Bridges News — Events


MEville to WEville Success Stories from Alberta 0

As part of an ongoing literacy initiative, Literacy for All -- A Community of Practice, Alberta teachers are sharing their experiences with MEville to WEville on a publicly readable Wiki. [caption id="attachment_900" align="aligncenter" width="546"]Complete Meville to Weville with (from L to R) core books for young students, extension book for older students and the Literacy Starters titles with computer versions. Complete MEville to WEville with (from L to R) core books for young students, extension book for older students and the Literacy Starters titles with computer versions for mid-high school students.[/caption] "We learned that ALL students can learn literacy skills through comprehensive literacy instruction in inclusive classrooms when we use the right supports and modifications," wrote one teacher. "The kids are really responding well and the lessons are so well laid out," writes another Individual Support Program Teacher.  "I am feeling very optimistic and I think this resource will prove to be a great addition to my classroom." Two years ago Alberta began their  the Literacy for All project, whose goal was to:
"enhance teacher capacity to meet the literacy and communication needs of Grade 1-6 students with significant disabilities."
The deployment of MEville to WEville -- a research based literacy and communication curriculum for students with moderate to severe disabilities -- was a big part of the initiative.   Designed to build a classroom community that promotes a sense of belonging, each of the three units -- Me, My Family, My School -- offers students literacy and face-to-face communication teaching about themselves, their home life, and their school community. For older learners at an emerging literacy level, there is a version of MEville to WEville incorporating the Literacy Starters supported books for older readers  as core texts. Over 20 schools across the province are participating and Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) is coordinating and supporting the project.
Writing Stories
"OK guy, you have 15 minutes of free time.  Chose your activity." "Will you help me write a story?" Are you serious?  Could I be more proud? Students who couldn't identify what they saw in a picture a few months ago, can now gather information, share and organize it and turn it into a coherent story.  With characters.  And action.  And a title!" --Alberta teacher in Literacy for All project using MEville to WEville.
With stories like these, it is not surprising Alberta Education is extending and expanding the Literacy for All project this year. Alberta also implemented a project that addressed mathematics teaching for students with mild to severe disabilities using the Equals curriculum also from Ablenet.  Stay tune for a Wiki sharing their learnings from this project. Along with the great blogs out of BC about their SOLO project, the Literacy for All Wiki suggests that the trend to share strategies that work on-line is no fad. The Literacy for All Wiki has implementation ideas, success stories, adaptations of the Four Block literacy model (that MEville to WEville is based on), assessment strategies and more. To take a look at MEville to WEville for early grades or the version with Literacy Starters for middle to high school aged students, contact a Bridges consultant to arrange for a demonstration or loan. Here are some of the comments by educators from the presentations archived on the Wiki, specifically about using the MEville to WEville curriculum.
All of the boys (gr. 4-5) participating in the program had great difficulty expressing emotion at the onset.  Thanks to the (MEville to WEville) unit on how we feel, they are all now able to give words to their emotions and have found strategies to deal with them! MEville to WEville helped my students:
  • Build confidence,
  • Bridge the gap between literacy in the home and literacy at school.
  • Recognize, read and utilize high frequency sight words
  • Progress in language acquisition skills
  • Grow emotionally and socially.
By using the pictures as their writing utensil, the students were able to independently put down their thoughts.  They were writing.  And once they realized this, they had instant confidence.  Soon they could work in pairs and prompt each other.  Could we BE more excited?!!! Due to the success of the program we intend to expand it next year to include 3 more students with high needs...  It has been a great success here and I would recommend it to all. [gallery ids="905,904,903"]

SOLO Unlimited for BC Schools Only $2400 Through PSAP 0

For a Limited Time, And a Very Limited Quantity.

The Provincial Software Acquisition Plan (PSAP), administered by SET-BC (Special Education Technology, British Columbia) is offering just over 60 schools the opportunity to purchase an unlimited license to SOLO for only $2400.  This is the full SOLO suite including Read:Outloud, Co:Writer, Write:Outloud and Draft:Builder and allows for installation on all school c[gallery ids="886,887,888,889,890"] omputers and take home rights for students and staff.  The regular price for a SOLO unlimited school licenses runs from just over $4200 to just under $5000 per school depending on quantity purchased for the district -- that makes a potential savings of between 45 to over 50% off. The offer is only available to K-12 schools in the province of British Columbia who are eligible to purchase from PSAP ( The offer is available till the end of 2013, but we expect that PSAP will run out of its limited stock of  unlimited licenses before then. Based on the success of it’s Birchland Elementary School SOLO UDL project, SET-BC has partnered with a number of classrooms across the province in UDL implementations with SOLO.  To learn about thes projects visit the SET-BC site .

LDCSB's educATe Site Launched 0

London District Catholic School Board’s  educATe website is officially up and running after a day of presentations and hands-on exploring on Friday Sept 21st.  We started this PD day with two hands-on sessions in a board office computer lab with about 40 Educational Assistants (EA’s). Then in the afternoon we toured educATe with about 200 people in a conference room at the Four Points Sheraton.   Myself and one of Bridges’ key trainers in the area,  Regina Saunders, brought 20 laptops, so a good number of the audience had an opportunity to check out educATe themselves. [slideshow] There was lots of enthusiastic exploring, with lots of folks visiting the site on their own smart-phone and tablet devices too.  (to get an idea of how an EA or other para-educator might use educATe in the classroom check out this 90 sec. video). Big hits were not only the training and support resources -- videos, tutorials and quick reference sheets – but all the readymade scaffolded books and worksheets in pdf files.  The Provinces and the other Social Studies themed materials were much appreciated.  One EA’s comments from the morning group summed up a lot of what we heard, “… (With educATe ) even if I don’t have access to the computer with the AT… I can still download and print stuff I can use with the student. I love that!” We had pre-enrolled all the EA’s, so they could not only check out the resources but actually download and save files they discovered and use them when they got back to the classroom. London District Catholic now joins Halton District and Hamilton Catholic as educATe subscribers.  Coming soon… York District School Board’s new educATe site. --Bogdan Pospielovsky

Bridges Announces ECT Training for 2012-2013 0

Bridges will be offering ECT training for the 2012-2013 school year in Mississauga and Winnipeg. ECT training has two goals. The first, and primary goal, is to facilitate an increase of augmentative communication use in target students. The secondary goal is to give communication facilitating adults (SLPs, teachers, parents, care-givers, para-educators, and others) strategies for promoting initiation of communication through systematic planning of activities and arranging the environment. The full ECT training is 5 intensive days spread over the school year.  Through video analysis of a specific client, ECT course participants put theory into practice and achieve long term repeatable results. For full details visit the ECT course page