Recent posts blocks

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A.T. referral - another example of successful collaboration

Assistive Technology Referral: Another example of successful collaboration

What do you get when you cross a SMART Board, Read and Write Gold (RWG), Pixie 3 and an Endangered Animal ~ a wonderful unit on Global Citizenship!

Through the Assistive Technology Referral process, Erin Hood, Junior HSP teacher at Lynngate P.S. and an Itinerant Teacher with the Assistive Technology SEA Department, collaborated on a unit for her class.

Starting with the theme of “What is charity?” an interactive unit was created where students explored the idea of ‘how they can help.’ Using endangered animals as their focus, the class initiated the unit by exploring the idea of Food Chains and Endangered Animals by playing Interactive Educational Games on their SMART Board.

       Food Chain game                       Endangered Animals Game
Following this, students were given the opportunity to predict where different endangered animals lived. Using the Pin Page and Dual Page features of the SMARTBoard, students selected an animal, made a prediction about where that animal lived, then proceeded to place the animal on the correct continent. Revealed behind each animal was the correct answer. Students were then able to drag that animal over to the correct continent.

After this exposure, each student then chose an endangered animal to research.
They were given four categories to focus on:

1) Information about your animal (where they live, what they eat and interesting facts)

2) What is threatening your animal or making it endangered?
3) What are people doing to save or protect your animal?
4) What can you do to help your animal?

 Wombat video                                     Bobcat video

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Read and Write Gold project update and Tecumseh P.S. Behaviour ISP explores NoteBoard and more...

The A.T. team is winding down the 2012-2013 school year (and is beginning to plan exciting and engaging projects for the upcoming one). Among the projects that the Itinerant teacher team has wrapped up include the Read and Write Gold Assistive Technology pilot, Come back and swim with us - Mentor project, So, you inherited an interactive whiteboard, now what? as well as Learning Community groups.

Read and Write Gold Assistive Technology EQAO pilot finished
The second year of the A.T. team's Read and Write Gold EQAO project is finished.

Several schools across the TDSB have participated in our A.T. project to support students in Grade 3 and 6 Special Education classes to prepare for writing the Education Quality Accountability Office's province-wide exam. The project supported students and teachers in the use of Read and Write Gold tools when writing the Assistive Technology version of the EQAO test.

Using dual screens and Read and Write Gold word prediction tool.

Hillmount Public School grade 6 HSP class was one of the pilot participants. In the following sound files, a student explains how he is using Read and Write Gold during a practice session.

Multiple choice

Word prediction

Learning Community Job-Embedded Professional Learning in an Intermediate Behaviour ISP at Tecumseh P.S.

A number of teachers co-plan and co-teach with their LC itinerant teacher as part of the year-long professional development when incorporating the interactive whiteboard in their Special Education classroom. During a recent in-class session at Tecumseh P.S., Miriam Taylor's Intermediate Behaviour ISP class explored stating an opinion and creating an evidence-supported persuasive essay using assistive technology software and the Interactive Whiteboard to scaffold the entire writing process.

Should Hugging be allowed in schools?

Generating ideas
As a way to begin brainstorming ideas around the topic of hugging in schools, Ms. Taylor first used the ActivExpression Learner Response systems and Promethean's NoteBoard application. The Learner response systems allow students to anonymously text in an idea or word related to the topic.  The NoteBoard app links the texted responses to the central idea or topic as responses are entered through a process known as "word seed".
Ms. Taylor discusses the ideas generated on the Noteboard. Students use the learner responses to text in a word or idea.
 The Noteboard app automatically links their responses to the main topic of persuasive essay "Hugging".
The Learner Response systems provide a means for all students to contribute to class understanding. The technology also supports engagement and focus for all students as responses can be viewed almost instantaneously.

Stating an opinion
The lesson continued with Ms. Taylor and her team teaching partner Kenneth Kalisch, leading students through the lesson to define, describe and consider the topic of hugging using video, images and quotes. Students were encouraged to add their ideas and information to various pages such as the pros and cons of hugging , using text, handwriting and verbal responses (adding sound using the Sound Recorder). The group also viewed a video of a recent news story discussing a ban on hugging in an elementary school. All notes and student-generated ideas were saved on the flipchart and put on the student share drive.

