Holly Mecher

Elementary Instructional Coach | Apple Distinguished Educator, Pear Deck Coach, and Seesaw Ambassador | Believer in student choice and student voice | Advocate for social justice

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...

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...

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...

Using Seesaw to Support the Four Language Domains: Writing Edition

Seesaw is an amazing place to include student writing. When thinking about writing lessons, we need to keep in mind that writing involves not only putting thoughts and ideas into words in written form, but also knowing & using the appropriate vocabulary, spelling, and grammar to convey meaning, knowing and using the appropriate form for the type of writing, and the difference between formal and informal writing. It also includes the skills of revising, editing, and publishing. 

Using Seesaw to Support the Four Language Domains: Reading Edition

The language domains, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, are the 4 ways that people can interact with language. Two of these skills, speaking and writing, are described as productive skills as we create language with each of these. The other two skills, listening and reading, are receptive skills because we use these skills to receive information from an outside source. In this post, we will focus on ways that you can practice the language domain of reading by using Seesaw.

The top three Epic features that I didn’t utilize when teaching and should have.

We talk about accessible learning in our department possibly daily. It comes up in almost every conversation we have. Despite this, the one thing we’ve never said about accessible learning is that it’s easy because frankly, it isn’t. Ensuring that all of your students, regardless of ability and language, have the same level of access to content is a huge challenge for a teacher. One free tool for teachers that can help to bridge that gap is Epic.  Epic is a freemium tool (keep an eye out for the “🔒Unlimited” books that are not available with the free account) that...

Keep Kids Begging to Learn: Using Blooket as a Formative Check

Need a fun way to do a quick formative assessment? Try out Blooket as a fun way to check what your students know in the moment! Blooket is a game-based, freemium program (meaning you can pay for premium, but the free version is still amazing) that keeps kids begging to play “one more round!”  How to start a Blooket: Create or Discover a Set When looking to start with Blooket, you first need to decide if you want to create your own set or discover a set that has already been created. I recommend taking a peek at already created...

Using Seesaw to Support the Four Language Domains: Speaking Edition

The language domains, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, are the 4 ways that people can interact with language. Two of these skills, speaking and writing, are described as productive skills as we create language with each of these. The other two skills, listening and reading, are receptive skills because we use these skills to receive information from an outside source.  In this post, we will focus on practicing the language domain of speaking and how Seesaw can help you meet this need.

Using Seesaw to Support the Four Language Domains: Listening Edition

At Elkhart Community Schools, we have a surprisingly large population of English Language Learners for a small midwest town. Because of this, we have to be very intentional about planning for and utilizing the four language domains to help boost understanding of the English language when providing content to students. In this post, we will focus on practicing the language domain of listening and how we can use Seesaw to help support this domain.

Avoid IXL Burnout: Getting Measurable Impact in as Little as 15 Questions a Week

Are you looking to make the most of IXL? In the post below, we’ll talk about the IXL Effect and how to ensure you are making the most of IXL in the classroom.  A bit of heavy reading behind the “IXL Effect” The IXL Effect is a well-known phrase in the IXL community that refers to the impact that IXL can make on student proficiency, specifically when comparing schools that use IXL to those that do not use IXL. IXL conducted research that explored IXL usage across the entire state of Indiana. By examining a large number of schools, they...

Utilizing Seesaw Groups to Make Assigning Accommodations and Modifications a Breeze

If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is the time. This past semester, Seesaw released a new *game-changing* feature, Seesaw Groups. Seesaw groups allow you to assign student work to groups of students with one click.  Creating and Assigning to Seesaw Groups Seesaw groups are also super easy to create. From your Seesaw homepage, select the wrench in the top right corner. Under students > Manage Student Groups > Type in a name for the student group > Add Student Group. From there, you can select the students you want in that group, then select the green check mark...