So many exciting things have been happening with our students’ learning that it’s hard to keep up.
Updates on Intervention Practices:
If you haven’t recently looked at our Interventions page, you’ll be happily surprised there are new connected activities for you. If you need assistance, please email me.
Consistent review of your data reports goes a long way towards supporting student growth. It’s all about present and next steps – “feed forward”
Introduction to the NEW FAST FORWORD:
Get a sneak peek at the new and extremely much improved Fast ForWord set to launch in September. Yes, it has taken a while but they’ve taken all the active data from every site internationally, designed new features and tweaked out the old. Recently, I had a chance to see the new program at the conference and I think you’ll like what you see.
If you would like to get a better idea of what’s coming, please consider registering for the live webinar on APRIL 19TH (12:00-1:00 pm).Click HEREto register. Registration will also allow access to a download link that you can watch at a later time.
Time to celebrate the hard work and as always continue connecting strategies (eg. resilience, tenacity, reading) to authentic practices.
More information will be coming regarding yearend cleanup and processes.
October has entered with stormy weather (I think there’s a song about this..). And as we watch the leaves change colour and blow in the wind, we’ve been able to connect with returning students as well as get to know new students and staff.
This is a significantly busy month in Fast ForWord. Learning sessions and refreshers have started and again our Coquitlam partners joined us so we’re one big happy family. It’s great to be able to share and gain additional perspectives. And a huge welcome to our new sites starting out on this journey.
Reading Assistant has relaunched as Reading Assistant Plus. This upgrade includes focused word wall work (integrating well with our Words Their Way program), more stories, practice in fluency (one of the cornerstones of reading) and strategies to strengthen comprehension. We’re very excited that we can offer this to many more sites. Learning session for anyone on current and new sites are in the Staff Development calendar (Nov 2nd).
I always like to leave folks with a little bit of wonder… This is a TedxVancouver (2015) video of Dr Lara Boyd’s (brain researcher at UBC) description of the wonder of neuroplasticity. Now what questions do you have?
There are a number of assistive-type softwares that may help students with access to learning in the classroom. The following focuses on writing, reading, and vision supports. Most are free and can be easily downloaded by the student.
EASE of ACCESS: This group of tools offers simple word prediction through the on-screen keyboard, magnifier (for vision support)… Click here for instructions. Note the different ways to gain access whether you are a teacher or student.
SpeakIt: Google Chrome extension that provides text-to-speech for most web content. Has a range of voices and languages to choose. Options are available to adjust the speaking rate and pitch of voice. This is a good one!
ClaroSpeak: Google Chrome extension is a simple text-to-speech reader with word prediction, editing, proofing and speaking dictionary. There is also a more powerful paid app for ipads that includes access to pdf.
Rewordify: This is a site that I’ve written about before and is well worth repeating. (Click here for previous post) Any text can be pasted into the box and it will return a simplified version – very quickly I might add. One of the options deserves highlighting. Retaining the original word within the text, while offering a simpler form provides two things: increase of comprehension and increase of vocabulary. Sitting side by side, relationships between the difficult term and easier one is visually connected. As well, the integrated dictionary allows access to almost all of the words in the selection. Finally, the content can be printed and stored.
Word Talk on MSWord: Text-to-Speech toolbar is part of computer images (click on the tab, ADD-INS). This toolbar provides reading support as well as a simple word prediction dictionary.
Kidspiration and Inspiration(graphic organizer to writing): While this is not technically assistive software, it does have a sound recorder that can support memory or as an audio file embedded within the graphic organizer. The recorder will also show up in Outline Writing view. This provides a seamless process from ideas generation to written output. All sd41 teachers can have a personal full copy of the software for home use. (See our FORMS page for information on TAKE-HOME software.)
Kurzweil 3000: This software is the cadillac of assistive softwares. It will read almost any digital information (print, electronic, pdf or the Web) in clear, synthetic speech, while a dual highlighting feature adds visual reinforcement. This provides a digital means of engaging with text and supports those students who require alternative methods for accessing, writing and recording information. Click here for more information.
iWordQ-CA ($29): This is an ipad app that mimics a simple version of what you would expect from the more robust Kurzweil 3000. In writing mode, text editor includes word prediction, spell checker, dictionary and speech recognition. In reading mode, text-to-speech offers proofing and reading options.
Add language keyboards to Win7 devices – access other languages through added keyboards. Click here for instructions.
Do you have any favourites that integrate with reading or writing? Drop a comment in the box below. I’d love to add to the list.
Welcome back. Exciting things are afoot… This month is all about connecting and relationship building. Behind every one of those faces are stories waiting to be heard.
Changes to both our infrastructure and Fast ForWord content is going to make this an exciting year. If you are interested in having this program in your building, please contact me (there will be training in October). If you are a continuing site, here are some possibilities to consider:
new 3 day protocol with 40 minutes or 90 minutes available (*consider getting as close to 200 minutes/week as your goal for success). This may provide timetable flexibility to some sites.
new reports – detailing immediate achievement
Raz-Kids (our famous online support for reading fluency and comprehension) has changed its weblink and management look. New weblink is: kidsa-z.com (Please ensure that you have changed your links on class blogs and school websites.) This program is great for classroom teachers. Applications are found > FORMS