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Thursday, 28 March 2013

How are IWBs revolutionizing your teaching practice?

How has an Interactive Whiteboard Revolutionized your Teaching Practice?

My students are able to sit to attend to lessons now.  In September, they could sit for ten minutes.  Now they can sit for thirty minutes.”
                                              -Neil from Calico P.S.

It’s always exciting to hear special education teachers discussing a topic they are passionate about! In a recent session, special education teachers were asked to describe their classroom experiences using their interactive whiteboards. Every single teacher in attendance had only positive comments about using their board and the related peripherals. Each of the teachers discussed how students are now more engaged in the lessons, as the teachers are able to make lessons on the interactive whiteboards more interactive.
When discussing the learner response systems, teachers love that they are able to get instant feedback about what their students understand. Many teachers discussed how they rarely use traditional paper and pencil tests anymore as their students are able to demonstrate their learning through the use of the learner response systems. Some students in Jodi’s class at Weston Memorial Junior Public School love using the response systems so much, that they will ask her: “Can we have a math test today?” just so they can use the clickers!

Hella at Millwood Public School now has her students creating the assessment questions for the learner response system:

Students now create multiple choice questions [for the class to answer] which become a higher order thinking task, as they don’t want to make the questions too easy.”

It’s wonderful to learn what a profound impact an interactive whiteboard and peripherals can have in a classroom. The interactive whiteboard does not replace us as teachers, but it does inform and strengthen our teaching practice. As teachers, we are able to use these boards to create more engaging, meaningful and interactive lessons for our students.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

One-to-one support integrating AT in your classroom: from the Itinerant teacher

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Special Education Referrals:
Our Itinerant Teachers Are Eager to Co-Plan and Co-Teach with You

Goal: To partner with schools to effectively use Assistive Technology within classrooms to support a model of Differentiated Learning.

In order to provide job-imbedded professional learning, our Itinerant Teachers are available to support Special Education teachers working in HSP and ISP classrooms. Our referrals are conducted within a teaching and learning capacity and focus on providing opportunities for co-planning and co-teaching. The referral process can consist of the following components:

A) Initial Meeting:

- Discuss goals for the referral

- Student strengths and needs

- Learning goals/IEP goals

- Unit of study/curriculum expectations

- Current practices/strategies – i.e. How are you currently using AT to differentiate instruction?

- The role of Assistive Technology within your program

B) Co-Planninghalf day release is provided!
- Half day of co-planning at your school with an Assistive Technology Itinerant Teacher
- Lesson/series of lessons created are authentic and relevant to your program in order to reflect what you are currently teaching and meeting the needs of your particular group of students

- One-on-one support is provided in order to foster collaboration and professional growth

“My co-planning and co-teaching sessions were awesome. I was able to build upon my previous knowledge to create a fun and interactive math lesson. I learned some new things that I will be able to apply in many lessons and I feel more confident in my ability. Planning a lesson doesn't seem as stressful as I once thought!” – TDSB Teacher

C) Co-Teachinghalf day release is provided!
- Our Itinerant Teachers will re-visit your school in order to co-teach with you

- The Itinerant Teacher can teach with you, work with small groups of students, or stand back and support you when needed…whatever works best for you and your students

- Release is provided to allow coverage for one of your colleagues to observe the modelled lesson in order to build capacity within your school

- Following the lesson, we allow time for you to de-brief the lesson with your Itinerant Teacher and discuss extensions/next steps.

“The whole experience was great. My students were fully engaged during the lesson and excited to participate! They can't wait for more. The Itinerant Teacher was very organized and knowledgeable. She was patient and helpful. I highly recommend this experience to any teacher looking to use their Interactive White Board in different ways” – TDSB Teacher

Assistive technology support so far this year has included: Promethean and SMART interactive whiteboards, the software and peripherals (document camera and response systems).

Referrals, with or without access to the IWB, for Read and Write Gold to support literacy, writing process and/or research, as well as SMART ideas - a graphics organizer program - have also been done with students, Special Education and the AT itinerant teacher this year.

