4th Grade Lesson Ideas

Using Seesaw

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

ELA Activities

  • Standard: 1 - Students read grade-level text with fluency and comprehension. Students are expected to read aloud grade-level stories 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: 2(C) - Complete analogies using knowledge of antonyms and synonyms. Activity: Each day, the teacher could write an analogy with a missing piece on the built-in digital notebook paper in Seesaw and turn it in to his/her "sample journal." As a bellringer or other quick, daily activity, students could copy/edit that item and complete the analogy by filling in the blank with the keyboard before turning it back in to their own student journal.
  • Standard: 2(D) - Identify the meaning of common idioms. Activity: The teacher can create a Padlet wall (making sure to enable comments) for idioms and drop the link in Seesaw. Throughout the year, as students discover or think of new idioms, they can add the idiom to the Padlet and then comment underneath it what the idiom means. This wall can serve as a database of idioms for students to use in writing or to reference while reading.
  • Standard: 6(A) - Sequence and summarize the plot's main events and explain their influence on future events. Activity: Students can sequence the main events of a story using Popplet Lite. Export the timeline to the camera roll and import the image into Shadow Puppet Edu. Use the voice narration, zoom, and "magic wand" feature to narrate the timeline, explaining each event and its influence on future events. Save the video file to the camera roll, and then import the final project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 11(A), (B), and (C) - Summarize the main idea and supporting details in text in ways that maintain meaning; distinguish fact from opinion in a text and explain how to verify what is a fact; and describe explicit and implicit relationship. Activity: Students can: 1) copy/edit an item the teacher has turned in to Seesaw (such as a screenshot of a short reading passage), and use the built-in annotation tool to highlight the main idea, supporting details, and/or facts vs. opinions. Then use the built-in voice narration tool to explain their thinking before turning it into their own Seesaw journal. -OR- 2) click on a link to an article the teacher has turned in to Seesaw (such as one on Newsela), read the article, and screenshot the main idea, supporting details, and/or facts vs. opinions. Import those screenshots into Shadow Puppet Edu and use the voice narration and "magic wand" feature to explain their thinking and point out each element. Save the video file to the camera roll and import the finished project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 13(B) - Explain factual information presented graphically (e.g., charts, diagrams, graphs, illustrations). Activity: The teacher can turn in charts, graphs, diagrams, or illustrations to his/her "sample journal." Students can then copy/edit that piece of work and record a voice annotation that explains the information presented in the image before turning it back in to their own Seesaw journal.
  • Standard: 14 (A) and (B) - Explain the positive and negative impacts of advertisement techniques used in various genres of media to impact consumer behavior; and explain how various design techniques used in media influence the message (e.g., pacing, close-ups, sound effects). Activity: The teacher can find advertisements on YouTube and filter the videos through SafeShare before dropping the links into Seesaw. At their own pace, students can watch the videos and brainstorm the advertisement and design techniques. Then the student can either type their thoughts on the built-in digital notebook paper in Seesaw and turn in to their journal, -OR- create an advertisement of their own using Pic Collage, turn in to Seesaw, and use the voice annotation feature to explain each of the elements added to the advertisement and how they may impact the viewer.
  • Standard: 15(E) - Revise final draft in response to feedback from peers and teacher and publish written work for a specific audience. Activity: Students can: 1) write their drafts on the built-in digital notebook paper in Seesaw, take pictures of their written work and drop it into Seesaw, or drop a link to written work saved in the cloud (Google Docs) to their Seesaw journal. Peers can copy/edit the work and make editing suggestions or just leave a comment on the work to suggest revisions. -AND/OR- 2) drop their final draft of a writing piece into Seesaw (take a picture of their written work, type it on the built-in digital notebook paper, or drop a link to a cloud file). From there, peers can see the work and/or the student can publish it to the Seesaw blog to gain a wider audience.

