Solutions for Learning Conference: Breakthrough to Excellence

Presentation Descriptions

Keynote Address

9:00 – 10:30 am

Understanding Learning Disabilities: How Processing Affects Mathematics’ Learning

Our 2018 keynote speakers will bring their expertise and experience together to speak jointly about processing and how it relates to mathematics learning.  Particularly, the presenters will outline how processing effects:

  • mathematics learning
  • the value of a ‘Learning for All’ tiered approach
  • the importance of student voice and self-advocacy, and
  • the importance of strategies to support learning, achievement and well-being for all students, but particularly for students with learning disabilities

The keynote speakers will also share the newly developed YRDSB (York Region District School Board) Math Waterfall Chart. All participants will receive this full colour, copyright chart as a handout.

Dr. Sue Ball

Dr. Sue Ball

ABSNP, C. Psych., and Chief Psychologist, York Region District School Board

Janine Franklin

Janine Franklin

Vice-Principal and Former Math Curriculum Coordinator, York Region District School Board

Breakout Session 1

10:30 am – 11:45 am

1.1: An In-Depth Look at How Processing Affects Mathematics’ Learning

PRESENTERSDr. Sue Ball, ABSNP, C. Psych., and Chief Psychologist (YRDSB) and Janine Franklin, Vice-Principal and former Math Curriculum Coordinator (YRDSB)

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: This workshop, designed as an extension of the keynote presentation, will focus on specific processing skills, the affects and instructional requisites.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Educators

1.2: Doing It ‘TechDude’ Style – Technology in the Classroom

PRESENTERS: Stacey Falconer, Halton District School Board Teacher and her students, the “TechDudes”

Stacey is a Special Education Teacher in a Self-Contained Classroom for Students with Learning Disabilities in the HDSB. Through her years of experience, Stacey has had many opportunities to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. 

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: This session will be a showcase of practical tools and strategies for both students and teachers; From online IEPs, portable anchor charts and messages to your future self to various apps and assistive tools. Stacey, along with her students (the “TechDudes”) – who will be making a special appearance and acting as co-presenters in this breakout session – will share ways in which technology helps increase student engagement, accessibility and overall success. These strategies will be a hit with all of your students, but will have the most significant impact on the students with special needs. The ideas highlighted will not only help your students achieve, but will make your assessment, tracking and reporting a much easier task. Hard to believe? Come see how we do it “Techdude Style” from the TechDudes (students) themselves and pick up some ideas you can begin using right away.

1.3 –  Reading Rocks in Halton and the Use of Therapy Dogs in Niagara

PRESENTERS: Dr. John McNamara, Ph.D, Department Chair and Professor, Brock University & Hilary Scruton

Dr. John McNamara is a Professor at Brock University. He studies children and youth with reading disabilities. He has published numerous articles and presented internationally about the most effective ways to support and motivate vulnerable readers. John and his colleagues have established the Research Institute for Learning Differences at Brock University. John has partnered with the LDA Halton to implement and study the “Reading Rocks” Program for the past several years throughout Halton – an incredible program that is designed to support and motivate vulnerable readers. 

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: This presentation will include an overview of the Reading Rocks program and the process of how this was implemented and studied across the Halton region. Reading Rocks is similar to traditional reading programs in that instructors’ focus on essential component skills required for teaching children how to read; however, the program is unique as it also uses motivational tactics to engage children’s self-regulated learning. In this presentation, John will explore how Reading Rocks not only affects the academic achievement of children with learning disabilities but also how such a high-powered environment can shape children’s neural connections. John will also discuss how therapy dogs have been used in Reading Rocks throughout the Niagara area and highlight the successes of this unique program.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Educators, Educational Assistants, Consultants, Parents

1.4 – Phonological Awareness and Incorporating Multisensory Instruction

PRESENTER: Liisa Freure, M. Ed, OCT, Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE), Certified Dyslexia Therapist 

