If you teach kindergarten, you’re probably very familiar with the butterfly life cycle. We sing about it, draw pictures of it, and then, once we’re full of knowledge, we observe the metamorphosis, with our own eyes. Every year, my team and I purchase caterpillars from Insect Lore and watch them grow and change with our students.
In the past, I had my students keep paper journals of our caterpillars. We would date each page, count the days since we got them, draw a picture of what they looked like, and add a few labels or a sentence about what we observed. This served our purpose, and it worked just fine. But when you know better, do better, right?
Caterpillar Diary 2.0
This year, I used Seesaw Activities to help students create a digital caterpillar journal instead. Each day, I took a photo of our caterpillars and created an activity out of it for my students. The directions are included in each activity, along with the photo template for them to edit and post.
Above is a screenshot of my teacher-view where you can see all the caterpillar activities I created. I make sure to put the date on each one so we remember when it happened. Also, for each activity, you can see that I typed the directions out for each one, and attached the photo that they will be labeling and voice recording over.
So when it’s a student’s turn to do their caterpillar diary, they go to the activity tab and tap the +Add button on the activity with today’s date. This is what they’ll see…
Students will then use the Draw and Label tools to turn the photo into a diagram. After that, they use the Microphone tool to orally describe what they obsereved and what stage of the life cycle our little friends are in.
Managing Student Responses
From my teacher-view, I can open up the activity to see which students have responded, and which ones still need to complete the activity. This is a life-saver when it comes to classroom management! I don’t have a class set of iPads, so only a few students are doing this at one time. The student response screen makes it easy for me to see who’s done and who still needs their iPad time.
Here’s a few examples from my students…
Making Use of Folders
One of the best features of Seesaw is Folders. It not only helps students categorize their learning, it also makes it much easier to find specific posts later on. We use folders for all of our Seesaw posts, but for this activity, I created a brand new folder called “Caterpillars”.
*Note: I use emojis with all my folders to help my kinders and non-readers sort their work, even when they can’t read the folder name. The colors are also helpful!
Now, a student can look back at only their caterpillar entries to see how they grew day by day. To do this, just choose “Filter” from the student journal screen and select both the child’s name AND the caterpillar folder. Then, you can scroll through that particular student’s caterpillar entries, skipping over all their other Seesaw posts.
We’re not quite to the butterfly phase yet, but I am so proud of their work so far! I’m always impressed when I hear them using our science vocabulary words in context, like chrysalis!! (although there was my one little kiddo who called it “christmas” haha)
Have you tried using Seesaw for a digital log yet? Share you ideas in the comments below!