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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reinforcing classroom learning using the Interactive Whiteboard

Using the Promethean Board to Reinforce Classroom Learning

An Itinerant Resource Teacher referral was completed recently in a Primary Low Incidence class at Clinton Street Public School.  Classroom teacher Sandra Witty wanted to create learning activities using the Promethean board that could reinforce her traditional classroom learning activities.

The IRT Andrea Statton and Sandra designed specific learning activities for each student in her class.  One of the activities they created was a sorting activity in ActivInspire  using containers.  The student had to sort happy and sad faces into the correct box.  When the photo was placed correctly, the student heard a personalized reward sound that said “happy” or “sad” depending on the picture to further reinforce the concept.

Sorting activity using containers in ActivInspire.

Sorting activity to be completed at a desk, using a chart and copies of the same images used in ActivInspire.

What is great about this activity, is that Sandra can now provide additional learning opportunities for the student, by printing out the same photos that the student used on the Promethean board, and have the student do a similar sorting activity at his desk.

For more information on how to create a container in ActivInspire, check out our YouTube video:

AT TDSB public site back on-line

The Assistive Technology public site hosted on the Toronto District School Board web site is constantly evolving. See what new content we have posted by clicking here.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

FOS partnership in Read and Write Gold

FOS Professional Development Partnership

Deanna Cape, Family Of Schools Consultant for East Region 16 has established a professional learning community of teachers from Valley Park M.S. and their feeder school, Thorncliffe Park P.S to focus on the use of Read and Write Gold as a tool to differentiate instruction.  As a first step, teachers attended a Read and Write Gold Training Session. 
This past week, the teachers worked with Deanna and members of the AT Team to focus on the use of Read and Write Gold to support reading comprehension.  Teachers focused on how the vocabulary builder, highlighters, picture dictionary and fact mapper could be used to differentiate the reading process for students.  Following exploration of a modeled lesson, teachers had the opportunity to develop their own lesson to use with their students.
The mind map below illustrates the different curriculum applications teachers plan to explore in their classrooms utilizing Read and Write Gold:

We look forward to meeting with the professional learning community again in December to share the successes of their lessons.

Monday, 28 October 2013

AT team members present at recent ECOO conference

Supporting all learners using the IWB software tools and peripherals in Mathematics

AT Team present at ECOO

Members of the AT team traveled out to Niagara Falls last week to present at the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario's (ECOO) annual conference: Bring IT Together. Highlighting the AT focus of the team, the presentation, "Making Math Mathemagical for all using the IWB" showcased the use of the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard software tools and peripherals to support differentiated learning for Special Education students. 

The presentation modelled a three-part Math lesson as the springboard to use digital tools and multimedia resources in a way that is essential to some students and useful to all. 

A few key reasons why the IWB software and peripherals supports the learning of Special Education students.

Bring IT together's three-day conference, which ran Oct. 23-25, highlights the latest in the application of educational technology across the province. This year's conference was co-hosted by the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO). Along with over 200 sessions, key note speakers included Amber MacArthur, co-host of the television show "App Central" and Jaime Casap, a Global Education Evangelist ("Education is the silver bullet that has the power to disrupt poverty..") at Google, Inc. See the ECOO conference Lanyard site for more information.

TDSB teachers have the opportunity to attend a half-day session involving the differentiation of Mathematics using the Interactive Whiteboard this year. See Key to Learn to sign up for the December 11 session at Terraview Learning Centre.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Youtube and IWB LC updates

TechandSpecEd Youtube site update!

A reminder that we continue to add to our Youtube site. One of the latest videos highlights the feature of colour-coding using Microsoft OneNote - one of the ways to support student organization - a goal for our intermediate OneNote pilot project.

IWB LC Getting Started snapshot continued

We shared with you that we've begun our year-long Learning Communities in a previous post: Getting Started with the IWB LCs . These communities, for TDSB Special Education teachers who received interactive whiteboard group claims, are both student grade level and exceptionality-based. The AT team is supporting 19 different groups of Special Education teachers in the East and the West.

One of the goals of the year-long LC support is to focus on supporting teachers to create dynamic and engaging lessons using the IWB software tools and peripherals to differentiate learning for their specific individual students and classroom.

The Ropefish (group of Diagnostic Kindergarten teachers) share their expectations for the LC. They used the Learner Response Systems (ActivExpressions) to provide written feedback. (Answers from a text question using ActivExpressions can be word-seeded and organized into graphic organizers like the chart above.)
Part of Getting Started, AT itinerant teachers modeled ways that simple software tools such as the pen, text and sound recorder tools could be used as effective tools of differentiation to accommodate for a variety of student learners by providing visual, organization and auditory support. Then LC members had a chance to try out the tools on their own by creating a one-page biographic introduction.
 Walt Morose, teacher of a Gifted ISP at Jack Miner P.S. 

