While most teachers in BC were enjoying the first Professional Development day of 2016-2017, many SET-BC consultants were busy facilitating Tier 1 and Tier 2 Pro D sessions all over the province. Here is a sampling of what SET-BC consultants facilitated on October 21st…
In SD39 (Vancouver) a SET-BC consultant provided an introductory workshop to 20 teachers and support workers who used Clicker 6 software for the first time. The 3 hour morning session allowed participants a supported hands-on overview of the wide variety of literacy and academic supports available with the software. Visual picture cues, word prediction and the read back features were investigated. Participants also looked at making social stories and student presentations with talking books and downloading professionally produced activities. Using Clicker’s Quick Grid Wizards, participants were even able to produce personalized lesson plans and activities for immediate use with students.
Just up the hall at John Oliver Secondary, 20 more SD39 staff members participated in a full-day session exploring UDL principals in Literacy and Numeracy using iPads. The sessions included an introduction to Universal Design for Learning, iPad accessibility settings, apps for Literacy and apps for Numeracy. Participants also considered the use of Mentimeter and Kahoot as classroom learning tools. It was an information packed session that left everyone feeling somewhat exhausted but also quite excited about increasing the use of technology in their practice to support students.
A third SD39 session also focused on Universal Design for Learning. At the Introduction to UDL – Lesson Planning and the New Curriculum – it was standing room only as teachers were introduced to UDL through a very interactive session. Using the redesigned curriculum as a guide and the salmon life cycle as content, SET-BC consultants facilitated several UDL-based model lessons which demonstrated the many ways students can access information and represent their learning. Workshop participants were then guided through the process of planning UDL-based lessons incorporating their new understanding of UDL principles. It was a ‘universally’ fun day!
Across the Georgia Strait, SD64 teachers at Salt Spring Secondary learned all about the RW4GC (Read & Write for Google Chrome) extension. Read and Write is a literacy support tool to help students with reading and writing tasks. Read & Write for Google provides support tools for the web and common file types accessed through Google drive including: Google Docs, PDF, ePub and Kes files. Key features include: Text to speech, speech to text, word prediction, dictionary and picture dictionary, highlighting, translation, read aloud, vocabulary list, fact finder, screen masking, screenshot reader, speech maker, and voice notes. During the session, teachers explored using RW4GC in all file types and practised using its various features. A discussion on which tool they felt would benefit their students the most and its uses in the classroom were shared on a Google Doc. Teachers also did a Pre-Workshop Survey and Exit Slip using Google tools. It was a great opportunity for the group to explore a current and popular literacy support tool!
Out in the Fraser Valley, one of our new SET-BC consultants supported nine SD34 Abbotsford teachers as they learned the communication software, Boardmaker Online. Participants had some experience using Boardmaker previously and were introduced to the web-based Boardmaker Online version. The program’s online environment was explored with a focus on how it can support interactive activities and inclusion. Workshop participants also learned how to share activities and how to collect and modify pre-made curricular based activities. Time was included in the session for everyone to create their own static and interactive Boardmaker activities that could be used with students immediately. A timely workshop as more and more districts are transitioning from the old standalone version of Boardmaker to the web-based online version.
In Nelson, our Kootenay SET-BC consultant collaborated with SD8 district team members to present Universal Design for Learning and Technology Supports for the Classroom. Twenty classroom teachers and Educational Assistants supporting students from K-12 came together to explore UDL in the second of a two part learning series. It was an engaging day as each presenter provided a different perspective on UDL from their personal experience, explaining the difference between accommodations and modifications of materials, exploring the three guiding UDL principles and the ways technology can support those principals and showing how to create UDL-based lessons. In the afternoon, workshop participants explored Chrome extensions, websites and apps that support diverse learners. UDL principles were modeled throughout the day with strong visual supports, sensory tools and “brain” breaks, videos, discussion and collaboration opportunities and technology stations. Another great UDL Professional Learning opportunity for West Kootenay teachers!
In Williams Lake, SET-BC’s resident “coding” consultant treated SD27 teachers to a session entitled “Flipped Classroom and Other Trends”. This is becoming a popular Professional Development request as the workshop provides participants with a hands on KWL approach to learning about flipped classrooms, Genius Hours, Makerspaces, Coding and Digital Portfolios. Reports from the participants indicated that the workshop helped dispel some anxiety about supporting coding activities in the classroom and that the various activities were immediately relevant to their individual practice. SD27 is really getting a jump on learning strategies to incorporate the redesigned curriculum with all learners.
Not all the October 21st Professional Development opportunities were facilitated face-to-face. Another new SET-BC consultant led an all-day virtual workshop for SD85 (Vancouver Island North) educators that brought together Digital Citizenship, Coding, and the Redesigned Curriculum. This workshop looked at the new Applied Skills, Design and Technology curriculum and how it relates to computer programming and digital citizenship. As a remote group, they jumped into visual coding through games using code.org and also learned about other web-based coding resources. Digital Citizenship was explored through the lens of Mike Ribble’s nine elements as participants discussed if and how each element related to their classrooms. The day was concluded by applying the main topics to each participant’s grade level, classroom and students as they came up with practical tools and strategies to implement this school year. Sounds like we should be connecting Vancouver Island North with Cariboo-Chilcotin!
Another busy October Pro D day for SET-BC facilitators and workshop participants around the province. Thanks to all our SET-BC consultants who worked hard to prepare for the day and to the many participants who brought their knowledge, enthusiasm and engagement to the various sessions!