19 December 2014

Spotlight Blantyre P.S. OneNote pilot project

As the 2014 part to the school year comes to a close, the students in Ms. Klayman's class at Blantyre Public School are just getting started with OneNote. As part of the AT team's pilot project, the students created their digital binders and had a chance to explore the many helpful tools available to them to organize their daily school work.

In their first session, the Blantyre students became comfortable working with and navigating their new tablet devices. Since their first session, they reported using programmes such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Read and Write Gold as part of their school work completion. Students also used internet websites available on the tablet such as Google Earth and linked to their homeroom classroom teacher's web-based sites such as bitstripsforschools or Edmodo to contribute to class work.
A Blantyre student shows his homeroom classroom's class profile on bitstripsforschools which he uses to complete his Media work. (left) A student swipes to navigate between different programs and apps on the device. (left)
During the past week's session,  students set up their OneNote notebooks and tried different ways to organize information within their new digital binder's pages. Ms Klayman's class used tools such as Screen Clipping and tags.

Tagging helps students to organize ideas, process and questions. This Blantyre student did a screen clipping from a web site. He tagged parts of the captured web page within OneNote then created a tag summary page. (right)
Ms Klayman's class also used the app HP Pagelift to make non-digital work digital withing OneNote. After bringing a reading assignment into their OneNote binder, they brainstormed ways they might be able to use this tool daily:
  • If you get a paper you have a backup..
  • Take a picture of your textbook so not to have it so heavy in your backpack.
  • Help me put my homework or notes into OneNote…
  • Art – can edit my art digitally..make it virtual
  • History – take a picture of notes
  • (chart paper) charts for Math 
A Blantyre student captures a handout about Brain functions using HP Pagelift.
(left) Capturing the page. (right) Editing and cropping the digital image. 
The group of Blantyre students brainstormed five ways that the OneNote can help them to organize their school work. 
When they are back in January, these students will only improve and individualize the way they use the tools and the tablet to support their learning and academic achievement.

16 December 2014

Spotlight: OneNote at G.A. Brown M.S. - one of many TDSB classrooms participating in the intermediate AT project

Our Assistive Technology OneNote intermediate pilot project is underway. Many intermediate classrooms in schools across the TDSB are learning ways to use tools in OneNote to organize themselves and keep a personal digital binder. Classes such as Ms. Le's Intermediate HSP classroom at G.A. Brown Middle School is half-way through the project.

A G.A. Brown student models how to create a new OneNote notebook in her H: drive using the Interactive Whiteboard.
In all four sessions the classroom teacher, an itinerant teacher and the students work together to support the students use of the device in supporting their organization and independence. (Each of our six itinerant teachers are attached to classrooms based on the school's geographical region.)

In the first session, students receive their tablet devices and become proficient in navigating the Windows 8.1 environment of both apps and desktop applications. In the second session students create their OneNote binders - the basis on which they create their personal digital binder.
Creating a sub-page during research of My Favourites project.
Ms. Le and students collaborate and learn together during session 2 of the OneNote project.
Throughout the pilot students how to use the various OneNote tools such as Colour coded tabs, Screen Clipping, tags, using Drawing tools as well as tablet apps such as HP Pagelift as they research and complete work on a "My Favourites" project.
Using HP Pagelift app on devices to make paper work digital.
Send to OneNote: A student sends the captured file - Project Outline of the My Favourite project - to her OneNote notebook.
For a reminder on how to use the HP Pagelift app, here's one of a number of the AT team's Youtube videos involving the OneNote project: http://bit.ly/139g9bN.

They use tablet tools and OneNote is not limited to the My Favourites project. Students find ways to use HP Pagelift throughout their day. G.A. Brown students in Ms. Le's class have found many ways to use tablet tools from taking notes in Music class to doing research and compiling bibliographies in History projects with themes such as: Gold in the Yukon.

OneNote pilot project phase two continues in 2015. Phase 2 also gets underway in the new year.

11 December 2014

Spotlight Curricllum PD session: Using the IWB to Promote Body Awareness for Adolescents with Developmental Challenges

Curriculum PD Session

A new Curriculum PD session on Key To Learn entitled, "Using the IWB to Promote Body Awareness for Adolescents with Developmental Challenges" was presented to a group teachers at Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre this week. This session focused on strategies and suggestions for using the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard to create activities to promote body awareness and appropriate behaviours associated with puberty. Participants were given time to create lessons/activities to support their student’s specific and individual needs, along with the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues. 

