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Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Picture Dictionary Tool and Supporting Teachers in Section Programs

Read and Write Gold Version 10:
The Picture Dictionary Tool and Supporting Teachers in Section Programs

            The Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary Tool is one of the newest and most exciting features of Read and Write Gold Version 10 – particularly for students and teachers within low-incidence and ASD populations.

Recently, the assistive technology team hosted a professional development session introducing the Picture Dictionary to teachers currently teaching within Section Programs. At this session, teachers were provided with the opportunity to explore sample lessons/activities using the picture tool with both Microsoft Word and on their Interactive Whiteboards using ActivInspire. This hands-on session also included valuable planning time for teachers to explore and create meaningful visual supports that could be effectively implemented within their diverse program settings.
Teachers using Read and Write Gold picture symbols to complete an interactive sequencing activity in ActivInspire.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Mackie P.S. - You Inherited an IWB – Now What? ~ Observation Class

You Inherited an IWB – Now What? ~ Observation Class on Inferring

This year the SEA Department - Assistive Technology implemented a new project entitled “You Inherited an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) - Now What?” to support teachers who have an IWB in their special education class but may not have been part of the initial training that came with the IWB. In addition to a Learning Community Model that supported teachers through 4 half-day sessions that modelled how the IWB could be used to support their special education students through various curriculum objectives, the participants were also given the opportunity to engage in a co-planning/co-teaching session with an Assistive Technology Itinerant Teacher.
Margot McFarlane, from George P Mackie, volunteered for this opportunity. She met with the Itinerant Teacher and together they co-planned an engaging, hands-on lesson on Inferring, use the Promethean Board and Ladibug Document Camera. Teachers from the Learning Community were invited to watch the teaching of the lesson, along with an opportunity to pre-brief before the lesson and debrief afterwards.
The book “Something Beautiful” was selected for the lesson. It was introduced to the students by displaying it with the Ladibug Document Camera. Students used the various IWB tools (Pen, Camera, Keyboard, and Sound Recorder) to record their predictions. The visual and auditory support allowed students to convey their responses in a format that was most comfortable for them.
            The remainder of the book was shared with the students, again displayed with the Ladibug Document Camera. Afterwards, images of the story were used to help support students’ understanding of Picture Clues and Text Clues.
Reviewed concepts of Picture/Text Clues and Background Knowledge with visual supports.
Students used this knowledge and the IWB tools to make an inference.

                Students were then given a different part of the story, and in partners, had to make an inference.

Margot McFarlane (teacher) showing her student how to use the Ladibug Document Camera to capture an image. 

Student using the Camera Tool to capture a text clue for her inference.

Friday, 17 May 2013

New curriculum course for May!, A.T. team wins innovative teaching award & Cliffside P.S.: Importance of water project

New curriculum P.D. offered in May

It's not too late in the year to build your Assistive Technology repertoire! The A.T. team is offering two sets of curriculum P.D. later this month: the use of Independent Activity Schedules for students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental challenges.

Participants are to have access to an IWB and/or have attended other IWB training sessions before registering for this course. It would be beneficial for participants to have some background knowledge of/familiarity with Independent Activity Schedules. Registration is on Key to Learn.

Dates: May 28th 9:00 – 11:30 am Burnhamthope Collegiate Institute
            June 5th 9:00 – 11:30 am Terraview Learning Centre

A.T. team wins award

TDSB's Special Education and Sections A.T. team (Rosslyn Leslie, Joanne Mihaly not pictured)

The A.T. team, led by Coordinator Angela Scarano-Iuorio, received the team Innovative Practices Award last week during The Learning Partnership (TLPs) Roundtable on Technology. The full day event took place at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning on May 10. 21st Century LIiteracy: Leading and Supporting Exemplary Practices was the key theme.
Jeff Demacio, Literacy/Technology Lead Teacher, at Donald Cousens PS, YRDSB received the TLP's individual teacher award.

For a summary of the TLP's roundtable and related discussions go to:
TLP RTT or search #TLPRTT on twitter.

Building student leadership at Cliffside P.S. in the Intermediate MID ISP

Laurie TenBroeck and her students at Cliffside P.S. has enjoyed her journey with "Sparky" this year. ( Sparky is what she and the students fondly refer to the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard  (IWB) in her intermediate MID program.) TenBroeck and her educational assistant Terry Bronnimann have enjoyed the challenge of incorporating the IWB and its peripherals as accommodation tools in all aspects of their students' learning.
Cliffside P.S. staff Terry Bronnimann and Laurie TenBroeck.
Team co-planning
TenBroeck recently initiated a collaboration by bringing together Stephanie Cini, her school's Model Schools for Inner Cities Teaching/Learning Coach and A.T.  Learning Community IRT Valia Reinsalu to co-plan a culminating unit. The group designed and discussed ways to incorporate available assistive technology to support student learning along with the higher level critical thinking lens about the importance of water. 

The unit was designed to incorporate the "human diorama" that the students created together with an artist in their classroom as well as provide the students with leadership and presentation skills. Anne Barber and Brad Harley of Shadowland Theatre Inc. were supported by the Ontario Arts Council in order to join the Cliffside P.S. class. 

The goal: Other classrooms at Cliffside P.S. will be visiting Ms TenBroeck's class. In groups of three her students will lead a discussion of the importance of water - creating, organizing and presenting information using the classroom's IWB.
After a brief introduction, Ms TenBroeck's students will lead a tour of the class human diorama. Then, students would survey the visiting students - showing them how to use the response systems and collecting survey data.

Students will examine information collected and hope to use the information next year as potential school community goals eg. bottled vs. tap water.

The outside of the diorama about water. Students can walk around and then
inside the structure to view ocean biodiversity.

