SeeSaw in Math Class, Not on the Playground

SeeSaw in Math Class, Not on the Playground
Students use the SeeSaw app to document learning in math classes at Lincoln Middle School.

William pulls his phone out of his backpack in the middle of his 7th grade math class at Lincoln Middle School and rapidly taps out a message with his thumbs. He isn’t alone. All around the room students are pulling out phones or typing on Chromebooks while their teacher, Mr. Mateljan, walks around the room nodding approvingly.

These students are doing exactly what is expected of them. They are documenting their learning and communicating their math reasoning on an app called SeeSaw.

Not only is Erik Mateljan a key member of the middle school math teaching team, he is also a member of the Design & Innovation team, a small group of math leaders in the district who are working with other innovation teams across the state to design new ways of helping math students communicate and share their reasoning to better grasp often complex math concepts.

District Math Coordinator Eric Frandsen further explained the goals of the Design & Innovation team. “As part of OUSD’s math grant from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the D&I project is designed to identify  effective resources and pedagogies to advance math teaching and learning through technology. Our D&I team, consisting of teacher leaders, worked diligently throughout the design-thinking process to design one approach for shifting math instruction with technology. We look forward to continuing the work and sharing our ‘learnings’ as we progress.”

The team makes it very clear that it’s not about a specific app, it’s about helping students collaborate and learn to communicate their thinking with other students.

As Erik Mateljan said, “Seesaw is an easy-to-use interactive digital portfolio that empowers students to take ownership of their learning, while supporting teachers, parents and students to monitor the progression of their learning.”

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Learning objective:

  • Broaden the range of opportunities available for students to communicate their mathematical thinking
  • Provide efficient and effective means to engage in formative assessment opportunities between teacher and student, and student and student

Free apps: Here are a few interactive whiteboard apps that are used in the district to help students collaborate and communicate their reasoning: SeeSaw, ShowMe, Explain Everything, Educreations

Learn more: Here are some tutorials to help you learn more about these apps.

  • Educreations & Explain Everything: Watch this edtech showdown comparing Educreations and Explain Everything by Common Sense Media.
  • Show Me: Learn more about Show Me here.
  • SeeSaw: Learn more about the features of SeeSaw journals with this video.
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Oceanside, CA