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Adams Elementary embraces technology for learning, creates connections between home and school

Adams Elementary first grade students using the Seesaw app to complete assignments and lessons(12/15/2023) Technology continues to play a major role in the classroom, and first grade teachers at Adams Elementary School are at the forefront of engaging students and families using Seesaw.

Seesaw is an app that creates a learning loop between students, teachers and families. 

The team at Adams is championing the use of it, so much that Seesaw wanted to see it in action. On Dec. 6, a representative from Seesaw visited Michael Johnson’s first grade classroom to get a glimpse of the engagement and collaboration firsthand. View photos of students using Seesaw to complete assignments and lessons at Adams Elementary.

Students can work on a math or reading assignment in the app, which provides interactive lessons or activities, the teacher can comment on their work and provide feedback, and finally, parents and guardians can view their child’s learning portfolio in the app, see the teacher’s comments, and even leave a note of encouragement. 

“We work in a world where our students have become so much more tech-savvy and this is something that we as educators cannot ignore,” Johnson said. “My students are excited to do activities that allow some interactive abilities instead of traditional pencil and paper.”

Johnson, who had been using Seesaw at Adams before it was used widely in Anoka-Hennepin, said he has seen his students have enthusiasm to complete their work.

“I try to mix things up in my classroom and create a balance of traditional methods and technology,” Johnson said. 

The first grade team of teachers at Adams leaned on the app in the spring of 2020 and the early parts of 2021 creating lessons that were based on the district curriculum as well as using district-provided activities within Seesaw. 

“I use these activities to reinforce what has already been taught,” Johnson said. “I also have the opportunity to send out activities that students can complete at home or if they are out for an extended period.”

While students complete assignments in the app, Johnson can provide instant feedback and even reset an assignment directly in the teacher app, allowing students to quickly pick up on mistakes or misconceptions and work collaboratively to make corrections. And while they mostly work independently, students often help out their deskmates or ask questions of their peers. 

“I encourage my students to help each other, whether it is accessing an app or website,” Johnson said. “We talk about core character values throughout the year and they show these values through their interactions with each other.”

Johnson said he will continue to explore different opportunities for his students to provide activities that mirror the curriculum and build relationships between home and school. 

“Seesaw allows my parents to see what students are working on in real-time,” Johnson said. “They can see what is being taught and help out at home. Parents have yet another avenue to communicate with me as well, which fosters a stronger home-to-school connection.”

Seesaw is utilized in elementary schools across the district. The app also provides real-time translations for parents/guardians using the tool to communicate with teachers.