Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Connecting Students and Parents

Children often come home with very little to say about their day at school. In response to questions they may say that school was "fine" or "we didn't do anything!" As a parent you know that your child was busy all day, but it is sometimes hard to know what they learned.

This year we are using an app called Seesaw with the first and second grade classrooms. This app allows students to create content through drawings, pictures, movies, voice recordings and uploads. This multipurpose tool lets students show their thinking in a visual way. Yet the most powerful aspect of the app is the parent connection. Once content is created parents are asked to join the classroom to see what their child is creating. When new content is created the parent gets a notification through the website or an app on their phone. The immediate access to work lets the parents comment on their child's work and to be able to discuss it more thoroughly at home at the end of the day. That connection also allows students to be creating for an authentic audience. They get feedback through their parents' comments and love seeing their work online.

I recently spoke with a parent whose child is using this technology in our school to get her reaction to the technology her daughter is being exposed to. 
"As a mom, I am loving the Seesaw app the kids are using. I downloaded it to my phone and now I get a pop up notification when there is something new to view. I am consistently impressed with the quality of the work that the students are creating. Being able to see it so quickly during the day is great and gives me something to ask my daughter about when she comes home. We pull it up as a family and she tells us all about it. We love being able to see the combination of what she is learning along with the new technology she is using!"

There is evidence that parent involvement benefits students in many ways. One of those ways can be in the area of academic achievement. By parents becoming more involved in student learning the students show an increased motivation to learn and have a more positive attitude about school. It is a win-win situation! 

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