Teachers worked together to explore the new kindergarten curriculum, the implications for transitions to Grade 1 and shared tracking/reporting strategies. Teachers explored play-based learning, classroom setup as the third teacher, integrating the new ministry kindergarten expectations, and refining/exploring best practices in assessment, tracking and reporting. We wanted to explore a digital portfolio as a way to track and assess our students in the learning moment.
Toronto District School Board
Toronto District School Board
Toronto District School Board
Toronto District School Board
Professional Learning Goals
- We engaged in intentional professional learning as a collaborative team
- We refined teaching practices (for kindie and Grade 1)
- We built commonalities between kindie classrooms and Grade 1 classrooms
- We deepened our understanding of student transition needs from kindergarten to Grade 1
- We deepened our understanding of the new kindergarten curriculum
- We examined and shared best practices in digital student assessment, tracking and reporting
Activities and Resources
- Visited other classrooms to gain ideas around the area as the classroom as a third teacher
- Created a tracking template for the expectations placed in the four frames
- Created and attended a Lunch-and-Learn for Seesaw, our digital portfolio app
- Used Seesaw, a digital portfolio app
- Met to revise and discuss goals frequently
- Used Google Forms to create a teacher feedback survey
- Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum
- Various electronic tools and technology (websites, Seesaw app, tablets, etc.)
- Family of schools coach (human resource)
- We had difficulty releasing the kindergarten teachers and ECE to work on anything at the same time which would have made the development in our tracking and documentation procedures in the kindergarten class more seamless. However, due to behaviour concerns in our classes, this was not possible.
- Getting supply teachers in April and May to cover our learning opportunities and meetings was extremely difficult and, in many cases, impossible and made release days a logistical nightmare
- After having tried Google Keep (online portfolio) and having found it to be time-consuming and not applicable to any our wants (easy for students to log in, parent accessible, interactive, etc.) for a digital portfolio, we used Seesaw to great success. Our frustration is with our board for not supporting the use of this application.
- Keeping track of the budget for this project was difficult, and required a lot of time and management on the part of teachers. Without strong support from our office, who helped with tracking amounts and supply coverage difficulties, we would have had difficulty reaching any of our goals.
Enhancing Student Learning and Development
- All students had a common use of a digital portfolio that can be shared between school and home
- All students and teachers increased their confidence in expressing their learning and communicating their thinking by using a digital portfolio
- Students and teachers developed a deeper understanding of connections to the classroom environment and how to document effectively with a digital portfolio
- Parents were actively involved while being instantly updated on children’s learning opportunities, progress and ongoing assessment
- Although this is a project with teachers teaching in the early primary grades, we shared regularly with the teachers who teach in all panels within our school
- We have shared the use of Seesaw, the digital portfolio and a workshop with other interested teachers at a Lunch-and-Learn
- We used the digital portfolio (Seesaw) to share pictures, video links and oral recordings of what we have been learning and what we have been experiencing with our learning this school year, as well as document assessment
- We shared with parents and community members monthly (through parent council meetings or newsletters)
- We shared experiences with progress through Twitter to inspire other teachers and share our journey with other schools. We would like to post the tracking sheet we created on an internal kindie site for all kindie teachers in our board.
Overall, we felt our project was a success.
- We took a self-assessment survey reflecting on how comfortable we were with our tracking and documenting strategies prior to the project start and how we feel about using them. We used a Google Form to survey the same teachers for self-reflection after completion of the project.
- We checked in regularly on our goals as we progressed through the project in order to stay on track and to readjust our focus as needed
Parent feedback: The feedback from parents was tremendously positive with many parents requesting that the Seesaw application be used in all the classes in our school. See sample letters below:
|Hi (School Trustee’s Name),
I am a parent of two children – both attending Greenland Public School, SK and Grade 1.
As you may know, several teachers at Greenland have been using the Seesaw application to enable parents to be kept abreast of classroom activities, as well as specific achievements and/or behavioural issues concerning their children.
In case you are not familiar with Seesaw: https://web.seesaw.me/
In short, we love this app. For example, it has allowed the teacher to keep us informed of the day-to-day behaviour of one of our children which required continued corrective action on our part. We have since made great progress and I have to chalk this up to Seesaw being available to us.
As my wife and I are both working, we don’t often have the opportunity to connect with our children’s teachers in person at drop-off or pick-up to discuss things like this. Therefore, we are very pleased to have access to this valuable tool.
Now, I understand there has been talk at TDSB of actually preventing teachers to use this app.
This would be a tragic mistake. And quite baffling as TDSB seizes every opportunity to talk about their culture of innovation and being progressive. But as the saying goes, “talk is cheap.”
I would appreciate your confirmation of receipt of my message, and do let me know if you require further information from me.
|To (School Trustee) and (School Principal),
My name is L****** G********** and my son E*** attends G******** Public school in JK. E**** is our oldest child so of course when you send your soon-to-be four-year-old child off to full-day school, there are inevitable unknowns that make the transition often more difficult for both parent and student. I am unsure if either of you are parents but if you are, you have definitely experienced the famous response to “how was your day” as “good.” Further, “What did you learn?” and he says “good” again. My husband J** and I both work, sometimes travel for work and also have a 10-month baby at home so in these busy times, we want to make sure that we are prioritizing E***’s learning curve and to do so, it is helpful to understand what he is learning to ultimately be effective.
The Seesaw app has been an unbelievable tool in keeping both us and E**** engaged in his learning. All of the posts help us to be in tune with what he is learning so that we may reinforce these new teachings and, even more so, it often reminds us to focus and prioritize his education. My husband says that one of his favourite parts of his day is when he gets a notification that Ms ************** has added a post. Seesaw helps us to understand E****’s strengths and areas of focus, as well keeps us up-to-date with weekly focuses such as the letter of the week. Now, when we ask E**** “What did you learn today?” and he says “good,” we pull out Seesaw and say “it looks like you learned how write your name. Can you show us?” and he does! The important take-away here is that kindergarten students cannot communicate what their day-to-day is like and guardians are transitioning with them. I am an educated person, but have no understanding of kindergarten curriculum. I am new at this and learning just like E**** is and want to support my child and encourage his path. Seesaw has been instrumental in connecting this important relationship.
We have heard that Seesaw has yet to make it to the entire public system and so we wanted to express how helpful it is been to us. We hope you share this feedback with whomever is responsible for the continued growth of this program.
Lastly, (teacher’s name) has been awesome … she truly cares and our experience thus far with (school name) has been overall great.
Thanks for your time.
L******* G******** and J** M********
We did a survey using Google Forms to get teacher feedback and evaluate success with regards to this project. Please find the teacher evaluation/feedback results in the attachment section.
Third Teacher Monograph from the the Capacity Building Series
These resources will open in your browser in a new tab, or be downloaded to your computer.
Seesaw - Belonging and contributing frame
Using our online portfolio to document examples on the fly as they are met. There is a skill view available where we can place the picture under an expectation and rank the skill from level one to four.
Seesaw behavior chart - self regulation frame
This chart is used to monitor student behaviour and give instant feedback to parents while providing us with documentation for the self-regulation frame.
Skills view - Literacy and Numeracy Frame
The teacher can drop down under the image or in this case audio recording and use the skills view to record a private comment, choose the expectations it met and also assign a level.
Google Form Teacher Feedback Teacher
We used Google Forms to get feedback about this project from the teachers who participated.
Seesaw feedback - Literacy & Numeracy Frame
Children can be provided with written or audio feedback that can be documented by the teacher and seen instantly by the parent.