Formative assessment is such a valuable part of teachers’ pedagogy. Knowing what students know and what misconceptions they have and adjusting your teaching to take this into account is so powerful. However, having efficient systems to do this for your entire class (or for more than 150 students if you are a middle or high school teacher) and regularly communicating this information to families is an ongoing challenge.
Inji El Ghannam, Transitional Kindergarten teacher at King Child Development Center, regularly lets families know how students are doing using Seesaw, an online portfolio app. In the beginning of the year, she creates a list of standards-based skills which her students are expected to know by the end of the year. These each become a folder in Seesaw where she can tag photos and short videos of students documenting their progress.
Then, throughout the week, Inji uses her classroom iPad to photograph or take very brief videos of students when they are demonstrating a skill that she is teaching on that week.
After class, she tags the photo with the skill being demonstrated such as this one on holding a crayon/pencil correctly. She then shares the photo to that student’s portfolio which means that their family is automatically notified via a text or email. Only that individual student’s family is notified and families have the option of inviting other family members to join if they want them to receive the portfolio. Similar to social media accounts, families can leave a fun comment for their child to see. Some even write quick notes to Inji and she can respond right there. Although this is a private communication platform, it looks and feels similar to social media so its quite easy for families to learn to use it and easily accessible from a phone.
What I especially love about Inji’s use of Seesaw for Formative Assessment is how strategic she is to ensure that she focuses on documenting no more than 3 skills a week and that she has the opportunity to observe and meet with every student. She uses this observation sheet to organize her data.
Here are a few more delightful examples of the work her TK students are doing, including number recognition, using scissors effectively, and demonstrating general coordination.
Seesaw is a free app which is available for both Android and Apple devices. It can be used by teachers of all grade levels to document their students’ progress and share out with families. As always you can contact any member of the DigiTech team for classroom support in getting started.