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Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Math Mission: Using Pictures to Communicate to Mathematical Ideas

Communicating in Mathematics

The Math Mission Project held its final classroom visit at F.H. Miller Public School.  Visiting teachers had the opportunity to observe and discuss a lesson during Mira Campbell’s resource period. The focus of the lesson was on using pictures to communicate in mathematics.

In an earlier lesson, students brainstormed using Padlet on the interactive whiteboard why it is important to use pictures in mathematics.


Students commented that pictures can support the understanding and communication of math.
“Pictures are helpful ….. some people are visual”.  Chelsea
“Pictures are helpful because it can show how you did your answer instead of writing (show my thinking)”.  Annabella
“Pictures help me because I can understand the information better and faster”.  Brian




In addition, students reviewed a variety of infographics to see how pictures were used in different contexts to communicate ideas.  They shared their thinking using the annotation tools in Skitch and the insert sound feature in Notebook.

Click on the link below to view a video created by Mira Campbell to highlight the lesson that the visiting teachers observed.
Thank you to Ms. Campbell, Annabella, Brian and Chelsea for sharing with us how they can use pictures to communicate their thinking in math.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Read and Write Gold project Kingslake P.S.

Kingslake P.S. Uses Read and Write Gold (RWG)


As part of the EQAO Pilot Project with the SEA Assistive Technology Team, Kingslake P.S. did their mock EQAO Assessment under the supervision of their teacher, Deborah Ferreria. The students used many of the features of RWG to support their writing of the assessment, such as read, highlighters and word prediction. The students expressed that they felt prepared for the ‘real’ EQAO assessment of the year.

A student uses the ‘read’ feature to listen to the reading passage.
A student uses the ‘highlighters’ to answer multiple choice questions. The pink highlighter is used to eliminate choices and the yellow is used for the best answer.

A student uses the ‘word prediction’ feature to assist with the writing portion of the assessment.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Using OneNote in cross-curricular contexts - Geography example from Birch Cliff Public School

One of the key goals of the A.T. team's OneNote pilot in classrooms throughout the TDSB is to support the organization skills and transitions of intermediate students. Through the project-based learning, students are learning the tools and skills to use OneNote for a research project to create a digital poster "My Favourite..." The success and engagement in using the tools translates to other subject areas at many schools. At Birch Cliff Public School, students in the intermediate ASD program, use their tablets throughout the day in all learning contexts.

Their teacher, Laura Butler, chose one of her student's Geography assignments to share as a demonstration of the possibilities of student achievement from her classroom.


(left) The Population Factor goals and success criteria for the Geography session. (right) the SQ3R non-fiction
reading strategy with Read and Write Gold tools embedded.


"This work sample was produced by a student who independently used the SQ3R strategy visual, Read and Write text-to-speech, and OneNote's question tags and tag finder, and drawing tools to read and take notes on his geography reading," said Ms. Butler. "As the student previewed the text, he created question tags to answer later as he read the text. He collected the tags and made a summary page of them, where he then made his notes from the reading."
After capturing a page of the textbook
using HP Page lift, the student highlights
key facts and adds question tags.

The student added tags on a number of his pages. He then used
the OneNote feature "Collect tags" to create a page summary of all of
his questions - with answers from the text. 

"So far, the student has been reluctant to use his tablet, and he generally has a hard time focusing, working independently, and completing tasks. However, the student remained focused for the entire period, worked with total independence, and after completing the task reported that using the tablet had made his work much easier! Success!"

Friday, 23 May 2014

Personal organization and independence: OneNote pilot project in Secondary summary

What are tools that secondary students prefer?

The Assistive Technology team’s OneNote Pilot Project focuses upon personal organization and independence in order to support the “Big T” transition from grade 8 to high school. This initiative aims to provide explicit training of OneNote software, with a distinct focus on the ways in which the tools/features of OneNote can be used in classroom settings to support student learning - from the intermediate grades, into high school and beyond.
During our final in-class training session, students are encouraged to create a personal list of the “Top 5 OneNote Tools” that will enable them to be their most independent and successful in their integrated classes.


