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Friday, 27 December 2013

OneNote pilot - in-class session 2 overview Tecumseh P.S.

OneNote Pilot at Tecumseh – Session #2
Just prior to the winter break, the students in Miriam Taylor's classroom at Tecumseh Public School were very busy exploring the many possibilities of the OneNote software program. For session 2 of the A.T. team's intermediate OneNote pilot project, students experimented with the Home, Draw and Insert ribbons. 

Check out all of the ways the students have used OneNote to support their organization and learning.

Tecumseh Public School’s OneNote display bulletin board showcasing all the
 ways the students in Ms. Taylor’s class have been using the program to support their organization.
(left) A student uses the draw tool in OneNote to
edit his work. (right) The revised copy.

Another example of using the Draw feature in OneNote – to create a graphic organizer to support writing.Using OneNoteTables to organize ideas. Screen Clipping was also used to insert visuals.
Student organization of ideas and thinking: (left) using Smart Art to create a graphic organizer to help
organize his writing. (right) A student uses a table in OneNote to organize his thinking.

(left) Stacey is using the HP Page Lift App to take a picture of her teacher’s notes to place into her OneNote Binder. 
(right) She used Read and Write Gold's Vocabulary builder tool to create a Math vocabulary list, which was put into her binder to create a Mathematics word wall.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

IWB LC members host job-embedded professional learning: Fenside P.S. example

Professional Learning Communities for Special Education teachers new to using their Promethean Interactive Whiteboards have been in full swing since October.  In addition to attending Professional Development sessions, learning community members have recently begun taking advantage of job-embedded PD opportunities. Some teachers have co-planned lessons with Itinerant Resource Teachers (IRTs) and then have kindly invited fellow learning community members to observe the lesson as it is co-taught with the IRT. 

Ms. Samson (left) works with her student on the IWB.

Jennifer Samson from Fenside PS recently co-planned a lesson with East Itinerant Resource Teacher Etienne Merceica on persuasive writing and shared the lesson with fellow learning community members. Samson’s HSP students were highly engaged and showed tremendous enthusiasm when using tools such as the Magic Ink and Sound Recorder.  Observing teachers were also very excited to have many more ideas for ways to use these tools in their own classrooms.  Following the lesson, the observation teachers engaged in a discussion on how the assistive technology had been authentically integrated into the lesson to support student learning. 

We look forward to facilitating more co-planning and co-teaching opportunities in the New Year!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A brief reflection on the immediate impact of assistive technology - Duke of Connaught P.S.

Duke of Connaught grade 7 & 8 class recently completed their first segment of an itinerant referral via a collaboration between HSP intermediate teacher Patrick Darkhor and east Assistive Technology itinerant teacher Valia Reinsalu. Darkhor wanted his students to explore the use of specific graphic organizer program SMART Ideas as an assistive technology support for his students' writing. The students learned how to use SMART Ideas in conjunction with Read and Write Gold in order to generate ideas about the topic of Community.
This is the first step of the process which Darkhor aims to have his students regularly self-select assistive technology tools and software to support their learning.

A few samples of the brainstorm process.

Here's Patrick Darkhor's reflection following the first sessions of the itinerant referral:

"Their (the students') responses slightly varied but majority of them thought that their work shows more information when they do it on computer using the AT. They also thought they can focus more on the task when they do it on the computer using the Read and Write program. They feel they can do more work using the program. My observations of their completed task also indicate that the quality of their assignments has significantly improved using the AT. Their work is more organized, more detailed and to the point in most cases."

Monday, 16 December 2013

Collaborative Professional learning partnership: Behaviour and Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Behaviour Focus Group
Teachers and CYWs – PD Partnership

Sharlene Bourjot (Behaviour Co-ordinator) and Christine Harvey Kerr (SEA consultant) have planned a series of three professional learning sessions for Teachers and CYWs of ISP Behaviour classrooms.  The sessions will focus on using the interactive whiteboards to engage students and to differentiate learning.  Each session is planned to be interactive and to give staff hands on interactive whiteboard (IWB) activities that can be immediately implemented into the classroom. Teachers and CYWs will also have the opportunity to meet each other and work together to plan student-centred activities.  

