So you inherited an IWB – now what?
In an effort to provide ongoing support for using interactive whiteboards (IWB) in classrooms, the AT Department launched a new learning opportunity for teachers entering a Special Education classroom that had an existing IWB. The So you inherited an IWB - now what? project was designed for teachers unfamiliar with using SMART or Promethean boards so that they could learn and share strategies and features of the IWB and to create networking opportunities within special education.
Due to the tremendous interest, we created two SMART learning communities for the East and the West regions, as well as two for the Promethean users. Participants are attending four learning community sessions that each focus on a different topic.
On Thursday, project teachers had the initial IWB training. Next the Special Education teachers will participate in professional learning on using the IWB for visual strategies, Mathematics and student engagement. We are also providing the teachers with an opportunity for an in-class observation where an itinerant teacher co-teaches with a fellow teacher. This focused observation allows participants to witness authentic learning with a chance to debrief the lesson and discuss best practices.
EQAO pilot project second-year launch
The second year of the AT team's EQAO Read and Write Gold pilot began today at both Terraview Learning Centre (East) and Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre (West).
All together over 30 teachers of grade 3 and/or grade 6 students, in HSP and ISP classrooms, are taking part in the Special Education pilot project. The AT team's itinerant teachers will work with pilot Special Education teachers, in their assigned East and West Regions, throughout the year to support their students in the use of specific assistive technology tools found in the software Read and Write Gold. The model of job-embedded support combines both individual in-class sessions (co-teaching lessons with students), as well as EQAO and AT focused Learning Community sessions.
One of the main goals is to have students be able to use AT independently to support their comprehension and to respond to a variety of question types using features of Read and Write Gold in their classrooms and specifically during EQAO testing.
The night prior to the AT team's launch of the RWG EQAO project, Dr. Chris Spence, TDSB's Director of Education sent out a tweet regarding Special Education students noting that "exemptions are down and scores are up".