Long Story Shortz – Universal Design for Learning


we can all agree classrooms are becoming
more diverse there’s cultural linguistic social
economic physical cognitive diversity and more in the past curriculum was designed with the average student in mind but
research shows there’s no such thing as in average
student each student’s learning style is as diverse as his or her fingerprint every student enters our classroom with their own
unique set of interests background knowledge strengths and challenges when we use curriculum designed for the
average student we leave many students behind. What if we could design learning activities so they were accessible and understood by all
students Meet Anne. She teaches grade four at West Shore elementary. Recently Anne
has noticed that throughout the day not all of her students are engaged. She feels bad. But she’s not sure what to do about this. In the staff room she asks Beth for advice. Beth used to feel the same way. Last year
she went to a workshop about Universal Design Learning or UDL. now she designs her learning activities using the three main UDL principals.
Multiple means and representation, multiple means that expression and
multiple means of engagement. She has noticed a big improvement. Universal Design is a concept from architecture. For example….curb cuts. curbs presented an obstacle for
people in wheelchairs so curb cuts were introduced as away to
make public spaces more accessible. Turns out it helped others as well. People pushing
strollers pulling suitcases rollerblading and more. When you start a design concept thinking about people who have unique
needs more people benefit this concept is now being brought to the
world of education in the form Universal Design for
Learning or you UDL. Does that mean I need to design a different learning
activity for each student Beth said she compared to a dinner party last week Beth invited eight people for her husband’s birthday two were vegetarian one was gluten-free and one couldn’t eat dairy. Beth planed with all the guests in mind. Her husband requested Spaghetti. She cooked rice noodles. prepared a tomato sauce. and added beef to half. She offered two
different dressings with the tossed salad. for dessert, flourless chocolate cake Some guest chose vanilla ice cream. Others did not. (No Thanks) in the end it wasn’t much more work to prepare one meal that everyone could enjoy. Beth now plans with all her students needs in mind. She removes barriers for some students and makes learning more accessible for
all students. Anne decides to try it with her upcoming
salmon unit. she uses a smart board to introduce
vocabulary She sets up an aquarium so students can
watch salmon hatch. She reads a story about Salmon shows a video about salmon and displays a poster of the life cycle. students are encouraged to work
individually or in small groups. She makes a list of
10 ways to demonstrate their learning The students can choose any 5. Students
can record their learning on an audiophile, use a computer or create a concept map. The students
were more engaged and Anne had more time for those who
needed extra help Anne now uses Universal Design for
Learning in other areas. She has a class visual
schedule, a large time timer. All students are
offered pencil grips, fidgit tools, headphones and wiggle cushions. Ideas recommended for students with specific needs can increase success for all students.
Try it for yourself !! multiple means of representation
multiple means of expression multiple means an engagement.
Universal Design for Learning Everyone benefits

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