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How To Plan An Easy Review Activity On The Seesaw App From Start To Finish

Do you want to know how to make an easy review activity using the Seesaw app that you can use for years to come? I’m going to show you how to make Seesaw reading activities that you can use right now for your students to review their reading comprehension strategies. But the best news is that once you make it, you can use it again and again.

You’ve been doing a lot of virtual teaching. And I bet you’re thinking, “That’s more than enough digital learning!” Am I right? And I don’t blame you. I’d rather have more personal interaction with my students than more distance learning and device checkout lines. 

But chances are, some of your students will need extra opportunities to practice your reading comprehension skills. This is great for your kiddos who need to hear things more than once. Or if a student was absent on the day you taught the skill, you’re going to have a way to catch them up.

I ended up making one of these for each reading strategy I taught and it worked like a charm.

We Already Have Google Classroom, Why Do We Need The Seesaw App?

seesaw app activities

You have a lot of platforms to choose from. There’s everything on Google of course, but then you have Seesaw, Boom Cards, and ClassDojo. It’s hard to decide which one will work for you when you’re first planning your classroom. At the bottom of this article, I’ve linked to a helpful post which shows you the difference between some of these popular learning platforms.

But for now, let’s talk about the Seesaw app. It’s always been my favorite platform, even before Covid. I love how versatile it is, especially for student engagement. Your kiddos can take photos or videos, draw a picture or record their thoughts. These are things they can’t do on Google Slides. 

Making Seesaw Activities For Compare And Contrast

Let’s make a compare and contrast activity on the Seesaw app. I’m going to show you how to make this activity from start to finish so your kiddos will have a great way to review their reading comprehension skill. 

To make this activity, you’ll need a basic understanding of how to make Seesaw activities. A great place to begin is right on the Seesaw YouTube channel. There are so many great Seesaw ideas and tutorials to get you started. 

seesaw app activities

Step One: Add A Digital Anchor Chart To Your Compare And Contrast Activity

Typically, when you teach compare and contrast, you begin with an anchor chart. But my classroom was quite small and I didn’t have room to display more than one chart at a time. When I wanted to review a past skill, I didn’t have room to post my older anchor charts. So I began to add digital anchor charts to the beginning of my Seesaw activities.

seesaw app activities

These digital anchor charts are perfect to insert into the first slide of your compare and contrast activities. They’re available with 14 different reading strategies. You can purchase them here so they’re done for you!

Once you open a new activity in Seesaw, click on “drawing”. From here, it’s really easy to drag and drop your digital anchor chart right onto the slide you’d like to use. I like the very first slide so it’s the first thing your students see. It also becomes the thumbnail picture for your compare and contrast activity in your Seesaw library. This makes it easily recognizable.

Make sure to lock the slide down by clicking on the three dots, then choosing “lock all”. That way, the photo stays in place.

seesaw app activities

Step Two: Add A Video To Your Seesaw Activities

A digital anchor chart is a great way to review the compare and contrast reading strategy, but what if your students need more help? I have found that adding a YouTube video highlighting your topic is a great way for your students to revisit your reading skills.

Simply click on the dots at the left of your screen and choose “link”. Then, copy your video URL, and poof! You have a video in your activity. 

Just a little disclaimer about YouTube. Your students will be directed to YouTube to watch the video. It does not play directly in Seesaw. This can be a bummer trying to get your students back to the Seesaw app.

You can either:

  • Teach your students to exit YouTube when they’re done with the learning video.
  • Or make your own video that you’ve uploaded to Seesaw that they can watch right on the app.

It’s totally up to you. If you’re short on time, (aren’t we all?) add a YouTube video. You can always replace it later.

If you’ve got a moment, record yourself teaching what compare and contrast means. I highly recommend this – because remember, you’ll have this for years to come. A YouTube link might not work later. And trust me, you won’t have the time to go back and check it. 

Here are some ideas for making your own video for compare and contrast. 

  • Record your easel as you make your own anchor chart in front of your class. You’re already teaching it once, why not record it so your students can see it again if they need to.
  •  Record yourself filling in a Venn Digram with topics that your students already understand. Telling the similarities and differences between cats and dogs would be a good compare and contrast example. 
  • Choose one of their favorite read aloud book that highlights the reading skills your looking for and record yourself reading and discussing how to use the skill when they’re reading their own books.

We’re already done with two slides for our compare and contrast activity. These two slides help explain the reading skill to our students. Now, let’s help them practice on their own.

Step Three: Add Interactive Activities For Compare And Contrast

You’ve introduced your reading skill with a compare and contrast anchor chart and instructional video. Now let’s add some interactive activities to your Seesaw slides.

seesaw app activities

Making A Seesaw Activity With Movable Pieces

To start with, let’s make a Venn Diagram with movable pieces. Here’s how:

  • Click on the three dots on the right side and choose “shapes”. Click on the circle.
  • You’ll notice the circle is all one color. To make it a simple outline of the circle for our compare and contrast Venn Diagram, highlight the shape and click on the three dots. Choose style and then the shape in the middle. You can now duplicate this exact circle by using the control D (command D for Mac users). Now, reposition your circles so they’re where you’d like them. Don’t forget to lock them down!
  • Do a Google search for free clipart images of items you’d like to compare and contrast. You can right-click on them and choose “save image as”. I recommend using enough images to fill in all the spaces of your Venn Diagram.
  • Just like you added your digital anchor chart for compare and contrast, drag and drop your clipart images right onto your slide. With movable images, you’ll want to lock them so your students don’t accidentally change their sizes. Click on the three dots and choose “lock-size”. Now they’ll move, but your students cannot resize them.
  • You can reposition your Venn Diagram to allow for the clipart to be on the side or at the bottom. Don’t forget to leave room for directions at the top too.

Now when your students are ready for this slide, they’ll have fun moving their images right into your compare and contrast Venn Diagram.

Writing Activities On The Seesaw App

I always like to add some form of writing response to help my students practice their reading comprehension skills. But on Googld Slides, all that is available is typing in a word box. I found my first-graders were not ready for that at the beginning of the year. It was easier for them to write with a pointer finger on the screen than to try to type into a text box. But on a blank screen, it’s difficult for them to wrap their text around to the next line.

Did you know that you can add a lined background to your Seesaw activities? Whaaat? Now you can add two more pages to your compare and contrast activity. One where your students can write things that are the same, and one where they can write things that are different.

It’s so easy and a total game changer. Click on the three dots at the left of your screen and choose “background”. Hidden below all the colors, you’ll see lined choices. Click on it and Voila! You have lined paper. Now you can add instructions to it, either voice or with a text box. Your students can now write about compare and contrast easily.

I recommend a page for your kiddos to write things that are the same about your topic and a page for things that are different. When you are ready to add your second page, click on the three dots below your page (on the right side of your screen) and click duplicate. Just change your directions and you’re good to go.

What Happens When My Students Need To Redo Their Seesaw Activities?

Inevitably, your students will make mistakes in their Seesaw activities. Before the most recent updates, once your kiddos turned in their assignments, they were done and would have to begin again if they wanted to fix their errors. 

Now, when you would like your students to fix something in your activities, you can simply click on the three dots at the bottom of their activities and choose “send back as draft”. They’ll be able to open their activity and try again.

Using The Seesaw App With Google Classroom

If you use Google Classroom and the Seesaw app, there’s an easy way to link your Seesaw activity right into your classroom. 

The first thing you’ll do is assign your activity to your students like you would normally do on the Seesaw app. Then, on the main page in Seesaw, choose the activity you’d like to share and click on the three dots at the bottom. Choose “Get Student Link” and you’re ready to add your Seesaw activity to Google Classroom.

When Do I Use The Seesaw App For Review Activities?

There are so many opportunities during the day to use these review activities. You can also choose if your whole class needs to revisit your comprehension skills or if you’d like a select few students to do your activities.

seesaw app activities

Some times to consider using these activities:

  • During literacy centers at your classroom library.
  • If your students are finished with their activity early.
  • As morning work.
  • During indoor recess.

Be creative. Teachers are the most creative people on the planet when it comes to using their time right. I am continually impressed to see the ways that teachers can take one topic and turn it into multiple ways to practice throughout the day.

I hope you can see the benefits of using the Seesaw app to make a review activity for your students. Remember to make it interactive with different components of video, audio, and drawing.

Seesaw Class App Scavenger HuntIts hard to teach a whole class of six-year olds to use all the Seesaw tools responsibly. The first year, I had silly selfies and scribbles all over the place. So I made it a game. I made this Seesaw Scavenger Hunt for my students to teach them all the Seesaw tools AND how to use them in my classroom. I’m sharing this with you for FREE!

You’ll get a whole game that walks your students through:

  • Taking photos and videos that correlate to your topic.
  • Adding voice recordings with confidence.
  • Managing home and school Seesaw journals.
  • And more!

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Rachael Hull

Rachael Hull

Teaching literacy and facilitating literacy stations has been a passion of Rachael's and she wants to help you gain confidence in your classroom!

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