The first session focused on how to use visual symbols and photographs to engage students through hands on learning on the IWB.  Anna-May King and Andrea Hawkins hosted the session at John A. Leslie in their classroom.

At the next meeting in January, participants will have the opportunity to share how they have used visual symbols and photographs in their classroom.

Sharlene and Christine look forward to meeting with the teachers and CYWs again in the new year.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Supporting critical thinking using Visuals LC2 update

Using Images to Develop Critical Thinking for Students with Special Educational Needs

Visual Literacy 
Our second learning communities are in full swing! The focus of this learning community for HSP (Home School Program) Special Education teachers, has been the use of images as information sources. Teachers are able to use photographs to create a rich discussion about the explicit versus implied message, as well as to encourage students to create educated hypotheses about the image to foster critical thinking.

During this learning community, Itinerant Resource Teachers (IRTs) modelled one way Special Education teachers could use images in their classrooms to facilitate such a discussion. In ActivInspire, IRTs modelled how you can cover a photograph using a rectangle and then, using Magic Ink, you can slowly reveal the image, as the discussion progresses. (The importance of asking specific open questions to support higher order thinking skills (HOTS) was also incorporated.)

For example, this image was found through Creative Commons (Photo by Casey Martin). By only revealing part of the image you can ask your students: Where was this photo taken and how do you know? Who is in the image? What is the person doing? It’s important to have students justify their answer, by providing details orally or by annotating on top of the image.

The IRTs continued modelling the lesson, by revealing another section of the image to continue the discussion. In this example, you could ask your students: what are the people doing and how do you know? What do you think happened right before this picture was taken and how do you know? What is the relationship between these people? It’s also important to re-visit the original hypotheses to confirm if they are accurate or to modify them when more of the photograph has been revealed.

The last part of the modelled lesson , was revealing the entire image and determining which of the hypotheses was most accurate. It’s also great to provide students with a context for the photograph. In this example, this is a Nevada National Guard member, who is part of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan stationed at Camp Mike Spann in northern Afghanistan, who is sharing a soccer ball with children.

Magic Ink
To find out how to use Magic Ink in ActivInspire, check out our YouTube video:

To learn more about using images as an information source and to develop critical thinking, check out the resources from The Critical Thinking Consortium:

Thursday, 12 December 2013

More TDSB Intermediate classes join the OneNote pilot

The A.T. team's OneNote pilot had a very busy week, with launches for the Intermediate project at both Warden Ave. P.S. and Blantyre P.S., with students in the Home School Program. Lawrence Park C.I. also had its first session. See yesterday's blog post update.

With every launch, students are excited to get oriented with the hardware and software to support the organization of their ideas and information. Students are able to print both remotely via e-print and hardwired (via USB cord). They use touch, stylus, keyboard and the built-in camera to input work onto various software. (Click on each photo to see a larger version of the image.)

Blantyre Public School, Ms. Klayman's class

Using Read and Write Gold in Microsoft Word.

Warden Avenue Public School, Mr. Maharaj's class

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Lawrence Park C.I. launches OneNote pilot

OneNote Pilot Launches at Lawrence Park C.I.

Another OneNote launch took place in Ms Petersen’s grade 9 and 10 GLE class at Lawrence Park Collegiate.  Students received a brief overview of the tablet; including how to start it, change the password, power off mode vs. sleep mode, and how to print.

Students had eagerly anticipated the launch of the pilot in their classroom and enjoyed exploring the capabilities of their devices.  Max was excited about using Read and Write Gold in conjunction with Word.  Thomas independently found the HP page lift app and began experimenting with how he could digitize handouts. Emma commented how she could use the draw tools in Word for hyperbola in Math. 

