Reflections on Seesaw Part Three: Using Seesaw with English Language Learners

Friday, January 6, 2017
If you have been following my posts lately, you know that I have really embraced Seesaw and used it in many ways with my class. I teach an English language immersion class and have 7 English language learners in my classroom. I believe that Seesaw is an amazing application to use with English language learners, because it allows them to practice the English language through listening, speaking, writing, and drawing. Also, the new translation feature allows their parents to read notes, captions, or comments in their native language! While many of the activities I have shared support English language learners, there is one that I think was extremely meaningful and I intend on using again.

Just 2 weeks before getting out from winter break, I received a new student who only speaks Spanish, no English. I've quickly learned that he is strong in math, though, so during a recent lesson on comparing numbers, I paired him with one of my bilingual students. First, we wrote both the English and Spanish words for the symbols (greater than, less than, and equal to) on the symbol cards. Then they each built a 3-digit number and chose the correct symbol to compare the two numbers. The students took a picture of their work, and my new student read it in Spanish while the other student read it in English. Then I had him listen to the recording so he could hear both the Spanish and the English. 

The reason I believe Seesaw made this activity so extremely successful is that the recording feature allows the new student to showcase his math skills and demonstrate his learning in his own language. However, it also allows him a chance to hear the same concept explained in English, which helps him with his English language acquisition. The whole activity also helps the bilingual partner with his or her English language acquisition, especially academic language. I intend on applying the basics of this activity to different lessons and concepts throughout the year to help my new student demonstrate what he knows confidently while helping him in his English language acquisition. I’ll keep you updated on those activities as they arise. Also, please comment below with how you’ve used Seesaw with English language learners!

Please patiently stay tuned for my next post in this series, Making Seesaw an Interactive Learning Space. My goal for the new year is to make our Seesaw class feed more interactive, where students and I comment on their work to give encouragement and constructive criticism. It may be a couple of weeks before I have a collection of authentic examples to share! In the meantime, be sure to check out the other posts in this series, Reflections on Seesaw: Why I Want to Be a Seesaw Ambassador and Four Ways to Use Seesaw in Your Classroom Now!


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