1st Grade Lesson Ideas

Using Seesaw

*All standards reference the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills from February 2017.

ELA Activities

  • Standard: 5 - Students read grade-level text with fluency and comprehension. Students are expected to read aloud grade-level appropriate text with fluency (rate, accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing) and comprehension. Activity: Students can: 1) get with a buddy so that Partner A read a book while Partner B films the text in the book (there's a 5 minute limit if recording with Seesaw, but students could use the built-in camera app on their device to record and then import the video to Seesaw from the camera roll if more time is needed) -OR- 2) take pictures of each page in a book, put those pictures into Shadow Puppet Edu, record themselves reading the text over the top of the pictures, save the project to the camera roll, and then import the video file into Seesaw from the camera roll.
  • Standard: 6(E) - Alphabetize a series of words to the first or second letter and use a dictionary to find words. Activity: Students can: 1) use Popplet Lite to write each word from a list in its own bubble/popple. Then move the bubbles around on the screen so that they are in alphabetical order, export the image to the camera roll, and then import the saved picture into Seesaw from the camera roll, 2) type the words from their list in alphabetical order on the built-in digital notebook paper, 3) look up each word (and take a picture of it) in the dictionary, import the images into Shadow Puppet Edu in alphabetical order, save that project to the camera roll, and then import the movie file into Seesaw from the camera roll.
  • Standard: 9(A) and (B) - Describe the plot and retell a story with attention to the sequence of events, and describe characters in a story and the reasons for their actions and feelings. Activity: Give students a buddy and a device. Partner A can film using Seesaw's built-in video recorder while Partner B holds the book, retells the story, and gives character descriptions. For an added challenge, students could illustrate the sequence of events in the story using Popplet Lite (arrange in a timeline fashion), save the image to the camera roll, and then import into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 17 - Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Activity: Students can 1) create a draft of writing in Seesaw using the digital notebook paper, 2) screenshot the notebook paper, upload as a photo, and annotate their revisions (or have a buddy edit their paper) over the top, 3) publish and share their final writing (either type on the digital notebook or via uploaded photos from written text on physical paper) with the class.
  • Standard: 24 - Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Activity: The teacher can create a Padlet wall and drop the link into Seesaw (so students can navigate to Padlet directly within the Seesaw app and do not have to type in the Padlet URL on their own). Then students can contribute research information, media, and sources to the Padlet wall.

Math Activities

  • Standard: 2(B) and (C) - Use concrete and pictorial models to compose and decompose numbers up to 120 in more than one way and use objects, pictures, and expanded and standard forms to represent numbers up to 120. Activity: Students can: 1) represent a number using physical math manipulatives, take a picture of the model, import to Seesaw from the camera roll, and then narrate over the top of the photo to explain their thinking -OR- 2) use the built-in whiteboard and use a finger or stylus to represent numbers and their various forms, and then use the whiteboard recording feature to explain their thinking.
  • Standard: 3 - The student applies mathematical process standards to develop and use strategies for whole number addition and subtraction computations in order to solve problems. Activity: Students can use the whiteboard, imported pictures (from the camera roll -- of math manipulatives or drawings on paper), written explanations on the built-in digital paper, or even app-smash to demonstrate their problem-solving strategies.
  • Standard: 4 - The student applies mathematical process standards to identify coins, their values, and the relationships among them in order to recognize the need for monetary transactions. Activity: Students can: 1) take a picture of the various types of money (fake money manipulatives) in Seesaw and record their voice over the top explaining what each coin is and their denomination, 2) app-smash with Shadow Puppet Edu by importing a different coin picture in the slides, using the magic wand to point to each coin, and narrating over the top of the project to identify and explain more about each coin. The project saves to the camera roll as a video file, which the students can then import into Seesaw, -OR- 3) copy/edit an image of various combinations of coins (from the teacher) and annotate over the top to demonstrate their knowledge of counting money.
  • Standard: 6 - The student applies mathematical process standards to analyze attributes of two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids to develop generalizations about their properties. Activity: Students can: 1) go on a "shape hunt" around the school (or room) and take pictures of the 2D and 3D shapes they've learned about. Import the photos into Pic Collage and create a collage with labels to identify each shape. Export the image to the camera roll, then import into Seesaw from the camera roll and narrate the image to explain what's inside -OR- 2) use the built-in whiteboard to draw 2D shapes, use the labels to label each shape, and provide voice narration to identify each shape and discuss their attributes.

