@TextHelp innovating the world of accessibility in edtech: Part 1: Read&Write for Google

The road to learning


I have to admit, the tools from TextHelp have me considering Chromebooks.  I am a big fan of the iPad for my LD students.  The built in accessibility and range of apps available are crucial for addressing a broad range of needs and building independence. Yet, TextHelp keeps finding its way into my Chrome browser and singing their praises.

TextHelp has been around for awhile as a powerhouse in the field of educational technology to support those who need accessibility features and learning support. Read and Write Gold the first foray I had into their tools, was a powerhouse desktop software. This software is available as a Chrome extension: Read and Write for Google.  There is a 30-day free trial for all the premium features.  Then an annual subscription costs $145 to keep all those features. If you don’t pay for the subscription,  you will always have access to their Text to Speech…

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The Wisdom of Crowds: Sharing Collaborative and Group Work among Middle & Upper School teachers

Moderators: Joel Backon, Choate Rosemary Hall & Bill Sullivan, Suffield Academy

“Groups are only smart when there is a balance between the information that everyone in the group shares and the information that each of the members of the group holds privately. It’s the combination of all those pieces of independent information, some of them right, some of the wrong, that keeps the group wise.”

James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds

As independent educators, how do we create fashion productive moments of collaboration without compromising learning? How do we function best as facilitators during the natural peaks and valleys of group effectiveness? What is the formula for helping our students and colleagues develop collaborative skills? Regardless of the range of our students, how do we design effective group work that balances the needs of overachievers with those working below their potential? Working in groups, you will share your experiences and ideas with colleagues from other schools. Each group will report in their their best ideas and practices, and the entire group will compile that list to be shared with all attendees. Come to the workshop prepared to share information about group projects you have have done in your classes and stories of teamwork in which you engaged with colleagues. By the end of the night, the participants will model the benefits of collaborative work and reinforce the adage: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

  • If you are a Middle or Upper School teacher who wants to learn best practices for collaboration among colleagues and collaborative student groups, please join us for this evening of sharing and help start the conversation by creating one slide of your best examples of group work. Please email jbackon@choate.edu or bsullivan@suffieldacademy.org for the link to become a collaborator. Posting on the Google Slide will make your work appear in realtime here on the CAIS blog.
  • If you have ideas of group work that you would like to know more about by hearing someone who practices such a method, please make a inquiry slide.
  • Please feel free to share other great practices from schools outside our CAISCT Network as we hope to curate best practices moving forward.
Posted in #caisct, Across the Curriculum, Best Practices for Planning CAIS Event, Collaboration Among CAIS Colleagues, Project Based Learning | Leave a comment

Elevator Pitches 2016 Teachers Helping Teachers

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Doing History Instead of Reading About It

At some point in our teaching career, we wake up one day and realize that education is about the kids, not about us. That was the genesis of redesigning a World History course that had been tweaked, adjusted, modified, and aligned for eighteen years. While the workshop title indicates a history course saga, the transformation that is occurring in World History at Choate could occur in any course in any department. Join a conversation about teaching and learning that aims to adjust pedagogy and curriculum to meet the needs of our students.

Posted in #caisct, 21st Century Learning, Across the Curriculum, Professional Development, Project Based Learning, Teachers Helping Teachers 2016 | 2 Comments

Written Mathematics Discussion in a Blended Classroom

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 3.02.05 PMHello!

I am very excited to share what I have been doing in my Geometry classes over the last year and a half. I ought to preface the whole thing by also sharing that I have turned my Geometry and Honors Geometry classes into Harkness classes. This means that students are already expected to discuss the mathematics that they are learning and the problems that they are solving with each other.

So with that in mind, I would like to share with you a few documents and the link to the Geogebra applets that they use to elicit discussion.

Examples of written discussion:




The three applets from which these discussion were based:




Here is a link to my presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zlcpF3vqIpx-PZtbvQswy8jakVSIS663O-h9fnyGfZQ/edit?usp=sharing

I look forward to an interesting discussion tomorrow! Thanks!

eileen mooney.

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Looking Forward to Learning with CAIS Colleagues on 1/25/16

We were asked to share our presentations. If interested, mine follows:


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Connecting Our PD with Elevator Pitches

elias-elevator-pitch-01The Commission for Professional Development is excited to host another great Teachers Helping Teachers event. We continue to believe that our best professional development assets are among us in our schools and state. Upon reflecting on this insight and reviewing past evaluations from attendees, the commission designed a new elevator pitch format to replace for the opening remarks. This new format will allow session leaders a chance to convey what is important about their session in 60 seconds or less. This large group moment will foster more collegiality as we will begin to make personal connections to a specific educator and topic, and attendees can pass along notes to their community if the topic is outside of their daily practice. We will post the morning of the event the final Google Slide Document with all the pitches, which will in turn be a fun archive of the day’s highlights. The commission wants to thank again all the #CAISCT colleagues for presenting at this year’s conference. Email Diane Brewer or Bill Sullivan w/any questions: bsullivan@suffieldacademy.org

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