Liisa Freure has over 25 years of experience in the field of education. She is a former elementary school teacher in Toronto and received her Masters of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto. Liisa’s initial interest in research-based interventions for at-risk students began when traditional methods of instruction did not seem to work for some students. Then, after two of her own three children exhibited early signs of dyslexia, Liisa began to learn all that she could about strategies for intervention and remediation. This led her to go beyond her Special Education Training, to become certified as an education advocate and a Fellow (AOGPE). In addition, Liisa is trained in Structured Word Inquiry and continues to expand and enrich her understanding of language. Liisa now runs Fundamental Learning, a private educational consulting and tutoring practice for students of all ages, and trains parents, teachers, and other professionals in Structured Literacy. She has been actively involved with the Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association since 2007 and has served in various roles for the Association, including President.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: There is an abundance of research on the importance of Phonological Awareness and its role in the development of word-level reading skills. Phonological Awareness refers to the ability to attend to the phonological structure (sounds) of language, or how oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated. It has been shown that lack of phonemic awareness is often associated with difficulty in learning to read and new research by David Kilpatrick indicates that advanced phonemic awareness is critical to becoming a fluent reader. The good news is that phonological awareness can be developed though carefully planned instruction starting at a young age.

The focus of this session will be:

  • phonological and phonemic awareness
  • how phonological awareness can impact development of reading and writing skills
  • the various skills and tasks associated with phonological awareness on a continuum
  • strategies to teach phonological awareness

Target Audience: Consultants, Special Education Teachers, Classroom Teachers

Breakout Session 2

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

2.1 – Activated Learning Using Executive Functioning to Reinvigorate Self-Regulated Learning in Instruction, Assessment and Feedback

PRESENTERLaurie Faith, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto, OISE

Laurie is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto, specializing in Applied Psychology and Human Development.  The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto is Canada’s only all-graduate institute of teaching, learning and research, located in Toronto, Ontario.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: To be successful in the future, all students, including those with learning disabilities, need resilience, learning skills, and dynamic 21C competency. During this session Laurie will review self-regulated learning, resilience, and EFs, and show you how to build them in your daily instruction, feedback, and assessment practice. Teachers, grab a second cup of coffee, and get ready to talk about the real problems of real classrooms. We’ll write, reflect, and discuss together, and practice using new approaches.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Educators, Educational Assistants

2.2- Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities Through Technology in the Mathematics Classroom

PRESENTER: Jennifer Hearn and Candide Dovey

Jennifer Hearn has taught students with learning differences throughout her career with the Upper Grand District School Board and the Ministry of Education.  Her experience as a SERT (Special Education Teacher) and her current role as Resource Services Consultant at the Trillium Demonstration School, have provided many opportunities to support staff development, leadership, and collaboration in schools across Ontario. She is also a recipient of the 2016 Ministry of Education Amethyst Award for Integrated Curriculum Team.

Candide Dovey is a Special Education Consultant with the Toronto District School Board. She is currently completing her Masters of Education in 21st Century Teaching and Learning at the University of Prince Edward Island.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: Students with learning disabilities often struggle with communication – in both receiving information and expressing their knowledge and understanding. Effective communication in the mathematics classroom can be an area of significant difficulty. This presentation will review how technology can be used to support a student with a learning disability in the mathematics classroom. Participants will experience a supportive and collaborative digital environment, with a focus on project-based learning and the flipped classroom. The presentation will also explore apps and extensions (e.g. G Suite, Google Draw, Aurasma, etc.) that support learning and communication in the mathematics classroom.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Special Education Teachers, Classroom Teachers

2.3 – Improving Numeracy Skills Through the Use of Infographics

PRESENTER: Heather Perry, Trillium Provincial and Demonstration School

Heather is a Special Education Teacher at Trillium Provincial and Demonstration School in Milton. Trillium’s specific focus on teaching students academic and self-advocacy skills and specialized approach for children with learning disabilities focuses on what they will need to be successful in their home schools and communities.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: This workshop will focus on the use of infographics to raise numeracy awareness in order to expose students to the language of numeracy (EQAO specifically) and promote engagement. It will also include a brief introduction to creating your own infographics using free websites.

Target Audience: Educators, Educational Assistants

2.4: Understanding Learning Disabilities and Mental Health

PRESENTER: Hayley Stinson, Child and Family Clinician at the Child Development Institute  

Hayley Stinson is a registered social worker who works as a Child and Family Clinician and a Community Education and Engagement Facilitator with the Integra Program at the Child Development Institute. The Integra Program specializes in providing mental health services to children and youth with LDs and co-occurring mental health issues (LDMH). Hayley received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. Hayley currently provides education and training to caregivers, educators, students, professionals and community members to support children and youth with LDMH. Hayley also provides individual, family and group therapy.  