Science Activities

  • Standard: 2(D) and (E) - Record and organize data using pictures, numbers, and words; and communicate observations and provide reasons for explanations using student-generated data from simple descriptive investigations. Activity: In any experiment or investigation, students can use the built-in digital notebook paper or built-in camera or video recorder to record oral, written, or pictorial observations. Students could also app-smash with Shadow Puppet Edu (by creating a picture slideshow), Padlet or Popplet (by creating a brainstorm wall or web), or Pic Collage (by creating a collage of images), importing into Seesaw through the camera roll, and [optionally] adding voice narration to explain the data.
  • Standard: 5(A) - Classify objects by observable properties of the materials from which they are made such as larger and smaller, heavier and lighter, shape, color, and texture. Activity: Students can take pictures of various items, import each item into a freestyle template in Pic Collage and add text to describe its properties, and then import each picture into Shadow Puppet Edu to create a photo slideshow with voice narration to explain why the object was classified in those ways. Finally, import into Seesaw from the camera roll.
  • Standard: 8(A) - Record weather information, including relative temperature, such as hot or cold, clear or cloudy, calm or windy, and rainy or icy. Activity: The teacher can create a clickable image poll in Poll Everywhere that depicts various weather choices, and then drop the link into Seesaw. Students can click the link in their journal (so they don't have to navigate to the URL on their own and can open the link directly within Seesaw) and participate in the poll. Optional addition: the teacher can take a screenshot of each day's weather poll results and compile them into a photo slideshow at the end of every week, month, or semester.
  • Standard: 9(A) - sort and classify living and nonliving things based upon whether or not they have basic needs and produce offspring. Activity: The teacher can give students pictures of a variety of objects (should be a mix between living and nonliving things). Students can sort the items into living vs. non-living piles, take a picture within Seesaw, then use their voice to provide narration to explain why the items were sorted in that way.
  • Standard: 10(D) - Observe and record life cycles of animals such as a chicken, frog, or fish. Activity: Students can use the built-in whiteboard to draw the life cycle of their choice, and then record voice narration to explain what is happening in each stage of the life cycle.

Social Studies Activities

  • Standard: 1(B) - Compare the observance of holidays and celebrations, past and present. Activity: Students can use the built-in whiteboard to draw a Venn diagram. Then use the labels to identify each side ("X Holiday in the Past" and "X Holiday in the Present") and add similarities and differences before turning the work into their Seesaw journal.
  • Standard: 2(A) - Identify contributions of historical figures who have influenced the community. Activity: The teacher can provide a photo of a historical figure or community helper (AirDrop the photos to student devices or drop them into a cloud service for students to retrieve on their device). Then the student can import the photo into Seesaw from the camera roll and provide voice narration in the background to explain that person's contributions.
  • Standard: 5(B) - Locate the community, Texas, and the United States on maps and globes. Activity: Students can use the built-in maps in Shadow Puppet Edu to find map/globe pictures of Texas and the United States. (The teacher can AirDrop students a picture of the community -- or put it in a cloud drive for students to retrieve -- or students can take their own pictures of the community.) Students can add their voice over the top of the pictures, narrating what the viewer sees in each image, before uploading the saved movie file to Seesaw.
  • Standard: 6(A) - Identify and describe the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and weather. Activity: Students can import photos of landscapes into Shadow Puppet Edu, add voice narration to explain the features in the photo (and use the magic wand option to point out each feature as they speak), save the movie file to the camera roll, and then import the final project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 7 (A) and (B) - Describe ways that families meet basic human needs, and describe similarities and differences in ways families meet basic human needs. Activity: The teacher can create a locked/private "chat room" in Today's Meet or a private bulletin board on Padlet, drop the link into Seesaw, and have students contribute words, images, and/or links to the discussion without ever having to navgiate the WWW on their own.
  • Standard: 11(B) - Identify rules and laws that establish order, provide security, and manage conflict. Activity: Students can create a map of their own island on paper or drawn on a device (add a compass rose to integrate another TEK!), import the photo into Seesaw, and then use voice narration to describe the rules or laws that they would enforce and why those rules are essential.
  • Standard: 14(A) - Explain state and national patriotic symbols, including the United States and Texas flags, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and the Alamo. Activity: The teacher can send students pictures of state/national patriotic symbols (via AirDrop or cloud service). Students can import each photo into Chatterpix Kids, personify that symbol, and explain its history and current importance. Students could either then import each individual movie file into their Seesaw journal -OR- import each movie file into a Shadow Puppet Edu slideshow (to save as one giant video) before importing into Seesaw.

All Subjects

Tricks or activities you can use in all subject areas include:


  • Getting images to students (so they don't have to conduct Google searches on their own!): AirDrop the image to [newer] student iOS devices -OR- place the image(s) in a folder in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and provide students with the link or access to the folder so they can download a copy.
  • Directing students to instructional videos: Find the video in YouTube, filter it through SafeShare or ViewPure, and drop the final link in Seesaw.
  • Guiding students toward a particular link: Drop the link in Seesaw. The link will open within Seesaw (on an iOS app) or in a new tab (on a computer) so the student doesn't have to navigate to the URL on his/her own.
  • Presentations: Students can record themselves with Seesaw's built-in video recorder for up to 5 minutes, -OR- you can app-smash with another presentation tool such as Shadow Puppet Edu, Padlet, ThingLink, Chatterpix, Pic Collage, or Popplet Lite. As long as you can save the final project to the camera roll or take a screenshot of it, students can import the assignment into Seesaw to turn in.