28 February 2013

Exploration Classrooms in AT & Special Education

Exploration Classroom – AT Focus

The Assistive Technology Team recently hosted an Exploration Classrooms for Special Education and Assistive Technology.

On February 22, Lisa Sherman welcomed visiting teachers to her HSP Classroom at Allenby P.S. Teachers observed three literacy centres that focused on matching voice to purpose and identifying the author’s point of view.
Guided reading

At the writing centre, students used a SMART Ideas template and Read and Write Gold to plan their first person narrative - written from the point of view of Harriet Tubman. At the SMART Board centre, students viewed a “behind the scenes” video and completed a video response. While students worked independently at those centres, Lisa taught a guided reading activity in which students compared a third person article to a first person narrative text. Visiting teachers were impressed with the facility and independence her students demonstrated with the assistive technology.

Video Response
SMART Ideas, Read and Write Gold
In the afternoon, all had the opportunity to debrief the lesson and to review the activities the students had completed prior to our visit. Lisa shared the success her students have had using templates in Smart Ideas to plan and organize their written assignments, as well as how she integrates Read and Write Gold and whiteboard technology into her teaching. Visiting teachers then had the chance to plan a language activity that integrated assistive technology.

We would like to thank Lisa for sharing her knowledge, expertise and challenges using AT in her classroom.

Look on Key to Learn for an opportunity to visit our other Exploration Classrooms in March, April and May.

21 February 2013

EQAO Learning Community sharing

EQAO Learning Community Session

Schools and teachers selected to be part of the EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) Pilot project had their first Learning Community (LC) session where they were able to share successes and challenges of Read and Write Gold (RWG), learn some more features of RWG to use with their students, and share some activities/assignments that their students completed using RWG.

                  Assignments completed by students using Read and Write Gold.

This EQAO pilot has been supporting 32 schools across the TDSB through both in-class sessions and learning communities. The in-class sessions are attended by both the students and teachers of special education classes to explore how RWG can support their reading and writing and to help them to become independent learners. There are three in-class sessions in total. The learning community sessions are provided for the teachers in-between these in-class sessions. Teachers within a cluster of Families of Schools/Regions (FOS) come together for this session. All of these sessions are supported by an Itinerant Teacher in Assistive Technology.


Teachers will have one more learning community session and two more in-class sessions with their students to continue to explore Read and Write Gold and how this assistive technology can support their writing of the EQAO assessment occurring between May 27 and June 7, 2013.

13 February 2013

Read Write Gold curriculum connections

Ready-to-Use Read and Write Gold Lessons
Are you looking for ways to use Read and Write Gold in your classroom, but don’t know how to start?

Our department has created a variety of curriculum-based lessons for students in Elementary all the way up to Secondary school. Each lesson focusses on a different aspect of the curriculum, and each lesson details how Read and Write Gold features can be used to support student learning and achievement.
Some sample lessons include one for Grade 1 students learning about community workers, students in the Junior grades drafting speeches to coincide with a multimedia presentation, students in grade 7 developing a podcast in response to a current events article and students in Grade 10 biology creating a persuasive report about the impact of an environmental issue.


Check out our print and video resources to see what lessons are available for your grade level.  During the year we post new lessons, so be sure to check back periodically.  We also run terrific professional development (through Key to Learn) on using Read and Write Gold features to support the writing and research process.

Click on the link below to access the print and video resources for Read and Write Gold:

http://zweblms/users/index.aspx   Keyword search: Read and Write Gold

7 February 2013

Tech and Special Ed - Our new YouTube site launched

Tech Tips for Teachers


How Do Promethean Interactive Whiteboards Support Student Learning?

These Tech Tips for Teachers video tutorials were created by our Assistive Technology team and provide easy to follow instructions on how to use a number of specific tools in ActivInspire. Furthermore, our Tech Tip video tutorials provide a conceptual framework for why/how these tools support the specific learning needs of a variety of exceptionalities.

Using the Spotlight Tool to Support Students with Learning Disabilities:

Using Restrictors in ActivInspire to Support Students in Special Education:

Using Restrictors to Support Students with Fine Motor Challenges:

Video Modeling to Support Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Using Magic Ink to Support Students with a Mild Intellectual Delay:

Using the Grid Designer to Support Students in Special Education:

Part One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu0ocTKZSnM
Part Two fine motor support: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS9JOyf2AgE

Using the Sound Recorder to Support Students with Developmental Disabilities:

Inserting Media to Support Students with Learning Disabilities:

Desktop Annotate to Model Reading Strategies for Secondary Students:

Using the ActivInspire Screen Recorder to Record Lessons:

Using the Shape Tool to Support Students with a Learning Disability: