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EQAO pilot update - Math and Problem Solving session

Friday, 11 May 2012

EQAO pilot update - Math and Problem Solving session

E.Q.A.O. Pilot Session 3 Update
The Assistive Technology team's third and final session of the E.Q.A.O. pilot is underway. Teachers and their group of grade 3, grade 6 (or groups of students from combination of grade 3 and 6), from 24 schools across the T.D.S.B. are taking part.


On Wednesday May 2, students at Weston Memorial Junior Public School participated in Session Three of the E.Q.A.O. Pilot. The participating teachers shared the following reflections about this project: 
   
Miss Suppa: "This E.Q.A.O. pilot project has helped create a positive learning experience and attitude towards the often challenging test.”
Ms. DiNatale: "Using assistive tech...it's like evening out the playing field...for these kids it's sometimes like running a race without the running shoes that everyone else has...the technology is the running shoes for them..."

During each half-day session, students and their teachers work with the Read and Write Gold trainer learning how to use the features of the software along with a word processing program (Microsoft Word). Students develop strategies to help them to demonstrate their thinking by responding to question types such as: multiple choice, short answer, and problem solving as well as creative writing.

Math word problems and the Problem-Solving Model
Session three's focus is on using text-to-speech feature of Read and Write Gold to understand math word problems and then applying a four-step problem solving model to attack the problem.
One of the problems Weston Memorial students explored solving was a Data Management problem involving a Canada's Wonderland trip. The problem described a group of students going to Wonderland together who were split up to participate in three separate activities. Information about the total number of students on the trip was given and the numbers who went on two rides - the Behemoth and the Ghoster Coaster. The data for the two groups was also shown on a graph. The challenge was to figure out the missing data - the data for the third group, who went to the water park.

Step 1 - Understand the Problem
Students who typically face reading challenges are better able to understand the math word problem with the support of assistive technology.  They read and reread the math problem as often as they need to using the Read and Write Gold text-to-speech tool:

Students in the project have learned how to personalize their toolbars by using the General Options in Read and Write Gold to enlarge the size of the icons and choose the tools they need for a given activity. They also are able to adjust the Speech Options so that the text is read to them at a pace they select.

Miss Bell shows students how to set up Read and Write Gold 10
Students select the text of the word problem that they want read to them and press the "Speak text" (green play button) to hear it read aloud. They use Read and Write Gold to listen to the problem several times, each time adding key information to a KWC chart, until they feel that they understand all components of the problem. (K=What do I know?, W=What do I want to know? C=Conditions)
Step 2 - Make a Plan
Students are guided to think about what steps they would take to solve the problem.
Step 3 - Carry out the Plan
Students are asked to carry out their strategy. e.g. Draw pictures. Use manipulatives.
Step 4 - Look back at the Solution
Students were asked to reflect on their solution and whether it makes sense.

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