Here is a list of the tools/features our students love the most:





Student can use their finger or a stylus to write, draw or highlight their notes directly in OneNote.


With OneNote, our students love that they never have to save their work and fear losing their content. Everything is automatically saved – alleviating student stress and anxiety.








Do your thoughts ever flow faster than you can write, or even type? For the students we support, the Record Audio tool enables students to record their thinking, instructions from their teacher and even reminders of what to study for an upcoming quiz!








Screen Clipping allows students to quickly and easily capture images/content from the internet and place it directly into OneNote. This tool supports researching and accessing content. The best part is that it also includes bibliographic information to source the website the specific information clipped from!



Our #1 voted tool that serves as the biggest “game-changer” for our students is the HP Page Lift App. This tool allows students to make handouts, textbook pages, and even the chalkboard digital by taking a picture of hardcopy resources and sending them directly to OneNote. These images can be placed in the appropriate section of a student’s notebook and can be annotated on. Students love never having to worry about losing a worksheet again!  

By mastering the use of these OneNote tools and features, the students who have participated in this pilot have reported increased academic success, self-confidence and happiness. With these skills – our students will be transitioning to high school with the necessary skills and tools to be their most successful in high school.





Wednesday, 21 May 2014

AT & Mathematics project concludes with sharing at "Bring & Brag" session

Our “I Have Assistive Technology in my Classroom…How Do I Use it in Math?” project wrapped up on Friday May 16th. Teachers who were a part of this Professional Learning Community came together for our “Bring & Brag” and shared their learning experiences with one another. 
Sandra Castiglione, Pleasant P.S. (Jr. HSP) shares her "favourite" strand of Math to teach - part of the LC warm-up.

Sean Kitney, Secord C.S. (Pri/Jr. MID) shares the Interactive Whiteboard measurement sorting activity his class explored.
Over the course of this project, 12 Special Education teachers co-planned and co-taught math lessons with assistive technology tools embedded in them. Students were given opportunities to deepen their own understanding of math concepts by using these tools to assist them in solving problems and helping them to communicate their thinking more clearly. As part of this job-embedded learning, teachers who were a part of the PLC were able to observe their colleagues deliver their lessons. 

(left) Cathy Watson, Stanley P.S. (Jr. HSP) shares work samples by one of her students demonstration his progression of learning following an Interactive Whiteboard hands-on lesson. (right) Abbas Hussein (Int HSP) shares the geometry activity his students explored with the LC group.
On Friday, the PLC came together and each teacher presented their lesson and reflections on their professional learning. At the end of the session, each teacher left with a memory key containing all twelve lessons as well as the teacher personal reflections contained on it.  Thank you to this dedicated group of teachers, who co-planned, co-taught and opened up their classrooms as part of this PLC!

Here's a video highlighting work done at the 12 schools: 

Monday, 19 May 2014

OneNote pilot project summary Tecumseh P.S.

OneNote comes to an end at Tecumseh, but the learning continues…

Tecumseh Senior Public School had its last OneNote in-class session. The students have become extremely proficient with using the program and their tablets and use them in all aspects of their schooling. Below, the students reflect on how the Microsoft OneNote software helps support their learning. 
Students sign in by indicating the best thing they have learned in the OneNote Pilot.

Keon and D’Angelo are busy recording their Community Clips video where they discuss their favourite OneNote feature.



                     Keon and Stacey discuss their favourite OneNote feature.



D’Angelo takes us through a tour of his OneNote binder.



Tecumseh’s top 8 list of things they learned through the OneNote Pilot.

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Some of the Tecumseh staff and students (from left to right, Ms. Taylor, D’Angelo, Keon, Mr. Christie, Stacey).