All of the students quickly accomplished the goals of the introductory tech session.  Ms Petersen and her students are looking forward to their next session after the winter break. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

AT Read and Write Gold EQAO in-class sessions underway

EQAO In-Class Sessions begin…

The Assistive Technology Itinerant Resources Teachers are excited to be back in special education classrooms across the TDSB to support using Read and Write Gold (RWG) when writing the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Assessment. During this first session, students are shown how to customize the RWG toolbar so that they can access the features supported by EQAO. They also have an opportunity to experiment with which voice and speed best suit their needs when listening to text, along with how to use highlighters to better support answering multiple choice type questions. Lastly, they are shown how to set up their computers in dual page mode so that they can have the reading passage and questions side by side. 

Example of how highlighters can be used to support answering 
multiple choice questions ~ pink to eliminate choices, and yellow for the best answer.

Student from Bowmore Jr & Sr P.S. 
using dual page to answer questions.

Student feedback from Hollycrest – (J/I HSP)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Intermediate OneNote project updates: MacklinP.S. & Tecumseh P.S.

Macklin Public School Update:

Our OneNote Project continued at Macklin PS on December 4th. Students learned how to organize their digital binder as well as how to resize images and how to use the HP Page Lift App to make digital copies of worksheets and other documents. The students in Mr. Wong’s grade 7/8 HSP class have already been using OneNote to gather research information for their social justice project on cocoa farming and chocolate production. The students had great questions and showed a very high level of enthusiasm for the project and how it can help them at school. 

Some of the reasons given by students as to how using OneNote is helping them were:

  •          It allows them to organize work for different subjects
  •         No more sheets paper to lose and keep track of
  •          All your stuff is in one place so you don’t have to carry a lot of things with you

Student uses the stylus to record
reasons why organization is important.

Student is able to access and create content (images, audio, text)
in OneNote by touch and using the stylus.
We are all looking forward to our next session together on January 7th, 2014!

Tecumseh Public School update:

Students at Tecumseh P.S. continue to use OneNote in a variety of ways to support their learning. Below are just a few examples.

Another example of using the Draw feature in OneNote 
– this time to create a graphic organizer to support his writing.
Using OneNote Tables to organize ideas. Screen
 Clipping was also used to insert visuals. Topic: What we read and why?

Tecumseh Public School’s OneNote display bulletin board showcasing all the 
various way the students in Ms. Taylor’s class have been using the program to support their organization.

Graphic organizers to support student writing at Forest Manor

One idea to support students in writing a narrative

Many students benefit with the use of a graphic organizer to support their learning. The use a graphic organizer as part of students' writing process, provides them with a concrete visual way that students can make sense of connections, patterns and relationships between their ideas.

At a recent Assistive Technology itinerant referral, Special Education teacher Angela MacMillan-Suzuki and Itinerant Resource Teacher Valia Reinsalu explored the use of the Interactive Whiteboard along with the graphic organizer programme SMART Ideas to support MacMillan-Suzuki's students in writing their own narratives.

First, students experienced a whole group lesson using the interactive whiteboard (IWB), to review ideas about the structure of narratives and and to create their first digital graphic organizer. Planned for the second part of the lesson, students will create their own graphic organizer and fill in the details to scaffold and support their organization of ideas as a first step in creating their own stories.

Supporting the writing process
The IWB provided a large, visual interactive learning space. The teachers facilitated the lesson as students took turns at the board, in order to co-construct a blank narrative planner. SMART Ideas' organizer elements are all customizable and editable. The class used of different shapes, colours and size of text, to visually represent and reinforce the overall structure of a narrative.

Lesson part 1
As a first step in understanding and using strategies and tools of SMART Ideas, the class co-created a narrative graphic organizer based on their knowledge of the picture book: The Gigantic Turnip.

Step 1.

The Forest Manor students were able to access the board in different ways, writing each element of a narrative on the board using a pen, keyboard or their finger (eg. setting, character, problem and solution). 

The SMART Ideas toolbar prompts the student 
to choose how he would like to convert the writing. (see toolbar above student's hand).
The student can convert the  text into an information element.

Step 2.

Students added details of the story, The Gigantic Turnip, to each narrative element heading. By choosing a red hexagon and black text for the narrative element (eg. character) and blue pentagon with white text (details and names of characters in the story), students had a visual and concrete reminder how the parts were related.