Samantha Bunting of George Peck Public School, shares her introduction with her fellow Intermediate HSP teacher LC.

Along with Getting Started LC teacher sessions for the year are: Visual Literacy, Engaging All Learners and Differentiating Math Strategies for a majority of the LC groups. For groups of teachers supporting the low incidence student population sessions include: Functional Literacy/Language and Communication, Functional Math/Activities of Daily Living, as well as Personal/Social & Motor skills for Low Incidence.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Getting Started - the 2013-2014 Interactive Whiteboard Learning Communities underway

The year-long Learning Community sessions got underway last Friday, October 18 at both Terraview Learning Centre (East) and Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre (West). This year there are 19 Learning Communities supported by the AT team's six itinerant teachers and SEA Consultant, for those teachers receiving the SEA interactive whiteboard group claim in their Special Education programmes this school year. Teachers are grouped not only geographically but by the exceptionality of the students they teach as well as grade division (as much as possible).

This year LC teachers come together for sessions four times during the school year. The first session is called Getting Started. During this initial session the goal is not only providing an introduction of a few Promethean ActivInspire software tools to support the differentiation in student learning, but also to begin to build the LC community of teacher-learners.

TDSB teachers of Low Incidence exceptionality students including Rob Lovering Spencer, Maryvale Public School use the ActivExpression (photo on the left) during the Learning Community session at Terraview Learning Centre. The ActivExpression (learner response system) promotes participation and engagement, including each  “student voice”, engagement and participation. (Photo right) An introduction page created by Sumithiraa Arif Ahamed, Victoria Park P.S. incorporating Promethean tools to support student learning (large text, sound recorder and images).

The Learning Community sessions have a large hands-on component. Home School Program (HSP) teacher Troy Shepherd, from McKee P.S. demonstrates how to use the Sound Recorder to record an oral response. This tool supports students who may have fine motor difficulties and/or written expression needs.

Chandri Gupta, HSP teacher at Knob Hill P.S. reveals her image using the eraser tool. Hiding and strategically revealing parts of an image is one focus and attention strategy to support student learning.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Supporting students' organization skills-Learn about our OneNote Pilot

The SEA Assistive Technology Department is excited about launching its OneNote Pilot Project. As mentioned in a previous posting, teachers involved in the Pilot attended a Meet and Greet session to receive an overview of the project and to explore some of the OneNote tools.
During this year long project, students will receive in-school training to create digital binders and to learn a variety of tools in OneNote to support organization and planning, both in their core and rotary classes. Students and teachers will also be involved in providing feedback in the form of pre and post surveys.
The first in-class sessions will be starting in November. Click on the picture to read about more exciting OneNote initiatives.

Here's a short video of a discussion between the AT Coordinator and pilot project teachers discussing how the goals of the OneNote pilot - as a tool to support intermediate students' organization skills - can help students' transition to high school become more successful.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The AT team's Read and Write Gold resources

Focusing on Read and Write Gold at Your Next School Based PLC or Lunch and Learn

Are you interested in providing your teachers with more information about how to use Read and Write Gold to support student learning? Consider incorporating a YouTube video created by the SEA – Assistive Technology Team into your next PLC or Lunch and Learn Session.
The AT Team has created a collection of video tutorials for educators. Each video focuses on a particular tool in Read and Write Gold and explains how to use the tool to support specific learning needs.

Learn more about the following tools:
Use the Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary to Support Students with Special Needs”
Read and Write Gold – Vocabulary List Builder”
Study Skills Highlighters in Read and Write Gold to Support Students with Special Needs”
As well there are videos highlighting the word prediction and speech maker tools.

In addition, the AT team has created a planning template to support school leaders to facilitate discussion about a Professional Learning Video at their PLC session, Lunch and Learn session and/or Staff Meeting.

Download the editable planning Template.

Meet the A.T. team

In case you haven't had the opportunity to work with one of us, here's the most recent photo of the TDSB's Assistive Technology team. The photo was taken last Thursday, October 10th in the parking lot of Peckham Centre. The team had just led a informational morning to the Central Special Education staff (co-ordinators, consultants, superintendent and administration) where participants went through a learning carousel - four different roles of the Assistive Technology team.

The 2013-2014 TDSB Assistive Technology team.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Ways to interact with the Promethean board - a refresher!

