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Blog: Thursday, October 10th, 2019

The Only Thing We Can Guarantee

Imagine that you’re tasked with building a new school. You have a strict budget, and it must meet the needs of the community. Do you start with buying the materials? Hiring the builders? Most of us would agree that the best way to start would be to come up with a plan, to be intentional in our design and ensure that things are done effectively and efficiently.

This is very similar to what we face in classrooms every day. How do I teach my students in the most effective (meets the needs of all students) way, while also being efficient with the time and resources available? These are the questions at the heart of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Instead of planning for the ‘average’ student and constantly adapting after the fact, UDL is about intentionally planning for the range of students in your class(es) prior to teaching a lesson. But where’s a teacher to start?

First, get to know your kids. The ones you have this block, or this semester, or this year. One of the easiest things to do is to complete a class profile. What are the strengths and stretches of this group of students? And how will that inform my instructional design?

Then, challenge yourself to start a lesson with an activity that every single student in your class can participate in. Learning about three-dimensional shapes? Start with a sorting activity using manipulatives. Introducing Lord of the Flies? Have students circle pictures of items they think would be essential for survival.

Ready to dive deeper? Contact a Curriculum, ELL, or LSS helping teacher.

Intensive Intervention for Inclusion Helping Teacher, Learning Support Services