Math Activities

  • Standard: 2(C) and 3(D) - Compare and order whole numbers to 1,000,000,000 and represent comparisons using the symbols >, <, or =; and compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators and represent the comparison using the symbols >, =, or <. Activity: Give each student a device with Whiteboard Lite. Allow students to connect to a partner in the room using the Wifi Connect feature. Students can take turns: Partner A writes two numbers (between 0-1,000,000,000 -OR- two fractions), and Partner B compares them using less than, greater than, or equal to. Take screenshots of each round. After 4-6 rounds, students can import the screenshots into Pic Collage, save the collage to the camera roll, and import the work into their Seesaw journal for the teacher to review.
  • Standard: 4(A) - Add and subtract whole numbers and decimals to the hundredths place using the standard algorithm. Activity: Students can use the built-in whiteboard and voice narration to solve math problems. (Be sure to hit "record" before writing on the whiteboard so that voice narration and ink additions are recorded simultaneously!)
  • Standard: 5(C) and (D) - Use models to determine the formulas for the perimeter of a rectangle (l + w + l + w or 2l + 2w), including the special form for perimeter of a square (4s) and the area of a rectangle (l x w); and (D) solve problems related to perimeter and area of rectangles where dimensions are whole numbers. Activity: Students can take a picture of an item for which they need to find the perimeter. Import the photo into Pic Collage and add text to label the lengths and widths of the shape. Add another text box to show the perimeter formula and the answer. Save to the camera roll. Finally, students can import the collage into Seesaw and add voice narration to explain their thinking.
  • Standard: 6(A) - Identify points, lines, line segments, rays, angles, and perpendicular and parallel lines. Activity: Students can use Pic Collage to upload photo examples of points, lines, etc. Add text labels to each photo, export the collage, and import the finished project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 9 - The student applies mathematical process standards to solve problems by collecting, organizing, displaying, and interpreting data. Activity: Students can create their own graph to represent a given set of data (use a drawing app such as Whiteboard Lite or Doodle Buddy and graph paper as the background). Export the image to the camera roll and import into Seesaw.

Science Activities

  • Standard: 2 - The student uses scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and outdoor 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(C) - Compare and contrast a variety of mixtures and solutions such as rocks in sand, sand in water, or sugar in water. Activity: Students can draw a Venn Diagram using the built-in whiteboard in Seesaw. Then compare/contrast mixtures and solutions using the label feature in Seesaw.
  • Standard: 6(B) - Differentiate between conductors and insulators. Activity: The teacher can create a Padlet wall and drop the link into Seesaw. Students can go to the Padlet wall from their Seesaw journal and add properties of conductors on the left and properties of insulators on the right. This can serve as a springboard for class discussion or an exit ticket.
  • Standard: 7(B) - Observe and identify slow changes to Earth's surface caused by weathering, erosion, and deposition from water, wind, and ice. Activity: The teacher can create a class Padlet wall regarding changes to the Earth's surface and drop the link into Seesaw. Students can navigate to the Padlet wall through the Seesaw link and add their contributions -- text, images, files, links, and any other media. If the teacher enables commenting, students can participate in virtual, on-going discussions on each of the Padlet posts.
  • Standard: 9(B) - Describe the flow of energy through food webs, beginning with the Sun, and predict how changes in the ecosystem affect the food web such as a fire in a forest. Activity: Students can brainstorm a food chain of their choice and draw each step in a drawing app (such as Whiteboard Lite or Doodle Buddy). Save each image to the camera roll, then import the images into a slideshow in Shadow Puppet Edu. Students can add voice narration to describe each step of the food chain, including its energy source. End the video with an explanation of what might happen if a change occurs in the ecosystem. Save the video to the camera roll, and upload the final project to Seesaw.

Social Studies Activities

  • Standard: 2(A) - Summarize motivations for European exploration and settlement of Texas, including economic opportunity, competition, and the desire for expansion. Activity: After conducting research on the topic, students can gather pictures (or create their own -- either on paper or with a digital drawing app), import the photos into a slideshow in Shadow Puppet Edu, add voice narration to explain things such as economic opportunity, competition, desire for expansion, etc., and save to the camera roll. Import the finished project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 2(B) and 3(B) - Identify the accomplishments and explain the impact of significant explorers on the settlement of Texas, and summarize the significant contributions of individuals. Activity: After researching, students can upload a photo of the historical figure of their choice into the Chatterpix app. The student will explain that person's impact and accomplishments, save the video to the camera roll, and then import the finished project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 7 - The student understands the concept of regions. Activity: Students can use the built-in maps in the Shadow Puppet Edu app to add photos of Texas and/or each particular region of Texas to a photo slideshow. Then, with voice narration, students can explore each region of Texas, focusing on reviewing properties such as their population, landforms, climate, vegetation, etc. Save the video to the camera roll, then import the finished project into Seesaw.
  • Standard: 18(B) - Identify leadership qualities of state and local leaders, past and present. Activity: The teacher can create an AnswerGarden and put the link to it in Seesaw. Then students can add qualities of good leaders to the word cloud (where the answers that are submitted the most will appear the largest on the screen)...which can lead to a class discussion and other activities regarding this standard.

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.

More Resources

For more lesson ideas, check these resources: