Blog: Seesaw in Physical Education

Seesaw in the Physical Education Class


Jon Haws has been a Physical Education teacher at Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School for 6 years and this is his 10th year in teaching. As a tenured teacher at the Laboratory School, he is conducting research in his classroom connecting increased focus on the Learner Qualities of self-awareness and reflection to increased physical performance skills in the PE classroom. After testing numerous products, Haws chose Seesaw to help students focus on self-awareness and reflection. “Students don’t always get the chance to view themselves in PE. It is easy to turn a critical eye on others, but not as easy to be aware of what you are doing,” Haws reflects.

Seesaw allows students in his Physical Education classes to record, view and leave comments on their performance skill levels at any moment. Thomas Metcalf is 1:1 with Chromebooks and the PE department also has access to iPads. Haws recommends taking the time at the beginning of the year to set up class rosters and build activities in the library based on the assessments you intend to use with the app. He cautions that this is still PHYSICAL education and students are not recording and reflecting on every activity. It is essential to determine what skills within the standards will be assessed through Seesaw. He has found that selecting 4 performance skills per quarter allows students the time to record, watch their videos, and comment as they become self-aware, focusing not only on the end result, “where the ball went,” but what THEY did to make the ball go where it did.

During his soccer unit, Haws doesn’t use Seesaw with all of the skills required to show proficiency at the standard, but focuses on a specific, performance-based skill, such as pass to a partner. During this portion of his unit, students set up their Chromebooks to record themselves performing the skill, watch themselves and record feedback on their own performance based on the cues discussed during instruction. As with most feedback, Haws suggests the students identify one thing they did well and one thing they need to work on. He works with students to provide detailed feedback for improvement and has found that with self-awareness students are focusing less on the end result and more on what they did to make that event happen. Students are recognizing when they are not meeting a standard, YET, and can now identify what they need to do in order to get there. Being self-aware and knowing how to provide feedback allows the students to understand what their next steps are. The teacher steps back from providing feedback on the skill and instead provides feedback on the feedback. This means the students are taking control of their learning and what their next steps need to be in order to master a standard. Understanding that everyone meets standards at different times, Haws allows his students to retake summatives in each of his units. His goal is for students to become self-aware of their own skills, not to become professional athletes. Giving his students the tools they need to be self directed learners, helps them figure out where they fit into the bigger puzzle, find their niche and find what they enjoy which can lead to a more active lifestyle long-term.

While Haws uses the announcements feature within Seesaw to communicate with parents, he recommends that teachers new to Seesaw take time and resist turning on family access right away. “Physical Education teachers need to have a growth mindset when it comes to integrating technology into their curriculum,” take the time to feel confident with the tool before adding parents into the mix. Haws is confident that Seesaw is a foundational tool that is essential to the PE classroom. He found that it will keep you organized, improve communication with parents, build rapport with your students, but most of all Seesaw will provide your students the opportunity to practice the skills needed to direct their own learning. Seesaw is a great example of why technology needs to be integrated into PE classrooms across the country.