This student used the pull-down arrow to add a detail
to the Character element.  

Once an element is added, a student can add text to the detail by using the online keyboard to type information. 
Students can use Read and Write Gold within SMART Ideas to provide them with writing support (spelling, word prediction, text-to-speech).

Ms. MacMillan-Suzuki with her student's first digital graphic organizer in progress.
Lesson part 2 (to be continued)
Students will be creating their own narrative organizers and filling it with their own details and ideas. Once all their text is added, a SMART Ideas organizer can be converted into a Microsoft Word document. In that format, the Word document contains organized, categorized jot notes, which students can add to and edit, using Read and Write Gold tools, until they have completed a well-written story.

The itinerant referral is one of the many roles that the Assistive Technology itinerant teachers is to support Special Education teachers and their classrooms through individual referrals. Through the Job Embedded Professional Learning model, the AT team and classroom teacher and IRT co-plan and co-teach lessons which incorporate the use of assistive technology software tools to differentiate learning. 

All together there are six itinerant teachers supporting special education teachers in Assistive Technology in the TDSB. Referral forms can be found on the internal TDSB web site.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The mission of these junior special education classrooms, it to promote Math talk.

The Math Mission
How do you support Mathematics engagement and achievement? Why not incorporate the use of assistive technology software tools as accommodations in order promote Math talk when solving open problems within the classroom? 

That's the main goal of the A.T. team's Math Mission pilot project this year starting in seven junior Special Education classrooms in the TDSB.
The Math Mission pilot is investigating how supporting students to clearly communicate their thinking and questions in Mathematics learning, will transfer into formulating well-supported detailed written answers (when students solve open problems).
The Math Mission goal.

And another layer is that the teachers and classrooms are accessing lessons and posting solutions via the Ministry-licensed learner management software Desire2Learn. 

Desire2Learn is a software that supports blended learning, where lesson content (including web links, multimedia and other digital resources and reference material) can be posted and accessed on a cloud-based course site - to compliment learning that happens in the classroom setting. But along with posting multimedia solutions to specific lesson activities, Desire2Learn provides a way for teachers to support a discussion thread, for students (and teachers) to share solutions, ask questions, and provide feedback to each other. 

While students and teachers practice 21st century skills of communicating on-line, Desire2Learn is a safe platform - as only those pilot participants have access to the course.

Cloud collaboration and communication
Teachers and students interact weekly on-line on the Math Mission course, the pilot teachers get together three times during the year in their Math Mission Learning Community at Terraview Learning Centre. The in-class sessions are designed for the teachers to use assistive technology to differentiate student learning via an open problem using tools such as: Interactive Whiteboard software, graphic organizer software, and mobile apps, along with concrete manipulates to facilitate learning of Mathematics and support communication. 

During early November's first session, the LC teachers also learned how to navigate and post on the Desire to Learn Math Mission course. Data was also collected as teachers recorded their marker students' initial abilities to communicate in Math.
In order to monitor the growth of students' ability to
communicate, teachers are tracking their marker students.
Assistive Technology to support student learning
The pilot teachers traveled to stations via a modeled lesson. In that way they can transfer their learning when supporting their own students. Here is one solution that was recorded and posted on the Math Mission course, using IWB software and video recording:

The Math Mission continues on-line and the pilot teachers meet again next week for LC2. The A.T. team has initiated a number of pilot projects this 2013-2014 school year. Along with the Math Mission, team members are supporting Read and Write Gold tools to support EQAO, and Microsoft OneNote in Intermediate classrooms to support organization and transitions.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Stephen Leacock C.I. latest school to launch OneNote project

The TDSB A.T. team's OneNote pilot project continues to launch in various intermediate and secondary school special education classes. On Thursday, November 28 OneNote was introduced to students with an ASD in their GLE classroom at Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute.

Trainer Dustin Jez introduces OneNote to the class. Teacher Michael Pascaris (pictured right) supporting students' journey as well.
Students can access OneNote and other programs using touch, keyboard and a stylus.
 The classroom teacher and students participate in a series of training sessions using OneNote to support their learning. One of the goals of the TDSB's OneNote project is to support students with organization and transitions.