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: In this workshop participants will explore the connection between learning disabilities (LDs) and mental health and gain an understanding of anxiety and depression, when to be concerned, approaches to treatment, and strategies to support children and youth with LDs.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Itinerant Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Classroom Teachers, Parents

 

Breakout Session 3

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

3.1: Activated Learning Using Executive Functioning to Reinvigorate Self-Regulated Learning in Instruction, Assessment and Feedback (repeat session)

PRESENTER: Laurie Faith, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto, OISE

Laurie is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto, specializing in Applied Psychology and Human Development.  The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto is Canada’s only all-graduate institute of teaching, learning and research, located in Toronto, Ontario.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: To be successful in the future, all students, including those with learning disabilities, need resilience, learning skills, and dynamic 21C competency. During this session Laurie will review self-regulated learning, resilience, and EFs, and show you how to build them in your daily instruction, feedback, and assessment practice. Teachers, grab a second cup of coffee, and get ready to talk about the real problems of real classrooms. We’ll write, reflect, and discuss together, and practice using new approaches.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Educators, Educational Assistants

3.2 – Keeping Doors Open: Transitions, Pathways and Student Success

PRESENTERS: Diana Alvaro-Cannon and Jennifer Hearn, Trillium Provincial Demonstration School

Diana is the System Curriculum Coordinator for the Provincial and Demonstration Schools at the Ministry of Education.

Jennifer Hearn has taught students with learning differences throughout her career with the Upper Grand District School Board and the Ministry of Education.  Her experience as a SERT (Special Education Teacher) and her current role as Resource Services Consultant at the Trillium Demonstration School, have provided many opportunities to support staff development, leadership, and collaboration in schools across Ontario. She is also a recipient of the 2016 Ministry of Education Amethyst Award for Integrated Curriculum Team.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: This Comprehensive Workshop, designed for Teachers will focus on the following objectives:

  • Deepen our understanding of the connections between modified programming and student learning pathways
  • Explore foundational Ministry of Education documents
  • Learn how to support student success by using the Ministry of Education Career and Life Planning Framework

TARGET AUDIENCE: Consultants, Special Education Teachers, Classroom Teachers

3.3 – Nocturne: Gamified Learning for Engagement, Community and Improved Literacy

PRESENTER: Kevin Pickett, Special Education Teacher, Trillium Provincial Demonstration School

Kevin Pickett is an author and educator with the District School Board of Niagara. For the last two years, he’s been on loan to the Trillium Provincial Demonstration School in Milton where he teaches the Empower reading program and facilitates Nocturne, a school-wide gamification program, which he also invented.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: There is a crisis of engagement, not just in education but in all of modern society and the source of this problem is likely in your pocket at this very moment. Thankfully, this device, and what it contains, is also the solution. People spend 3 billion hours a week on games, many of which offer random rewards for the completion of trivial and sometimes even tedious tasks. The gaming industry has known for years how to motivate users to return, again and again, to a product through point tracking and rewards systems. Fortunately, the same, intense motivation can be tapped into for educational purposes. Learn how to apply the principles of gaming in your lessons and watch how even the most disengaged students suddenly emerge as your most motivated pupils.

Target Audience: Consultants, Educators

 

3.4 – A Practical Approach to Universal Design for Learning

PRESENTER: Darla Benton Kearney, MAUniversal Design for Learning Curriculum Consultant, Mohawk College

For 12 years Darla Benton Kearney supported students with disabilities in the Accessible Learning Services department at Mohawk College. As a passionate advocate for accessible and inclusive learning, in 2016, she became the Universal Design for Learning Curriculum Consultant tasked with college-wide UDL implementation in support of all learners.

PRESENTATION DESCRIPTION: Universal design for learning (UDL) has the capacity to create accessible and inclusive learning environments for all learners. This session will explain the fundamental elements of UDL, including benefits, while discussing practical approaches to implementation and implementation planning. Attendees are invited to learn about the ‘superb successes’ and ‘fantastic failures’ of UDL implementation at Mohawk College, along with the applicable lessons learned for elementary and secondary school classrooms. For this interactive and collaborative session, participants are encouraged to bring their UDL-related questions and ideas!

Target Audience: Educators, Educational Assistants