23 April 2017

Seesaw Insight: Casting Call Selfies

Two of my favorite Seesaw features are drawing and labels. Combine them with comments and student selfies, and you can have a quick and easy casting call!

The casting call can be used to demonstrate a variety of communicative skills:

  • interpretating character descriptions
  • summarizing interpreted facts
  • presenting biographical information

I myself have used it with Agentes Secretos and with research for the Spanish 2 skit on the difference between Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day.

Here's how it works.

First let me take a selfie

I have some kids the plead to use their favorite Facebook profile pic. I might allow it if I'm feeling generous (or rushed), but there is something to be said for using facial expression and body language to present information. When students had to "audition" for the different characters in Agentes Secretos, they had to pick two different characters (you know, to increase their chances of getting cast). So of course Paula would never pose like Luis--their personalities are described completely differently! Also, you might have some props, like, say, a Halloween wig, that convey the character's differing physical attributes.

So they first had to take and upload their selfies to Seesaw.


I don't have a bald cap, so to convey that they were portraying Miguel Hidalgo, of course Spanish 2 had to draw over their own hairstyles to get the full effect. They colored themselves a little bald spot and some wild white hair, maybe with a cross or a collar to get across the professional identity of el padre de la Revolución. Those auditioning for the role of Paula often drew little hearts, either over her head or her eyes (Es muy romántica, Paula.)

Step three: say something

I hadn't discovered labels last semester, so I just had those "auditioning" for roles in Agentes Secretos add a caption where they said who they were and described "themselves," thus switching the descriptions in the novel from third person to first AND practicing the novice's best friend, the yo form. For Padre Hidalgo and Presidente Juarez, I had them just add some labels indicating the year and even they were associated with.

Más four-te

Voice comments: they let kids create speaking evidence without A) look beautiful for the duration of a video and B) create some crazy avatar or fill up your Google Voice email. Also super easy to embed in portfolios with the Seesaw share function!

In retrospect, I should have had the characters say one of their lines from the novel. The historical characters, though, explained who they were and why they were important (yay, past tense!...IF they were ready) AND said when their event took place out loud (SO sick of kids in Spanish 2 and 3 automatically shifting back to English when they see a number over 100).

A new French teacher amiga at the FLANC Share Fest yesterday ALSO had the brilliant idea to use this for a low-prep living museum like she saw at her daughter's school! Imagine the Degas ballerinas and Gaugin islanders! The Picasso-fied portraits and descriptions! The talking Frida selfies! The Botero families or narco scenes?

Who else do you think might need to make an appearance in your class Seesaw feed?

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