Parent communication can be a stressful part of our job. If you haven’t yet, go back and read Gina’s post and Chrissy’s post on it. They both have some amazing tips that are worth reading. A few years ago I had a parent in an IEP meeting tell me there was no way her child was reading the way I said she was. I felt awful I couldn’t prove it to her with the student work I had with me. Reading is a tricky thing to show parents- it can’t be captured on paper. After the meeting I started brainstorming ways to share videos of the child reading in class safely and without breaching the child’s privacy and school policy. Before I was able to come up with an answer, an outstanding co-worker (seriously, she’s amazing) came to me and asked if I had heard of the app SeeSaw and told me she was planning on using it for the upcoming school year. From the moment she explained it I was hooked. It was just the answer I had been looking for! Here’s how I use it in my K-2 Autism Classroom.
First and foremost, I use it to communicate with parents. Everything from lunch menus to reminders from the office are shared on SeeSaw. I’ve found that parents love knowing about our classroom and how things work. It can be difficult to get information out of any kiddo (I’m talking about my own kids here!), but especially students with language impairments. I want my classroom to be as transparent as possible so parents know what we do throughout the day. I’ve found that SeeSaw along with our home/school communication notebooks provide the parents with a great amount of insight to what we do and how the day went.
Here are just a few of the things I use the app to communicate about:
- School Events
- Supply Lists
- Lunch/Breakfast Menu Links
- Order Forms
- Calendar Routine
- Morning Meeting Routine
- Our Social Skill focus for the week
IEP Goal Progress
This is my FAVORITE part of SeeSaw. For each student, I share our work on IEP goals throughout the week so parents are constantly updated on progress. There are no surprises in IEP meeting. Everyone is on the same page. I share pictures and videos of ABA programs being mastered, work in progress, and students practicing skills. To do this, I create folders for each goal type (reading, math, written expression, social skill, etc). I then choose the file when uploading the photo or video. And guess what? The files are COLOR CODED! It’s like a dream come true for teachers! I’ve got a complete video on how to add files to track IEP goals you can check out.
Sharing With Everyone
Beyond parents, one way I use SeeSaw is by sharing the child’s account with the general education teachers I work with. I have my general education teachers sign up as parents under the student account (they don’t add anything to the student’s profile). They can comment on student progress and see how students are working. If your class is like mine, much of the academics are done within my classroom. General education teachers need as much information as they can get on special education student’s progress. This is one way I can help them see what we accomplish in our classroom. I have my administrator sign up as a teacher under my account so she can see all of my students and all of their progress.
SeeSaw was the best fit for what I was looking for. There are some great apps out there, but there are a few reasons I picked SeeSaw.
- It’s like instagram for parents. It’s easy to use, easy to scroll through, and I can see who has read each post (major win)
- I typically have 100% parent participation. My parents adore it. Returning parents ask me if I’m going to use it because they love it so much.
- I specifically wanted something that didn’t focus on behavior tracking. For me, that’s not what I wanted in an app, rather I wanted to share snippets of student progress by video and pictures and communication with parents. That’s exactly what SeeSaw does.
- The app is easy to install and FREE. It was simple to install and use on our school iPads
- I can simply track and file IEP goal progress with parents.
I no longer have parents question me about skills in IEP meetings. Thanks to SeeSaw we are all on the same page! General education teachers know where students are academically and parents get to see progress by videos and pictures! There’s nothing better then celebrating mastery of a skill with the student and the entire IEP team!