21 December 2012

School Regions Special Education Partnerships

School Regions Special Education Partnerships

In addition to the PD projects and initiatives coordinated by the SEA Assistive Technology team, itinerant resource teachers are also available to partner with Special Education Consultants to co-create/co-present at Family of Schools Special Education PD sessions. During these collaborations, the assistive technology itinerant teacher and the FOS consultant aim to provide teachers with meaningful information on available software, specific tools/features and the ways in which assistive technology can be successfully integrated as a means of promoting access to curriculum and student achievement.
This term, special education teachers of WR5 participated in a presentation on the new features of Read and Write Gold Version 10. The session provided MARTS, HSP, ISP and resource teachers with current information on the software advancements of Read and Write Gold and its applications within the classroom.



The Read and Write Gold Picture Dictionary can serve as an excellent tool for creating visual supports for visual learners, as well as students within the low-incidence and autism populations.


Read and Write Gold’s Vocabulary List Builder is a tool for building vocabulary specific to a particular unit/area of study. Vocabulary charts can be digitally edited, saved and printed in order to serve as a quick reference guide to support students during subsequent written/oral tasks.

Read and Write Gold flash
See our Read and Write Gold flash lessons created by the A.T. team teachers for ideas to use the Vocabulary list Builder and Picture Dictionary and other assistive technology tools:

Curriculum connections using Read Write Gold.


14 December 2012

In-class observation session - ISP Autism experience

Learning Through Observing: An ISP Autism Experience
Through the SEA department, ISP and HSP classes can apply for an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) for their classrooms through a group claim. Along with receiving an IWB, teachers of these classes are also supported through Learning Communities (LCs) and Observation Classroom experiences. Further support is provided through our new Mentor Project, whereby teachers who were part of the group SEA Claim process last year returned as Mentors this year to provide additional support to teachers new to IWBs.

One such teacher, Sharon Smith from White Haven P.S., volunteered to support one of our ISP Autism LCs. Along with supporting the LC sessions, she also offered to host an observation classroom. Teachers from this LC had the opportunity to visit her class for half a day. The participating teachers came away with lots of useful tips, strategies and ideas for their own classes while walking around her room to see the ways her classroom was organized, watching the lesson being taught to her students and during the debriefing time where questions and best practices were shared by all. All teachers agreed that this was a wonderful and extremely valuable Professional Learning opportunity.


De-escalation/Calming Area (left); Sensory Corner (right)





Quiet Corner: Outside View (left); Inside View (right)






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Video Clip Sample on an IWB (left); Teaching the concept of arrays using an IWB (right)

In-class sessions are associated with each of the 25 learning communities. Below are a few sessions held in the East in a variety of school with a variety of exceptionality classrooms.

5 December 2012

Ten tips for Using interactive whiteboards



10 Tips for Using Interactive Whiteboards (SMART and Promethean)
 in your Special Education Classroom
  1. Keep instructions clear and pages clutter-free: it is always better to have more pages, with less information on each page, in an ActivInspire Flipchart or SMART Notebook file than to have too much information on one page

  1. Use large graphics and sounds to engage students by making lessons interesting and interactive.

  1. Include movies in your Flipcharts or Notebook files to aid in comprehension and to engage your students. You can download educational videos from Learn 360.

  1. Use sound: the sound recorder in ActivInspire or insert sound in SMART Notebook to provide students with verbal directions for auditory learners.

  1. Select appropriate font and sizes. The recommended minimum font size is 24pt.

  1. Use colour and the highlighter tool for students who need visual support.


  1. Use images available in ActivInspire’s Resource Browser or SMART’s Gallery to teach students mathematical concepts.

  1. Versatility: Use your Promethean or SMART Board for a variety of teaching activities (e.g., centres, individual instruction or group activities).


  1. Take advantage of Board Space: Let the students write big (you can always resize their writing if needed).

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel: Use lessons/ activities designed by other educators:

    Click on the text below to access the specific link:

    Promethean Planet

    SMART Exchange