“Seesaw allows our students to capture their learning and reflect on it with their teachers, their parents and independently,” said Kaye Fischer, a curriculum coordinator with West Fargo Public School District. Fischer supports teachers in grades 2 – 5 with English Language Arts and Social Studies curriculums, and has seen a variety of approaches to utilizing the app. “Some teachers use it to send notices or pictures home, which is a nice first step in opening up the classroom. Other teachers use it to collect learning that is happening, and that’s where we see students really sparking ideas from each other.”
But it’s not just about the technology they’re using – the district’s commitment to learner agency and a guaranteed and viable curriculum is what empowers teachers and students. Fischer and her colleagues posed some questions to teachers in thinking about how they’re personalizing learning:
- What are our big ideas about what we want students to know and be able to do?
- How can we give voice and choice in demonstrating proficiency?
- Once students have shown proficiency, how can they extend their learning?
“Teachers are very busy, so how can they really maximum their time? How can I help them leverage their students’ learning and really be creative? That’s where I see my role,” Fischer said of utilizing tools like Seesaw and a district-wide ELA committee to really provide a platform for knowledge sharing. “We don’t have a ceiling on our learning. Students can say, ‘I know how to do this, now I can be more creative, I can take this further.’ We let students go deeper in their learning and teachers to go deeper in their teaching.”
As one of the largest districts in the state, Fischer cites the need to create community and for opportunities for teachers to share ideas with each other even when they can’t meet regularly or be in the same building.
“We really believe in a curriculum that holds us all together,” Fischer said. “We hold to those teaching strategies that create relationships and allow teachers to connect with students and meet their needs.”