By exploring the topic of hugging through a number of lenses,
students are able to form a position on whether or not hugging should be
allowed in schools along with supporting evidence.
Organization of ideas using SMART Ideas concept mapping software

The students were given a SMART Ideas template outlining the structure of a persuasive essay. Each student then began to add content to the template in the whole group setting using tools of the IWB. Both the flipchart and SMART Ideas organizer were then saved in the Tecumseh Student Share folder, so students could use them as a reference and continue to work on constructing their persuasive essay on individual computers.

Students could listen to the sound files and revisit the written ideas to use as supporting evidence for their persuasive essay. Visual learners can see the structure of their writing using shapes and colour in the "diagram view". Each section is editable. Students can add their written ideas in each specific area. Along with the diagram view, the program has  an outline view - showing all of the text of the concept map in an organized linear structure. Both the diagram and outline can be exported into Microsoft Word for further editing and revision.

Concept-mapping software such as SMART Ideas support students'
organization of ideas in writing such as those elements of a persuasive essay. This is the diagram view.
Ms. Taylor also ensured that her students' first draft and revision stages are also supported through the use of tools of Read and Write Gold.
One Tecumseh P.S. student's sample - all stages of the process in writing the persuasive essay "hugging should be allowed in schools."

Friday, 14 June 2013

Summer fun with Promethean

Want to do more with your
Promethean Board this Summer?

For many teachers, the summer is a time to not only relax and re-energize but also to take courses and prepare for the upcoming school year.
If you have a Promethean Board in your classroom next school year, you may choose to explore ActivInspire and start preparing lessons or activities over the summer months for your students.
Below you will find some suggestions of places to go for support:
YouTube Channel
The SEA Team has created a YouTube Channel, “Tech and Special Ed”, where you will find short video tutorials on how to use the tools in ActivInspire to support the learning needs of students with different exceptionalities.  

Promethean Planet

As always Promethean Planet is a great resource. There are lessons and activities created by educators available to download. Under Professional Development there are short video tutorials called “ActivTips”, free online courses, as well as free downloadable manuals.

TDSB Key to Learn Summer Sessions
Key to Learn Training Sessions are available in the summer: July 2-4 and August 27-29
Sign up on Key to Learn for one of the voluntary summer sessions being offered for TDSB staff:

Promethean for Beginners: This session is the perfect session for teachers who will be teaching in a classroom that has a Promethean Board next year. Users will be encouraged to participate and use the board during the hands on training session.  If you are new to Promethean, or have only used it a little in the past, then this session is the one for you.
Promethean Next Steps:  This hands-on workshop will explore additional features of ActivInspire to enable users to create and customize their own flipcharts to meet the needs of their students.

Participants registering for these sessions should have access to a Promethean Board in their school next year.

Stay tuned: The A.T. team has two more posts before we conclude our publications for the summer.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

June newsletter now available, free summer courses for parents and Learn 360

June S.E.A.side newsletter now available
June's S.E.A. side newsletter is now available. Get the most recent edition or read the archieves. Go to:  Visit our website to view the latest edition:
The A.T. team publishes a newsletter three times a year.  

Summer courses: OneNote and Read and Write Gold for parents

These August courses are available at no cost (provided by the Special Education Department) to parents of students with S.E.A. claims. 

Using Learn 360 to Access a Variety of Media to Support Student Learning

As teachers, we are always trying to find different ways to engage our students and to support a variety of learning styles.  One great way to engage our learners is through videos and through the use of rich images.

Learn 360 is an online media service that supports the K-12 curriculum.  There are over 9,300 video titles and 28,500 video clips as well as a tremendous selection of images and articles.  Many of the resources are from the A&E and History channels, as well as National Geographic and Sunburst Visual Media.

Videos are available in three different media formats:
·         Flash (use this format when inserting media into SMART Notebook pages)
·         Windows Media Player (use this format when inserting media into ActivInspire flipchart pages)
·         QuickTime
Through the use of Learn 360, teachers can use videos and images to engage students in their learning, as they are better able to visualize key concepts and to construct meaning.