Step 1 - Creating the survey questions
Students co-created questions for their fellow students about the importance of water in their lives. Ms. Tenbroeck's students picked their three main areas to concentrate on  when developing their survey questions also using the response systems (drinking water, water sports and ocean biodiversity).

To activate prior knowledge as well as making connections, Tenbroek's students explored sounds, images of
a recent trip to the zoo as well as text and pictures (captured using the document camera). They voted on the topics of their survey using the Response Systems.

Step 2 - Designing the presentation
The students, put into groups of three, design their own introduction page to introduce what is important about water for them on the IWB and using the IWB tools including pen, type tool, background colour, images etc. The introduction page incorporates images of each student's part of the diorama and, if the student preferred, the student will use the sound recorder to pre-record his/her script.

The group intro pages (student names deleted for privacy). A simple page containing text and images to remind students which group they are in. Each group of images is hyperlinked to the group's personlized page
which contains each students'  response to how water is important to them.

Step 3- Administrating the survey
Ms. TenBroeck's students will ask the survey questions and show peers how to use the response systems. The questions follow the initial introduction of the topic of importance of water and the interactive experience of travelling through the diorama. Response systems are used to collect the school's data. 
Greater Purpose: We will look at water usage and the possibilities of decreasing of water usage or conversely, increasing water conservation (e.g. timing how long we run the tap for washing hands, always filling the sink for doing dishes and introducing a rain-water barrel for garden watering)," says Ms. TenBroeck.

Look for updates to this blog entry as more images will be available next week! (May 21, 2013).

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A.T. Team at ASET - group effort at annual Spring Conference

SEA Team at ASET Conference in Niagara Falls

The ASET (Association for Special Education Technology) conference took place in Niagara Falls on May 3rd, 2013. Members of the SEA Team attended Conference to learn new and exciting ways to support our students in special education using technology.

A.T. team group includes: a Coordinator, Technical Specialist, three Technical Facilitators,
six Itinerant Resource Teachers and one SEA consultant (not pictured)

Four of our SEA team members lead workshops at the conference.  Lisa Mast and Andrea Statton, both Itinerant Resource Teachers- SEA Team,  lead a workshop titled “Increasing Student Engagement and Differentiating Instruction in your Literacy Program using Interactive Whiteboards”.
Andrea Statton (left) and Lisa Mast (right)

Christina Mathura and Valia Reinsalu, both Itinerant Resource Teachers- SEA Team,  lead a workshop titled “Interactive Whiteboard Tools and Learning Accommodations: Making Math Mathemagical”.

Valia Reinsalu (left) and Christina Mathura (right).
Both groups engaged their audiences when leading their workshops and sharing some of the outstanding things we do in TDSB to support our students’ learning needs using Interactive Whiteboards.

To access the resources from the ASET conference including the Literacy Program resources please click on the following link: .  For the complete Math is Mathemagical resources folder click:

It was truly a team effort at the ASET Conference as the technical team and teacher team worked together to ensure the success of our workshops.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

AT team's new itinerant, ASET & Area at Earl Grey P.S.

 Welcome a new itinerant teacher to the AT team 

The A.T. team welcomes a new itinerant teacher to the team. Etienne Mercieca will be supporting the East. Most recently he was the Primary HSP teacher at Mason Road P.S. 
AT team teacher Etienne Mercieca
"I’m looking forward to learning along with all my colleagues about how to use technology effectively in order to support our Special Education students," says Mercieca. "I believe very strongly that these tools will help level the playing field in education for all our students."

 All together there are six itinerant teachers supporting the incorporation of assistive technology software tools to support special education students in the classroom - three in the East and three in the West. The AT team has a Coordinator, SEA consultant, a lead technical specialist and three technical facilitators to round off an even dozen members to support assistive technology at the TDSB.
AT team at ASET Ontario Spring Conference

The Association for Special Education Technology (ASET) holds its annual Spring conference on May 3. A few members of the AT teacher team will be presenting ways to incorporate the Interactive Whiteboard as an accommodation tool in literacy and in Mathematics.

The two presentations are entitled: Increasing Student Engagement and Differentiating Instruction in Your Literacy Program Using Interactive Whiteboards and IWB Tools and Learning Accommodations - Make Student Learning Mathemagical.
For more information about the conference go to their website: ASET Ontario.

Connecting Curriculum to Real-life at Earl Grey

Recently, itinerant resource teacher Andrea Statton had the opportunity to co-plan and co-teach with Jennifer Franklin, the Grade 8 Math HSP teacher at Earl Grey Senior Public School.  Jennifer strives to connect Math concepts with real world applications for her students, so that they can understand the significance of learning those curriculum expectations.
For the lesson, Jennifer wanted students to apply their knowledge about calculating area to finding how much carpet would be needed to re-carpet the classroom.  Using the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard (IWB), Jennifer and Andrea co-created a map of the classroom using the Shape tool and divided the room into different zones.  During the lesson, students were divided into pairs and instructed to find the area of their particular classroom zone.

The students enjoyed the hands-on experience of measuring their zone in the classroom; students used measuring tapes and metre sticks to measure their areas in centimetres.  Next, the intermediate students used calculators to help them calculate the total area of their zone.  Once they finished finding the total area of their zone, students recorded their calculated area on the Promethean IWB.

A Grade 8 student recorded the total area for their zone in the classroom.

Students displaying the two carpet samples.
Once the total area of the classroom floor was calculated, students were presented with two carpet options.  They used their ActivExpression response systems to state which carpet sample was their personal preference.  Then students were presented with the cost, per square centimetre, for each carpet sample.  The students had to respond and justify their answer, using their ActivExpressions, for which carpet sample should be purchased if budget is a concern.

This lesson engaged students with a learning task that connected with a real world application.