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Professional Practice

Illustration: Laura Pérez/Anna Goodson


Reduce communication challenges for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other exceptionalities with these effective and easy-to-apply techniques. Avoid limiting oral cues to words; instead add gestures and point to images that support your message. Some students may respond better when you approach them and use fewer words, others will understand better when you add their name. It’s always a good idea to pause, allowing ample time for decoding. Encourage non-verbal children to point to objects, images and use gestures. Ask those who can talk to add a verb, a colour or a name. And, always remember to celebrate student effort and success, big and small.

Mélissa Balthazar, OCT

Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario

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Provincial Test Prep

By Stefan Dubowski

If you’re looking for activities to help students get ready for provincial math assessments, check out A pair of OCTs with backgrounds in math, science and business launched this online resource in January 2016. The site offers EQAO-style questions including multiple-choice, true-or-false, and short-answer problems categorized by grade and strand. The goal: help Grade 3s, 6s and 9s beef up their number-crunching skills.

The system is available via computer, tablet or smartphone — where you and your students will see questions on relevant math topics. The site covers all Ontario curriculum strands, including measurements and geometry for elementary levels to algebra and linear equations for high school students.

You can use the projector or Smart Board feature to run through assignments and quizzes. Try the built-in questions — or enter your own problems — to customize the experience according to your needs.

One of the best features: students get to work at their own pace. Math whizzes can fly ahead to new questions, while those who require more time can take it without the worry of holding up their peers. You can switch to the dashboard view to see which pupils have completed their assignments, as well as which topics and concepts students (individuals or as a group) are struggling with. This allows you to circle back and provide further instruction. is a professional learning network, too. The associated Twitter feed (@eqaoquizzer) is chock full of math-related resources such as tips for creating better word problems and how to successfully shift the mindset of students who might think they’re not good at the subject.

Ready to test out this testing site? Access isn’t free but once you sign up, your students receive accounts for no cost. Special rates for schools and boards are available as well. Teachers can try it out for a week at no extra charge.