JiJi and Seesaw

One of the greatest things about ed tech is its ability to make students’ thinking visible.

Conferencing 1-on-1 with every student in your class every class period is physically impossible. There just aren’t enough minutes in the day, and unfortunately cloning yourself hasn’t been invented yet…

I’ve talked about using Seesaw in my classroom quite a bit in the past. {I love it so much, I even applied to be a Seesaw Ambassador, so it’s safe to say it’s a learning tool I believe in.} This time, I’ve started using Seesaw for accountabilty and quick formative assessments during our computer lab times.

Twice a week, my class visits the computer lab to solve math puzzles with their favorite penguin, JiJi. “Who’s JiJi?” you may be asking. JiJi is the adorable main character of ST Math, a rigorous, standards-based, and highly-addictive math game for students pre-K-12. {You can learn more about it on their website www.stmath.com} Below is an example of one of my kinder darling’s puzzles. All levels are focused on getting JiJi across the screen by solving the math in the middle.

An ST Math puzzle teaching counting on and number sequence for kindergarten.

ST Math time is something my class looks forward to each week. It teaches complex math concepts using both visual and symbolic representations of the math. Honestly, the whole program is absolutely fantastic. Still, I didn’t want these computer lab times to be so isolated from my regular math instruction. I wanted to find a way to connect that fun, exciting learning with JiJi back to what we’re doing in the classroom.

This is where Seesaw comes in.

After a suggestion from one of our district ST Math reps, I decided to bring Seesaw into the computer lab with me. Once a week, during lab times, I have students take a picture of the ST Math level  on their screen. (Screenshots would work too if they were playing on an iPad). Then, they use the draw and voice record features to explain the math behind the puzzle they’re working on. This could mean labeling quantities with numerals, labeling different parts of a puzzle, or simply explaining their strategy for solving.

Using all the devices – Playing ST Math on the laptop, recording thinking on the iPad.

Below, one of my kindergartners explains how he found the missing part in the equation . (The little orange blob under the one shows what his answer will be.) He used the draw feature to label and then recorded himself explaining his solution.

From this little 11 second recording, I can already tell that he knows how to solve, but may need a little help in actually naming/explaining his strategy. Still, for a 6 year old, I’d say he did pretty well. 🙂

This little darling did so well explaining her game! I can’t wait to use her recording to teach some of my other students to solve this puzzle.

And how cute is this one??! He used his fingers (don’t they all in kindergarten?) but I love how he circled the 2 animals he used to solve the puzzle.

My students posted. Now what?

I love using student recordings to facilitate class discussions later on. I might have one student become the “expert” on a really tricky level share their video with students who are struggling. Recordings could also be a great resource for parents who want to help their child at home, but have no idea what the level is about (You laugh, but we get lots of parent questions about the puzzles!). And on top of all that, these are also a great formative assessment piece for me to see if students are actually understanding the math they are doing, rather than just guessing correctly.

Seesaw provides so many great opportunities for reflection in my classroom, and this activity is no different. It’s definitely been a game-changer for my computer lab times and I hope it will be for you too.

Don’t use ST Math at your school? No problem! You could try this out with any computer-based game in your classroom. Comment below with your ideas!