Past Webinars

The following webinar content was originally presented as live webinars with participants and has been re-purposed for use by teachers, learning coaches, school leaders and others interested in learning more about supporting literacy development for students with significant disabilities.


Sharing the Pencil

sharing the pencilIn shared writing, the teacher models and engages in guided writing practice with students. This presentation introduces two approaches to shared writing – the language experience approach and predictable chart writing.

The language experience approach can be used with individual students as well as with small groups and is an effective and engaging writing approach for all ages. It is a way of working on reading and writing which draws on a student’s own language and experiences and uses the spoken word as a basis for reading and writing.

Predictable chart writing is completed as a group activity and can simultaneously meet the needs of students at multiple levels.  For example, it helps develop very early communication skills in students with the most complex needs as they learn to make simple choices; it helps build concepts about print and early word identification skills for emergent readers and writers; and it also helps students who can read attend to issues of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 12 teachers)


Labels, Opinions, and Personal Stories

labels opinions and personal stories

One of the earliest types of text that students write is that of labeling. Through labeling, students can tell about the topic of a picture, who or what is in the picture, or what is happening in the picture. A second type of labeling could be list making when writers use short sentences or points to state their thinking. Another early text type is writing opinions. Students can have an opinion by saying that something is “good” or “bad”.

This presentation explores the use of these early text types and provides ideas and strategies to support students in their writing.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 12 teachers)


Descriptive Writing

descriptive writing

Descriptive writing can be a very concrete activity and an opportunity to build vocabulary and language skills for all students. This kind of writing activity can be done with a whole class, small groups or with individuals.

This presentation introduces description writing as a text type and provides ideas and strategies to support writing development for students with significant disabilities.

Click here for a PDF of the slides
(Audience: Grade 1 – 12 teachers)


Informational Writing

informational writing

Research has shown that students typically write descriptions about a specific topic (e.g., My Dog) before writing reports about a group of things (e.g., All About Dogs). This presentation explores how informational writing might be introduced and used with students with significant disabilities.

Click here for a PDF of the slide
(Audience: Grade 1 – 12 teachers)


Student and Teacher-Created Books

student-and-teacher-created-booksThis presentation highlights ten authentic writing tasks that could be used as a stepping off point for a student or teacher-created book using Clicker 6 or Tar Heel Reader. Information about Tar Heel Reader and the steps for using it to create a book are included.

Click here to read participant reflections on the importance of authentic writing tasks and the value of student and teacher created books.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)


Language Experience and Authentic Writing

4867792The language experience approach is a way of working on reading and writing which draws on a student’s own language and experiences and uses the spoken word as a basis for reading and writing. This presentation explores how the language experience approach might be used with students with significant disabilities to create common learning experience and co-construct stories together.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)

Click here to read participant reflections on using the language experience approach with students in their classroom.


Word Wall, Word Activities & Extension into Writing

word-wall-word-activities-and-extension-into-writingThis presentation highlights the importance of meaningful, purposeful communication in learning to read and write and connecting oral language to phonological awareness. Many interactive and engaging word wall and word activity examples are provided.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)


Self-Selected Reading

5651601This presentation explores the self-selected reading block within the four blocks of literacy using input gathered from the initial webinar and ideas supported in the book, Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks’ Way, by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver.

Click on the links below to view the presentation:
Part 1: Getting Started (Video – 7 min. 33 sec.)
Part 2: Building a Classroom Library (Video – 18 min.)
Part 3: Conferencing and Sharing (Video – 1 min. 55 sec.)

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 6 teachers)


Planning a Novel Study

9209311This presentation explores the use of a novel study as a way of providing enrichment text for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Learn more more about planning a novel study with your students here.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers)


Extending the Literacy Starter Model

435029This presentation provides an overview of the Literacy Starter model (a component of MEville to WEville) and looks at how this model can be extended to other texts.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers)


Part 1: Gathering Evidence of Student Success

1417551476Part One of this two part presentation focuses on Gathering Evidence of Student Success.

Please download the Emerging Literacy Behaviours Checklist to use with Part 1 of Gathering Evidence of Student Success.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)


Part 2: Gathering Evidence of Student Success through Retelling

gathering-evidence-of-student-success-through-retellingPart One of this presentation focused on Gathering Evidence of Student Success. Part Two explores retelling as way of assessing student understanding of text. The use of Clicker 6 as a software to support the process of retelling is highlighted.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 7 – 12 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels))

Literacy Assessment for Students with Significant Disabilities

literacy-assessmentThis presentation highlights examples of authentic assessment of literacy for students with significant disabilities.

Resources for webinar:
Literacy Bill of Rights
Emerging Literacy Behaviours Checklist

Click here for a PDF of the slides
(Audience: Grade 1 –6 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)


The SETT Framework
How Do I Choose Technology to Support Student Success?

sett-frameworkAn introduction to the SETT Framework developed by Dr. Joy Zabala. The SETT framework helps school teams to guide decision making around the assistive technology needs of individual students.

Click on the links below to view the presentation:
Part 1: Introduction to the SETT Framework (Video – 17 min. 24 sec.)

Part 2: Example of how a SETT might be used to determine appropriate technology to support a student. (Video – 7 min. 23 sec.)

Part 3: Developing an implementation plan and gathering data.
Considers some of the myths and realities of assistive technology and suggests resources for additional information. (Video – 10 min. 10 sec.)

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: all teachers)


Word Work for All Students

word-workThis presentation is an overview of strategies for working and playing with words for students with significant disabilities.

Click here for a PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 6 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)

Writing for All

writing-for-allThis presentation is overview of strategies for creating writing opportunities for students with significant disabilities.

Click here for the PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 6 teachers)

Supporting Student Independence

supporting student independenceThis presentation explores the following topics:

– What does “independence” really mean?
– Barriers to independence
– Building stamina
– The Paradox: Stepping back
– Building shared commitment

Click here for the PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 6 teachers but adaptable for all grade levels)


Literacy Resources for Students with Significant Disabilities

lit for all pptThis presentation introduces two literacy resources used by teachers across Alberta for students with significant disabilities: MEville to WEville and Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four Blocks Way.

Click here for the PDF of the slides.
(Audience: Grade 1 – 6 teachers)