Ways to Access the Promethean Board…a Refresher

At the beginning of the New Year we
listed seven (7) ways for you and your students to access the Promethean Board:

Please refer to the Blog Post on January 17th for more information on these seven ways to access the
Promethean Board.

An eighth way to access the Promethean Board:

Some students may have difficulty accessing the
Promethean Board in traditional ways due to a variety of challenges. An
additional way that students can access the Promethean Board is to use a
switch. Using a switch allows students to interact with the lesson or activity,
increases independence and encourages participation in a group setting.

This is an example of a wireless switch called a Wireless Jelly Beamer switch and switch interface called a Crick Switch Interface. 

Please watch our YouTube Video to learn more about how
to use switches with your Promethean Board.

OneNote Intermediate Project launch

The AT team launched its OneNote Intermediate pilot yesterday. Seven teachers from six schools in the TDSB are involved in the first phase of incorporating Microsoft OneNote tools as strategies to support the organization and/or facilitated transition of intermediate students towards secondary school. Stay tuned to the blog and join the Facebook group at: to follow this exciting new initiative.
OneNote pilot teachers: revor Wong (Macklin P.S.), Wendy Klayman (Blantyre P.S.)
and Miriam Taylor (Tecumseh P.S.)

OneNote Meet and Greet session teachers (left to right): Shailesh Maharaj, Warden Avenue P.S. (7/8HSP); Glen Barbeau, D.A. Morrison M.S.(8HSP); Jeff Gilbert, Samual Hearne M.S. (7HSP)
and Aleem Remtulla, D.A. Morrison M.S. (7/8 ASD ISP) 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Intermediate OneNote pilot project launch

OneNote to support Special Education students pilot launch

The first group of intermediate Special Education teachers attended the OneNote pilot project Meet and Greet today at Terraview Learning Centre. The  half-day sessions were led by the Assistive Technology's itinerant resource teacher team.  As well, trainers Martha Jez and Dustin Jez supported pilot teachers to explore the OneNote software by having them explore an actual student's sample grade 11 OneNote notebook.
Trevor Wong, Intermediate HSP teacher at Macklin P.S. gets hands-on navigating
the OneNote notebook with trainer Martha Jez. 
This is the first phase of the Intermediate OneNote pilot. Special Education classrooms such as: Intermediate HSP, Behaviour ISP and Autism Spectrum Disorder ISPs are represented during this phase. The teachers and students will go through the OneNote journey supporting organization and/or facilitated transitions of the needs of their students. The project focuses on strategies of using the software to support student learning needs rather than the use of the software just itself. Click the Sound Cloud sound file recording of Wendy Klayman, HSP teacher at Blantyre P.S. making initial connections after using the Insert Sound feature of OneNote below.

One group of OneNote pilot teachers:
Trevor Wong (Macklin P.S.), Wendy Klayman (Blantyre P.S.)
and Miriam Taylor (Tecumseh P.S.).
OneNote Meet and Greet session teachers (left to right): Shailesh Maharaj, Warden Avenue P.S. (7/8HSP); Glen Barbeau, D.A. Morrison M.S.(8HSP); Jeff Gilbert, Samual Hearne M.S. (7HSP)
and Aleem Remtulla, D.A. Morrison M.S. (7/8 ASD ISP) 

More about OneNote and the pilot will be posted on the blog. Also click the photo to find information on the A.T. team's Facebook page:

Updates and insights are posted on the Facebook page frequently.

Have you subscribed to the A.T. team's e-newsletter?

Along with our weekly blog, we publish an e-newsletter four times a year. Subscribe to learn about other innovative projects our assistive tech team is up to. Use the link below to get our e-newsletter four times a year. (To subscribe look on the upper left of the page.)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary PD

No Access to BoardMaker? No Problem!

We have likely all worked with students who benefit from the use of visuals in order to support their learning. Visual supports or picture symbols may be an essential tool to support receptive and expressive communication, social, personal and academic development for some students.

Mayer-Johnson’s BoardMaker software can be used to create picture symbols to support student learning. However, not all schools or classrooms may have access to this software. In the past this may have presented a challenge…but not anymore! 

The Picture Dictionary tool in Read and Write Gold – Version 10 makes creating picture symbols easy and accessible. 

The TDSB’s Assistive Technology team facilitates a PD session entitled, “Using the Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary to Create Visual Supports for Student Learning”. At this session, participants were provided with lesson/activity examples of ways in which the RWG Picture Dictionary can be used for a variety of purposes and at all grade levels/stages of development.

Register on Key to Learn today to attend one of our upcoming
Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary PD sessions!