign Language Class

Using Seesaw App in a FL class

Today, I wanted to explain how I used Seesaw last year, and how I plan to improve it this year.  If you are new to using Seesaw, it is a place for students to store their work.  Students can add a picture, video, link, note, drawing or file.  It also divides your students into classes, so they can see other’s work (if you choose).  Last year, I used it any time that students had to write something.  Most of my students just added a “note.”  Students were able to do so very quickly.  My main goal was to have a place for my blended class to journal.  Having Seesaw was MUCH better than having each student have their own blog.  I had to approve each piece before it posted, so I was able to read briefly through each piece.  It was also really easy to leave comments on their work (as you can see below).

Seesaw App

Students could also leave comments on each other’s work.  I encouraged students to do so from time to time as well.  I had to approve the comments too, which is another great feature.  (Interpersonal writing anyone?!)

I appreciated that Seesaw collected all of their work in one place.  It made it easy for me to check who had done the assignment.  It also helped students reflect on their work.  Below, I have added some quotes from students on their self reflection about how their writing has improved by journaling:

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.29.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.32.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.32.51 PM

In addition to writing, I had students record on Vocaroo then add the link to their journal.  This way, they could include more speaking practices into their portfolio.  I had them complete this with partners, and it was easy to add another person to their journal.  (I also had students write poems in tandem for their journals, and they could tag their partner.)

Finally, Seesaw helped me write comments last year.  I easily could access their work, and I could give them specific thoughts about how they were doing.  We write comments very early in the year, and it gave me concrete advice to tell my students.

I was really pleased with how Seesaw worked this past year.  I want to continue to evolve how I use it.  This year, I am going to add a few more goals for my students.

  • I want to record my voice on their journals instead of just typing.  I also want them to respond using the voice recording.  While they will still start by writing, I want them to speak their comments.
  • I would also like to encourage kids to leave voice comments on other posts.
  • I noticed that Seesaw added video in beta.  I want to play around with this option for students to add to their work.
  • I want to try some speed writing that was suggested during last week’s Langbook.  I will give students a set amount of time to just write about any topic that they choose.  I will continue to do so throughout the year, and I want students to compare their work from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  This will also provide them with concrete examples of how they are improving.

Have you used Seesaw?  I would love for others to share how they use Seesaw in class!

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Posted in Journal, Technology

Seesaw App Notes

Earlier this year, I decided that I was going to use the Seesaw App.  It has only been a week, but I am loving it!  I have discovered a few things that will hopefully help you:

  1. It is really easy to sign up.  I used the students’ Google accounts.
  2. If students are just going to write an entry, they can add a note or write it as a file and upload it.  They can also put the item in a Google Doc and then share the link.
  3. The default settings allow all students to see the other students’ work.  Many of my students were excited to comment and “heart” the other students’ work.  Later in the year, I want my students to comment on each other’s work as an assignment.  This is much easier than when I used WordPress.  I have to approve all comments, so that also keeps it safe.
  4. I gave the code to parents at back to school night, and they seemed excited.  Some have even commented on their students’ work!
  5. While students can add a voice note to their work, I wanted them to just add a conversation.  In order to do that, they can use Vocaroo then add a link in their Seesaw account.
  6. Finally, I really like that Seesaw continues to email me if I need to approve something.  many times, it may slip my mind, but I appreciate the reminder email.

Are you using Seesaw this year?  Do you have any tips that you have learned so far?

Posted in Journal

Journal Topics for Spanish 2

Spanish Journal Topics

Throughout the past year, I have published my journal topics for my blended class.   Each day I try to give my students 2-3 topics.  Occasionally, I make them write about my prompt, but many times, I allow them to write about whatever they want.  I always include prompts for them in case they do not have any ideas.  Today, I compiled a whole list of many of the topics that I use throughout the year.  I published a list of 50 here.  I wanted to include eight more topics that did not make the list.  I hope that you can use these as writing prompts for your class:

  • ¿Cuál es tu canción de música favorita en este momento?  ¿Por qué?
  • ¿Cuál es tu película favorita que viste este año?  ¿Por qué?
  • ¿Cuál es un libro que prefieres más que la película?  ¿Por qué?
  • Escribiste una novela muy popular.  ¿Cuál es la novela?  Describe el cuento.
  • Nadas en el océano y aparece un delfín.  ¿Qué ocurre?
  • Trabajas en una tienda de los mascotas.  300 ratones se escaparon de sus jaulas (cages).  ¿Qué ocurre?
  • Estás en un restaurante muy elegante.  Hay un insecto en tus papas fritas.  ¿Qué ocurre?
  • Escribe una conversación entre tú y una persona de la televisión o de un libro.
Posted in Blended Class, Journal, Technology

Journaling and the Seesaw App

Seesaw App and its use in FL classes

Last year, my students were journaling in my blended class.  While I believe that I was able to learn interesting facts about them and it helped with their writing, they were a pain to find and read on WordPress.  They were unpublished, so I had difficulty accessing them.  However, this year, I want to try something different!

