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."

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