Saturday, November 19, 2016

Holiday Breaks are for Naps, Good Food.... and Connecting with Students!

Many of us are preparing for our beloved holiday breaks. We have Thanksgiving and Christmas break plans on the horizon and we are more than excited! Yes, we are still working our tails off preparing lessons, assessing students, and wrapping up our semester, but we are anxiously awaiting the days when we can sleep in, munch on delicious food, see family, and take unlimited naps.

But while we are on our holiday breaks, many of us often think about our students. We wonder what they are up to, where they've been, or who they are seeing. We look forward to our return to school so we can see our students and hear their exciting stories.

So, with a similar idea from @AmandaBuethe, I decided I wanted to connect with my students over their holiday breaks. And that's just what I did, with the help of my favorite app, Seesaw.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Why would any teacher want to take time away from their holiday break to check in on their students? Aren't we supposed to be enjoying our time away from the hustle and bustle of work? Why would I want to bother my student's family during this family time?

Well, my theory is... go for it, bother your students, connect with them over break! And here's why:

So let me tell you how I use SEESAW to do this:

1. Inform students that during the break you will be sharing something on Seesaw periodically. Our class chooses 3 books that they would like hear during break. I also inform them that at the end of each video there is a secret word. If they bring back all the secret words, they will be entered for a prize.

2. I share a video of me reading a book - that way my students are at least hearing text while they're away from school. They can grab their parents device and watch the video and even comment if they would like. The possibilities are endless - try anything!

3. Take 5 minutes out of your break on 2-3 separate days and record and share your video on your class Seesaw. At the end of each video share one secret word and remind students that if they want to be entered for the prize they must write down and bring to school the secret words.

4. When you head back to school, put names of students in the hat if they bring back all the secret words. Choose a student out of the hat to receive the prize. I gave out a $5 Sonic card but this is definitely not necessary.

  • Post a picture from your break and have students comment on what math they see. Challenge them to see math wherever they are during their break. 
  • Post a discussion question and let students comment. 
  • Secret words and prizes are not necessary. 

Check out my Seesaw examples here: 

Spring Break Read Aloud 1
Spring Break Read Aloud 2
Spring Break Read Aloud 3

Let me know if you have questions or a new idea to share!
Enjoy your holidays!