This past week at #langchat (a weekly Twitter discussion on Thursday nights), Amy Lenord discussed the new-ish app Seesaw.  I have read a lot about it, and it seems perfect for the foreign language classroom!  Students can create an e-portfolio using this app.  You can add photos, videos or PDFs of their creations.  They can also add voice (up to 5 minutes), drawing and written annotations.  Since I have created a class, it will all go through me, so I won’t have to try to find all of the old blog links.

Parents can also see what their children are doing!  They can add the app and receive notifications when their child has posted something in the journal.  I am really excited about this piece!  Many parents really want to hear their child speaking in the target language.  Many students really do not enjoy speaking a foreign language in front of their parents.  (Aside: I am totally one of those people.  My parents get really excited when I speak in Spanish and will try to push me to do so at ANY OPPORTUNITY even now!)  This way, it is a non invasive way for parents to hear their students speaking.  Parents can only see their own child’s work.  However you can tag multiple students, so if you take a picture from a field trip, you could tag the students, so all parents can see.  Parents can also give feedback to their children.

While I will use it with journaling, it can also be used for retells of stories.  Students could quickly sketch out a picture from a story then retell the story using the annotation piece.  It would also be neat to use with FVR (Free Voluntary Reading).  Students could snap a picture of the cover of what they are reading and explain the story.  I encourage you to check it out!  (A 90 second video is here!)

Posted in Journal, writing

Student Blog Reflection

Throughout the year, I want students to reflect on their blogs.  I have posed a few different times for them to do so.  Here are my mid-year questions for them:

Choose either your favorite blog entry or your least favorite blog entry.  If you choose your favorite, expand on the topic.  If you choose your least favorite, rewrite it, so you like it more.  If you don’t like the topic, you can change it slightly, but keep parts of the original topic.  Don’t just write about a different topic altogether.  Keep your original and blog your new.  Once you are done, I want you answer the following questions in English:

1.  What was your favorite line from your original writing, and why do you like it?  

2.  What was your least favorite line and how did you change it?

3.  Did you notice any grammatical errors?  Were they consistent or different?

4.  Why was this piece your favorite or least favorite?

5.  What have you noticed about your writing through writing this blog?

At the end of the year, I plan on having them complete this reflection.  I am hoping that blogging and reflecting on it will help them become more aware of their abilities.

Posted in Journal

More journaling ideas

I have been plugging away on my blended class for next year.  I have planned some more journaling ideas for my students. These could be used for a blog or a paper journal.  I always give my students the option to write about any topic that is important to them as well.  I want to help those that need a little inspiration each time.

 

  • ¿Te gusta viajar en avión?  ¿Por qué?
  • ¿Cuáles son tus preferencias cuándo viajas en avión?  ¿Te gusta hablar con las personas durante el viaje?  ¿Te gusta ir por el control de seguridad?  ¿Cuál bebida bebes en el avión?  ¿Dónde te gusta comer en el aeropuerto?
  • Mi película favorita es…
  • Yo pienso/no pienso que hay extraterrestres (aliens) porque…
  • Estoy contento/a cuando…
  • Si eres un animal en el zoológico, ¿cuál eres? ¿Por qué?
  • Cuando no dormiste una noche, ¿qué hiciste (did)?
  • Si puedes vivir en Antártida, ¿quieres?  ¿Qué haces en Antártida?
  • ¿Qué está detrás de la puerta?  Describe la escena.
  • Escribir sobre una cosa muy mala.  Escribe un cuento muy malo.
  • Mi futuro/a esposo/a

 

Posted in Journal, Warm-up activity, writing

Journaling topics

Diary from a solider in the Union Army
Diary from a solider in the Union Army

Next year in my blended class, my students are going to have to create a blog online.  Each day, they will be journaling.  They can always write about something that is interesting to them.  I will also give some ideas for them to write in case they have writer’s block.  I just developed the first journal entry that they will complete.  I got many ideas from this website. It has some awesome writing ideas.  Even if you aren’t doing journaling, you could use these for a warm-up activity.  These are the first topics:

1.  Write a list of the following people and describe one of them:

-My favorite teacher

-My neighbor

-A friend from elementary school

-An interesting relative

-A person from my hometown who is my hero

-A really funny friend

2.  Write which one you prefer and why:

-Meat or cheese?

-Read, sing or dance?

-Fall or spring?

-Red or blue?

-French fries or salad?

-Exercising in the park or in the gym?