Accessibility / ELA / Seesaw · February 15, 2023

Using Seesaw to Support the Four Language Domains: Writing Edition

Seesaw is an amazing place to include student writing. When thinking about writing lessons, we need to keep in mind that writing involves not only putting thoughts and ideas into words in written form, but also knowing & using the appropriate vocabulary, spelling, and grammar to convey meaning, knowing and using the appropriate form for the type of writing, and the difference between formal and informal writing. It also includes the skills of revising, editing, and publishing. 

According to TESOL Teachers, an effective writing lesson includes the following:

  1. The teacher considers students’ needs and chooses to focus on:
    • Mechanics (e.g. Spelling, punctuation);
    • Organization (e.g. Paragraphs, salutations, topic, and support);
    • Content and style;
    • Vocabulary;
    • Editing (for grammar and cohesion).
  2. The topic is of interest to students.
  3. There is an audience other than the teacher.
  4. Students do more than one draft.
  5. Students revise, edit, and correct errors.
  6. Students’ work is read and responded to by others (there is an audience).
  7. Shows students models of good/poor writing and gets them to discuss why.

Woah, that’s a lot. To help ease this large load, consider using Seesaw to enhance your lesson. 

How can we practice Writing with Seesaw?

There are many different ways to practice the domain of writing on Seesaw. Below, are my three favorite methods.

Upload Images of Writing

Students that are more comfortable with handwriting over typing can use the photo option to upload images of their writing into Seesaw. This allows teachers to record teacher feedback in whatever mode would be best for that particular student (audio, written, etc.), instead of relying on handwritten feedback. Students can also record their thinking to go alongside their writing if they have more thoughts to include that they may not be able to include in text.

By using Seesaw, teachers can return work back to students using the “return as draft” option. This will allow students to have multiple revisions on one writing assignment.

Use the Blog

Seesaw blogs are a great way to showcase the work your students are doing in the classroom. By engaging with an authentic audience of their classmates and parents, students are encouraged to complete better work and to get real feedback from their peers. Blogs can also create a space for students to share their thoughts and ideas, their special interests, and to celebrate one another. Seesaw Blogs can be used for:

  • Showcasing student work (VIDEO: Seesaw Wow Work! Intro for Students)
  • Responding to readings or writing prompts
  • Publishing writing pieces
  • Showcasing final projects
  • Sharing fun creations
  • Social media space

Learn more about the Seesaw blog from our previous post. 

Use Multi-Modal tools to Accommodate Students Needs

When looking at Can Do descriptors for writing assignments, many level ones and level twos need a more visual method of writing than simply typing sentences. For example, a level one 3rd-5th grader may find success communicating ideas by drawing or labeling pictures, and a level two 6th-8th grader may find success completing graphic organizers with personal information. By using the many tools seesaw has to offer, you can easily adapt one assignment to meet the different needs of all your students.  

How much support do my students need?

When considering the amount of support students need to feel successful, know that all students are at different places in their speaking journey. The first important thing to consider is their writing proficiency levels. At Elkhart Community Schools, you can access this through PowerSchool by looking at each student’s ILP. 

Once you know your student’s proficiency levels for writing, take a look at the WIDA Can Do Descriptors. These descriptors help you to gauge the level of support your student needs to be successful. 

Consider using Seesaw’s grouping feature to add students into groups based on their writing proficiency. This allows you to quickly assign activities to different groups of students.

Looking to support the other language domains?