My children both have the unwritten rule ‘What happens at school, stays at school’ and no clever questioning or persuading will get round this. (Unless it’s about a dramatic falling out, then you will get every minute detail). As a parent I find this frustrating, that they can spend 6 hours somewhere and just answer ‘Nothing’ when asked what they’ve done that day.
As a teacher though, it made me ask questions. Are most children like this? Despite newsletters going home, do parents really know what their child does all day? How can I get parents more involved? Then I discovered Seesaw- an online journal which allows children to post, label and comment on photos taken in class. I have only used it for a couple of weeks and I am already a strong advocate.
Firstly it is easy to set up, either using a computer or tablet (we only have only one tablet in our school, so we use computers). Next I started taking photos at every opportunity and loaded them onto our school system. I introduced the children to the program during computing lessons, where their task was to choose a photo to upload, add labels and a caption. After a couple of sessions they were very competent with this.
Finally, and probably the biggest task was to invite parents to view their child’s work. This had to be discussed with my head and an initial letter was sent out explaining the program to parents, offering them the opportunity to view Seesaw in school first. Fortunately this coincided with a parents evening so I was able to show Seesaw to parents (whether they wanted to see it or not). After a week I sent home the instructions about how to view their child’s work (using a computer or downloading an app where a unique QR code is scanned to access their child’s profile). Parents can only view their child’s posts and I have enabled parents to like and comment too. I have also posted whole class photos to stimulate discussions at home. For example…
The response has been very positive, within 5 days over half the parents in my class have interacted with their child’s posts. In addition I get notifications when either a child or parent posts to Seesaw and each post or comment needs approval from me first before being published.
I am looking forward to exploring Seesaw more in the future, I even plan to watch some web seminars that are available each month. For me anything that opens the doorway to communication at home is a big plus, so as a parent you know your child has not just done ‘nothing’ all day.