Friday, 16 May 2014

So you Inherited a Promethean Interactive Whiteboard, now what? Learning Community session review

Learning Community Session ~ Math and Differentiated Learning

Through a math 3-part sample lesson, teachers were shown various ways that the IWB could scaffold for students, along with provide a multitude of differentiated virtual manipulatives to support their learning. They also had a chance to explore the use of the Response Systems (ActiveExpressions) as a way to engage and motivate students, along with providing all students with an active voice.


 In the picture below, two teachers are sorting responses to an open-ended math question that were inputted by the participants using the texting feature of the ActiveExpressions.

Dual user feature promotes collaboration.
Teachers were then provided with work time to create their own 3-part math lesson, incorporating IWB tools and features. Below is a sample of one flipchart page created by one of the participants.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Math Mission - Using probability language at Warren Park P.S.


The Math Mission in-class sessions continued at Warren Park Public School. Jeremy Nason hosted the second in-class session in his junior special education classroom. The Math Mission pilot is investigating how to use assistive technology to support students to clearly communicate their thinking in Mathematics learning. 

One of Mr. Nason`s goals for the morning`s probability lesson is to provide some differentiated learning opportunities using a variety of technology tools: Interactive whiteboard, tablet device, paper and pencil, during different parts of the three-part math lesson. Throughout the lesson, students were provided scaffolds to support student math talk using probability vocabulary such as likely, unlikely etc.

This Job-Embedded Professional Learning session began the morning with a pre-briefing (with discussion and sharing). Next the observer teachers watch the teacher and students work through the lesson. Finally, there is a debrief, with more sharing and discussion about how assistive technology helped to support student communication.

(left) Prebriefing the group puts the lesson into context, sharing past experiences. (right) In-class host Jeremy Nason shares how to set up the self-paced learner response system flipchart prior to the observation lesson.
For this lesson`s Minds On, students used the Learner Response Systems - ActivExpression to go through an anticipation guide through a self-paced set of questions. Students anxiety and engagement can be supported since they are able to complete the questions at their own pace.

A student uses the Activ Expression for a self-paced assessment. Questions appear on the ActivExpression device and can be printed out for student access.

The Action portion of the lesson, student were given an open question to create their own spinner or set of spinners. Students were able to solve the problem using a tablet device and paper and pencil.
(left) A student creates an ``impossible`` spinner (impossible to get blue) and records his thinking as a sound file using the ShowMe app. (right) Students create an equally probable spinner. One category is WBT (white bengal tiger). They show a teacher what the animal looks like using a tablet device. 
To support peer feedback and math talk, Mr. Nason provided the students with sticky notes `feedback starters`eg. Please explain why this works... I am not sure if this is correct because...``

Feedback starters for the Gallery walk can be provided both digitally and with paper and pencil.

Mira Campbell, Math Mission teacher from F.H. Miller, used her iPad to document the morning's in-class session. Take a look at this detailed look done in Evernote

Thanks to our Math Mission teachers for taking part in this exciting morning. The Math Mission`s final in-class session takes place later on this week. Stay tuned and check in with our blog to hear about that lesson!


Math Mission teacher group: Jeremy Nason, Warren Park PS, Alia Erlich, White Haven PS, Mira Campbell, FH.Miller P.S. and Nick Hanning, Nelson Mandela P.S..

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

AT team at OAME - blowing a lesson "out of proportion"

AT team teachers present at OAME


Valia Reinsalu and Etienne Mercieca, two members of the Itinerant Resource SEA Team, represented our department at the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME) conference held last week from May 8-10 at Humber College’s north campus in Toronto. Valia and Etienne presented “Blowing a Lesson Out of Proportion Using Your IWB in a Special Education Setting” and showed conference participants many of the ways they can support special education students’ different learning needs through the many tools available on an interactive whiteboard. 




The tools were modeled through the lens of financial literacy with examples of lessons and activities to support special education students as they learn about unit rates in order to help them make more informed consumer decisions the next time they are presented with a store offer to buy a larger quantity of a particular item over purchasing just one of the item. Conference participants were shown how the tools of the IWB could be used to differentiate lessons, scaffold concepts, and engage learners. For example, participants were shown how they might adapt a pre-existing lesson by substituting images students in their classrooms would more likely relate with.  They were also shown how to embed audio to support reading and writing and how to add video to provide additional scaffolding of concepts. Overall, conference participants walked away with many ideas to try with their students!

