Introducing FigJam!

Have you heard the (pretty old but might be new to you) news? Google is waiving bye-bye to Jamboard, as of October 2024. So what do we do now? I want to introduce you to FigJam.  FigWhat? FigJam is a great alternative to Jamboard, and may actually be a superior platform. Allowing FigMa to introduce itself: “FigJam is an online whiteboard where possibilities turn into plans. Teachers can facilitate collaborative group learning while encouraging active participation from students. It’s best suited for classroom discussions, brainstorms, and group work.” FigJam Education Be sure to get verified for FigJam Education. This will help you...

Enhance Whole-Class Instruction with an IXL Group Jam

If you are looking for how to utilize IXL in whole-group learning, a Group Jam is what you want! Picture the perfect blend of IXL and Kahoot. IXL Group Jam introduces an exhilarating approach for classrooms to collaborate on mastering an IXL skill! In a Group Jam session, every student encounters the same IXL question simultaneously, and you’ll have a chance to review the question together as a class. You can choose the difficulty, or level, of each question.  Throughout an IXL Group Jam, educators can promptly assess their entire class’s grasp of the subject matter, empowering them to make...

Elevating Education: Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Let’s delve into a topic that lies at the heart of effective teaching: vocabulary instruction. We all understand its importance—it’s essential for comprehension, expression, and critical thinking. But how do we ensure our instruction isn’t just about exposure but truly facilitates understanding and retention? In this post, we’re taking a deep dive into the art and science of vocabulary teaching. We’ll explore evidence-based strategies, practical methodologies, and insights to enhance your instructional practices. Why Vocabulary Instruction? Teaching vocabulary is essential for fostering academic success and narrowing the pervasive vocabulary gap observed among students. Research indicates stark differences in vocabulary knowledge...

Empowering Literacy Through Read Alouds

If you are connected anywhere to early literacy education right now, I am sure you are aware of the national conversation around aligning current practice to the science of reading. But what is the science of reading and how can it make our students better readers? I am by no means an expert, but have picked up some helpful resources along my learning journey to hopefully help you with the shift you are making in your classroom when you read aloud to students.  Reading for Understanding One main aspect behind the science of reading is the idea that reading comprehension...

Boost Engagement with Pear Deck

Pear Deck is a powerful yet user-friendly platform designed specifically for educators to create captivating and interactive lessons. Its versatility makes it an invaluable asset, particularly for elementary school teachers seeking to create a stimulating and inclusive learning environment. In today’s fast-paced educational landscape, engaging students in the classroom can often be a challenging task. Traditional teaching methods sometimes struggle to captivate young minds and maintain their focus. However, in this digital age, innovative tools like Pear Deck have emerged as a game-changer, transforming the learning experience by making it more interactive, dynamic, and enjoyable. PearDeck is a Google Slides...

Back to School Tech Updates

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! Below are some important updates, a quick AI overview, and update on programs that we do, or do not, have access to, and some more tidbits of information you might find helpful as we start up the school year. We will link some of our blog articles in the monthly Tech This Out newsletter, but if you want an immediate notification, subscribe to our blog! Tech Coaches Your Instructional Technology Coaches will be working in your buildings more frequently this year so if you see one of us, be sure to grab us and...

Jumpstart Vocabulary Instruction for a New School Year

Language proficiency lies at the heart of effective communication and academic success, and educators are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance students’ language skills. Understanding the significance of engaging with new words across all four language domains – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – has been a cornerstone of language instruction, as highlighted in SIOP training. In this article, we explore how Seesaw templates leverage Seesaw’s new frames to empower students to respond using all language domains, fostering comprehensive language development. Additionally, we delve into two exciting techniques to gamify vocabulary acquisition and deepen word understanding through word webs. Join...

The Best Productivity Tool for Your Team

We’re big fans of being as productive as possible in our work. If you’re able to work efficiently, you can put more energy into the why of what you’re doing, not the how. In any organization, figuring when and how to meet with other people can often become an overwhelming task, especially if you’re trying to pull a large group together. In this post, we’ll explain why the calendar is the best productivity tool for any team or organization. We’re a Google district, so our examples will be from Google Calendar, but just about every platform has the same tools...

The Basics of ChatGPT in Simple Language

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are nearly unavoidable now – and we’ve mentioned them more than once in stuff we’ve published. We want to make sure that we’re talking about what these tools are and not just how you can use them in the classroom. I’m hoping this post can be a resource for you, dear reader, to help you make informed decisions about how – or even if – you want to start using AI in your work. Listen instead Holly and Brian recorded the content of this blog post as a podcast. If you’d prefer to listen to the...

Measure Student Progress with Proficiency Scales

A challenging part of the PLC process is determining student growth in relation to your essential standards. Once your PLC has determined the essential standards for the course and defined the learning targets within each standard, it’s time to talk about assessment. Assessing student skills Instead of looking at a single score – performance on a test, for example – we need to consider which skills students are demonstrating and how well did they perform on each skill. These determinations should be made as a group so that all students taking the course are measured fairly consistently. This shift is...

A Taste of DOT: Blog Posts from ECS Content Specialists

Our Content Specialists have created blog posts. Below is a short “tasting” of each blog article and you can click to read more! Enjoy the tasting. Elementary K-6 Closing the Gap: Reading Strategies for ALL Students | Anita Pratt The Science of Reading is gaining recognition and support from more and more educators across the country. Research is suggesting that our brains are not wired to learn to read the same way we learn to talk. We learn to talk by listening to others and following their lead, but reading has to be explicitly taught. Phonics has to be systematically...

Supporting English Language Learners by Integrating Digital Content with Discovery Education

As a teacher, one of the biggest challenges you may face is finding ways to support English Language Learners in your classroom. While it can be difficult to meet the diverse needs of these students, one powerful resource that you may want to consider is Discovery Education. Discovery Education is an online platform that provides a wealth of resources and tools to support students’ learning. This platform can be particularly helpful for our EL population, as it offers a range of features that can help build background knowledge, support vocabulary development, and strategies to help students meet content objectives. Building...

Wait, you mean you’re not using these ✨amazing✨ iPad features yet?

The iPad has some awesome features you may didn’t know even existed! Annotating within safari reader, powerful accessibility features, Apple Classroom hidden features, the split screen superpower, and upgrading your home screen with widgets.