Using the screen clipping tool of OneNote, this student shares his feeling about
the new program with a simple, "I feel good."

Thursday, 28 November 2013

OneNote launch at Macklin P.S. & Low Incidence Learning Community spotlight: Functional Literacy and Communication

Macklin P.S. starts its OneNote journey

Excitement and engagement throughout the classroom, as Macklin P.S.'s Intermediate HSP students launched its OneNote project on Wednesday, November 27. The first session is technical training, which gives the students the first experiences using the software to support organization of ideas and note taking. Their first reaction to the program? One student noted, "This is awesome!" 

Students use full touch
 to write and annotate on the document.

Low Incidence Interactive Whiteboard Learning Community #2 underway…

The second of four Learning Communities that support special education teachers that received an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) in their special education class this year are underway. The teachers of Low Incidence classes expressed that the IWB has improved and increased motivation, social skills and turn taking, confidence, engagement and fine motor skills, along with allowing visuals that capture their students’ attention and make their learning more meaningful. Teachers also expressed that the IWB allowed for differentiated learning to happen. During this session the teachers were presented with ideas on how the IWB can support their students’ learning through various Functional Literacy and Communication and other Language activities. Look below to see some of the activities these teachers created during their work time. (Click on an individual image to see a larger version of the picture.)

Flipchart page showing the concept of more or less.

Sequencing activity: Getting ready for dismissal.

Matching Pictures activity.

Monday, 25 November 2013

OneNote launch at Samuel Hearne & Success at Council for Exceptional Children Ontario conference

Another school launches into the OneNote pilot project

Grade 7 HSP students at Samuel Hearne M.S. had their first OneNote session today. The students are part of the AT team's OneNote project, supporting intermediate students with organization and transitions.

Here's the top 8 list from Samuel Hearne's students following their first tech session using OneNote.Click on the photo to see a larger picture of the list. 

SEA Team Success at CEC Conference

On Friday November 22nd, six members of our SEA Team presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Niagara Falls.  All three groups presented about ways to use an Interactive to support student success. Participants in these sessions were actively engaged and responded very positively to information presented.

“From Binders to the Board: Independent Activity Schedules and the Interactive Whiteboard” was presented by (left to right in photo) Christina Mathura (Assistive Technology Itinerant Teacher, TDSB); Heidi Mitchell  (ASD Consultant, Surrey Place Centre) and Carol Gaghadar (ASD Consultant, TDSB).

Supporting Students' Learning Needs with an Interactive Whiteboard” was presented by Lisa Mast and Andrea Statton (Assistive Technology Itinerant Teachers, TDSB).

“Using the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard to Support Executive Functioning” was presented by Valia Reinsalu, Etienne Mercieca and Renee Keberer (Assistive Technology Itinerant Teachers, TDSB).
If you missed these exciting and informative sessions and are interested in learning how to use your Interactive Whiteboard to support student learning needs please check out our YouTube Channel “Tech and Special Ed”.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

AT Team heads to Ontario Council for Exceptional Children conference

This CEC Conference takes place November 22-23 at the Marriott Gateway on the Falls Hotel, Niagara Falls. For more information about the CEC Conference please go to:

Please look for members of our Assistive Technology Team presenting at the CEC Conference at the following sessions:

Friday November 22nd, 9:45-10:45 (Location Salon B)

Presenters: Carol Gaghadar, ASD Consultant, Toronto DSB (TDSB), Christina Mathura, AssistiveTechnology Itinerant Teacher, TDSB; Heidi Mitchell, ASD Consultant, Surrey Place Centre

Friday November 22nd, 11:00-12:00 (Location Salon B)

Presenters: Lisa Mast and Andrea Statton, Itinerant Resource Teachers for Assistive Technology,TDSB

Friday November 22nd, 1:00-2:00 (Location Salon B)
Presenters: Renee Keberer, Etienne Mercieca, and Valia Reinsalu, Itinerant Teachers – Assistive Technology, TDSB