 Adding audio and visuals to problems can support student independence when working at the IWB as a student activity centre.
Using built-in tools and features of the IWB such as containers, to solve problems. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Using Assistive Technology for EQAO: example at Ogden P.S.

Students in Ms. Kirton’s class at Ogden Public School have been participating in our EQAO and Assistive Technology Project this year. At the beginning of the year, the students were planning on using Read and Write Gold to support them when writing EQAO; however, once the students learned some of the software features, they quickly embraced Read and Write Gold and they started using it for all of their reading and writing activities! 

Student use Read and Write Gold’s speak current to have text read aloud.
Students use word prediction when responding to short answer and creative writing tasks.

Students use the study skills highlighters in a purposeful way.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Second phase of OneNote pilot project teachers share at Learning Community

It was a full house at Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre last week for the intermediate pilot project Learning Community gathering. Special education teachers from East and West schools across the TDSB are at the mid-way point for their classroom phase of the Assistive Technology team's OneNote project.

Teachers shared ways that the OneNote pilot has been successful in their classrooms.

Teachers shared, ranked and inquired about how the OneNote software and the tablet is supporting their students in organization and transitions. During the session teachers had the opportunity to work with their peers in various groupings. Here are a few photos taken during the afternoon.



(left) Coming up with their top-10 tools  of OneNote which supports student learning (right) Discussing organizational strategies embedded in OneNote and the tablet..

The entire teacher group's top tools list (more than 10) and it could have been a longer list!
One group's top 10 list created in OneNote.



Monday, 5 May 2014

Exploration Classroom for Assistive Technology: Allenby Public School


HSP Class – Math Focus

Teachers recently visited Lisa Sherman’s HSP classroom to observe how she is incorporating assistive technology into her math programme.  Visiting teachers observed the use of interactive whiteboard technology and Read and Write Gold software to support students to make connections between concepts and terminology in an equations unit launch.

Using layers to model the unknown (n)

The highlight of the morning was when students used the Read and Write Gold vocabulary tool to generate a digital word bank that included definitions and images to support the understanding of key mathematical terms.  Students independently read, edited and added additional notes to their word banks to clarify their understanding of terms through the use of Read and Write Gold.  Students were challenged when the vocabulary tool did not generate an image for the word “unknown” and quickly provided suggestions to each other about a visual that could be used (?, n) in their word bank.


Digital Word Bank edited by students.
In the afternoon, visiting teachers had the opportunity to review how the interactive whiteboard could be used to support students to chunk, comprehend and communicate mathematical concepts.   Participants then adapted their own lesson content using the assistive technology tools.


We look forward to hosting another Exploration Classroom for Assistive Technology at Allenby P.S. in April focusing on the use of assistive technology to support language in the HSP classroom.

Friday, 2 May 2014

SEA newsletter & OneNote session round-up week of May 2

Our latest S.E.A.side e-newsletter is out. Click on the image to see the latest news and updates from our team. To get our newsletter as soon as it's published subscribe (see top left corner of the newsletter).



Many intermediate classes throughout the TDSB are active in our OneNote project to support organization and transitions. Here are some pictures from a few of our classrooms taken this week.


Brookside Public School, HSP 

Ways students have been using their tablets in rotary subjects. 

Bowmore Road Junior & Senior School, HSP

Using Windows 8, OneNote, and the touch screen are just three things students like about their tablet.

Compiling research on "My Favourite" project including highlighting and voice notes. 



Birch Cliff Public School, ASD ISP

Independent research on "My Favourite" project.

Adding digital To-do tags. Students can check off boxes as they complete tasks.
James S Bell P.S., Behaviour ISP



Lanor P.S., Intermediate HSP

Jake shares how he uses his tablet for French class.