To access this referral process, there is a one-page application form. Please complete and submit the Assistive Technology (AT) Referral Form:

or go to the AT team's public internal TDSB web site at:
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Send the completed form to:

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Assistive technology - IWBs supporting the Gifted learner

Interactive Whiteboard supporting gifted learners
The SEA Interactive Whiteboard group claim Learning Communities continue after the March break with sessions at Terraview Learning Centre and Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre and in classrooms. Many in-class observation sessions have been held in the days leading up to March 8th.
One learning community at Terraview Learning Centre includes those who teach students with the gifted exceptionality. The use of an interactive whiteboard in the gifted classroom supports differentiated learning as well as collaboration between peers as well as between students and teacher.
Jack Levy teaches students of the gifted expectionality at Three Valleys (grade 4/5). He hosted a recent observation lesson using the Learner Response Systems "clickers" during a math lesson.
The LRS are one of three peripherals that each IWB group claim receives as part of their LC participation during the year. Response systems allow all students to have a voice (either by name and anonymously) when asked a variety of question types (text, multiple choice, likeart scale, true/false, yes/no, sort in order and numeric). Teacher can assess student understanding, maintain engagement and collect data using the response systems in conjunction with the IWB software.

The "pre-brief" session, sharing the lesson, pedagogy and A.T. tool use
based on student learning needs and styles of classroom students.

Learning Community members Ms. Terry Lwin, Clinton P.S., Ms. Dolora Harvey, Chester E.S., (Host) Mr. Jack Levy, Three Valleys P.S. and
Three Valleys colleague grade 3 teacher Ms. Lisa Mildenberger. 

Strategies to"determine the unknown".

Observing the lesson.

An essential tool

The Promethean Board has been an integral part of the Gifted programming, and cemented itself as an essential teaching strategy in my classroom. The Promethean board helps my students to realize the academic and personal programming goals (Thinking, Awareness of Self and Others, and Research) set out in the Gifted program. Most importantly, it supports a differentiated approach where I can meet the varied learning styles of all my students. Being able to annotate over top of websites and documents helps me model how to pull the most important pieces of an activity, and then be able to watch students demonstrate that skill. Using the active response systems has made assessment immediate and relevant. It also enables my students inform me anonymously and instantly if they do not understand the concept or content under study. ActiView has allowed us to share and analyze our artwork, manipulate our solutions during the congress of a three-part lesson, and respond to each other’s journal entries in Language. Lastly, the Promethean board has facilitated the need for 21st century students to be engaged with technology on a regular basis. The Promethean board is possibly the most important teaching tool to support pedagogy of progressive teachers. - Jack Levy, Three Valleys P.S.


Teacher testimonials - The power of the IWB to support all kinds of learners

In my gifted class, I have students with different learning styles and challenges. The flipcharts on the Interactive Whiteboard enable key information and instructions to be easily accessed by students throughout the lesson. This is particularly important for the number of visual learners in my class. In addition, it provides the opportunity for students to refer back to previous information on a flipchart to clarify the information and/or the task when they are working on a follow up activity. Reminding students to refer back to the instructions on the Interactive Whiteboard helps them to complete tasks and decrease potential frustration.
 We use the document camera in all areas of the curriculum. It is especially helpful when we are sharing student work and want to compare it to the success criteria in order to plan the next steps of our learning. Students have used the document camera during presentations so that the whole class can see their diagrams and illustrations as well as models they have made.  The students love the response systems and entering their answers comes naturally to them.  Reviewing the results has set the starting point for many discussions.  It also enables me to easily see if students understand the concepts.
- Dolora Harvey, Chester E.S.

As a teacher in the beginning stage of incorporating the IWB into the gifted classroom, I find that being able to access global IWB lesson plans and resources at enriched levels to teach specific learning concepts most useful. My students were engaged in building models using IWB virtual manipulatives and tools and then comparing with actual models ( using cubes). I like using the document camera as a teaching tool for motion geometry where I can manipulate the shapes and various movements. I am learning to integrate learner response devices for quizzes and for gathering opinion. Thanks for everything. - Terry Lwin, Clinton P.S.

Building capacity

Not only has a Learning Community amongst IWB users been established, but teachers at Three Valleys - both special education and non-special education designated classrooms are sharing resources, strategies and student use.

At Three Valleys P.S. there are many partnerships which are building capacity in the school for
the use of the IWB with students.Teachers of gifted exceptionality students transform strategies using A.T. tools of the IWB: Avi Gold (left) and Jack Levy (right).

Learning Community model
Teachers, whose classrooms received a group claim IWB for the 2012-2013 school year, attend three learning community sessions, and have the opportunity to host and/or observe classroom practice throughout the year. Groups of teachers are organized based on exceptionalities and geographic location, so that modelled lessons show and use IWB tools which support the student specific needs and that teachers, as they build community can share successes and challenges in their similar classrooms. Navigate our blog to read about projects and updates. To stay current subscribe to our e-newsletter, click here.