Two teachers collaborate on the unique needs of the students in their classrooms while they develop the framework for the lesson/activity they will create.
An example of an IWB container activity that was shared with the participants at the session.

9 December 2014

Job Embedded Professional Learning - co-planning and co-teaching sessions with IWB LC members

Job Embedded Professional Learning (JEPL) to support students in the Inquiry Process

Co-planning and co-teaching sessions are part of the year-long support for Special Education teachers who are part of the Assistive Technology team's Interactive Whiteboard Learning Communities. One of the six Itinerant Resource Teachers and the LC member work together to embed assistive technology tools and strategies to support students in the classroom. 

At a recent session at Arbor Glen P.S., the Home School Program teacher Monica Joshan and Itinerant teacher Valia Reinsalu incorporated tools to support junior students in clearly, easily and promptly expressing their ideas during a inquiry process language lesson via a picture book. The lesson incorporated a few pictures along with the use of Magic Ink, spotlight, and annotation tools to provide visual support to the students. Students generated questions and expressed their ideas using the sound recorder, which allows both the special education teacher and students to save and review ideas that are shared.

Ms. Joshan creates the lesson flipchart during the co-plan session at Arbor Glen P.S.
Slowly revealing the illustration on the cover, helps students find and confirm evidence. They answer the question: "I wonder why Oliver Button is being called a sissy?" 

The spotlight tool not only provided focus and attention, but allows students to engage with details of an image. They observe the body language and make inferences about what else could be happening in the picture. "What questions do I have?"
Often during the JEPL sessions, other LC teachers are invited to observe the co-teaching sessions, depending on the comfort level of the students.

4 December 2014

Using Read & Write Gold Tools to Support Students in Math

During an Assistive Technology Referral, one of our Itinerant Resource Teachers worked with Sharon Freedman at Chalkfarm Public School to co-plan a math lesson for the students in Mrs. Freedman’s Junior ISP Behaviour class. As they planned the lesson they talked about the tools available in Read & Write Gold to support students as they read and answer word problems in their math class. Together they taught the lesson to Mrs. Freedman’s students, encouraging students to use the following Read & Write Gold tools to support their learning: the play button to listen to the question, the highlighters to identify important information in the question, the calculator (which speaks) to calculate the answer and the prediction tool to help them type their answer.

After the lesson the class discussed how the tools in Read & Write Gold helped them:
  •          The calculator tool helped us solve math problems.
  •          We liked listening to the calculator tell us numbers.
  •          We liked when the computer reads things to us.
  •          We liked using the highlighters to identify keywords.

If you would like more information on the Read & Write Gold Calculator Tool click on the image below to watch our YouTube video tutorial.

2 December 2014

Interactive Whiteboard learning communities - using IWB software tools to support Visual Literacy

A number of our special education interactive whiteboard (IWB) learning communities (LC) had their second session at Terraview Learning Centre and Burnhampthorpe Adult Learning Centre this past week. Teachers explored the Investigating Images package from the Critical Learning Consortium (TC2) as a springboard to have students develop critical thinking and visual literacy skills through the use of images in the Home School Program, Mild Intellectual Disability, and Behaviour classrooms.

At the start of the session, teachers check-in by sharing and comparing their Promethean IWB journey. Here are a few comments grabbed from an ActivExpression text question:

  • it is great. one of my previously disengaged kids is now one of my top math students! 
  • i love my promethean the kids are very engaged
    it is so easy to use
  • i have been trying to use one tool a day
The groups then began exploring the use of assistive technology tools as a means to support student understanding and learning in the area of visual literacy using tools such as the Magic Ink. Magic Ink allows teachers to selectively reveal portions of a visual. Also during the LC session, teachers had a chance to use an ActivSlate for the first time. The slate provides another ways for the students and/or teacher to access the IWB.

Ms. Milne (left) from Alexmuir P.S. uses her slate to create a visual literacy activity. H.A. Halbert P.S.'s Ms.Valentini uses a magic reveal with her visual literacy activity.

An LC is a great place to collaborate and learn together. (left-to-right) Ms. Butters, Ms Melchiorre and Ms. Carey - teachers from the HSP Primary Junior LC. (right photo) Behaviour ISP LC's Mr. Stewart and Mr. Ivanov discussing the creation of a visual literacy activity using Magic Ink.

(left photo) Ms Maharaj from Dr. Marion Hilliard PS, (right photo left to right) General Brock P.S.'s Ms Angelevski and Ms. Higgins from Robert Service P.S.

The next LC sessions start after the Winter Break.