Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Teaching in the Classroom: Block 2: Inclusive Instructional Practice - Chapter 5 of U.D.L

     To help us work towards our school goal of purposefully implementing the Universal Design for Learning approach to our formal planning (sometimes referred to as "Backwards by Design", "Understanding by Design", or "Planning With The End in Mind), my principal has provided our staff with a copy of Dr. Jennifer Katz's book, Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. As I make my way through the book, I will be summarizing my learning as a means of organizing my thoughts and getting clarification on particular ideas.

Teaching to diversity, the universal design for learning, teaching to diversity book synopsis
Teaching to Diversity Cover. (Accessed 2014). Uploaded to Amazon; Portage& Main Press. 
Available online at:

Classroom Ecology
- The physical space of your classroom affects your students as much
   as what happens within your classroom
- The direction in which the desks face demonstrate who is in power and
   what kind of interactions can take place between individuals
- Interest Areas
     - Decide what activities will happen in your classroom and make sure
       you have space to accommodate them
     - Ex. science labs, student meetings, technology stations, etc
- Personal Territories
     - Take into account what belongs to who (more important in single
        grade classrooms, not so much when students change rooms for
        every class)

Pedagogy and Classroom Management
- Teachers manage their students and then complain that they act out
   once they leave the room, it should not be a top-down approach
* Case Study: Derrick (paper balls)
- Dealing with Challenging Behaviour
     - Bring down situations and solve conflicts together
     - Too many rules overwhelm kids and are unnecessary

Starting the Year
- Don't jump right into curriculum; establish expectations and model
  behaviour by:
    - Working through the RD program
     - Introduce partner and group work
     - Introduce centres 
     - Then begin curriculum
- Introducing Partnering & Group Work
     - Discuss what does partner/group work look like? sound like?
     - Role play partner work
     - Discuss active listening
     - Practice sharing ideas/"reporting the group's findings/thoughts"
       and discuss the importance of everyone always needing to be
       prepared to be the reporter
     - Have a visual reminder in your room and use prompts to ensure
       the students invite everyone to participate in groups and work to
       find everyone's strengths
- Introducing Work Centres
     - Use centres that address the different types of multiple
     - If you have 9 centres, use approx. 15 classes
     - Ensure all students are participating positively
     - Barriers That Students Feel
          - Grades: they are worried that the performance of others in a
             group will affect their assessment 
          - Pace: they are worried that certain students may affect their
            ability to complete tasks on time
          - E.As: any other adults in the room should interact positively 
            with any student in the room

Teachers in the U.D.L Classroom
- Circulate during centres and complete formative assessment so you
   recognize which ones need enrichment, support, or oral options
* Case Study: Cory (suck at verbal-linguistic)
- Co-Teaching Scenarios
     1 ) One Teaching / One Drifting
           - One teacher delivers curriculum, one circulates around
           - Advantages: timely help, on-task students, saves time
           - Disadvantages: teacher control, one seen as an aide
     2 ) Parallel Teaching
          - Plan jointly but split into small groups to teach
          - Advantages: small groups, separate students, better planning
          - Disadvantages: learning equally, pacing, noise level
     3 ) Alternative Teaching
          - One manages the class, one pulls a small group out
          - Advantages: help meet specific needs of students
          - Disadvantages: labelling groups as "smart" or "dumb"
     4 ) Station Teaching
          - Teaching responsibilities are divided up and teachers hold
             certain centres
          - Advantages: easier to differentiate, small groups, cover more
          - Disadvantages: lots of pre-planning, pacing, noise levels
     5 ) Team Teaching
           - Both plan and share instructional time, teachers converse &
              both manage the room
           - Advantages: active roles, equals, risk-taking
           - Disadvantages: a lot of pre-planning, needs defined roles
- Working with EAs
     - It is their job to facilitate engagement

Assessment For, Of, and As Learning with Diverse Learners
- Assessment: informal or formal, guides teaching and learning
- Evaluation: snapshot of where a student is in comparison to a
- Reporting: communication of progress
- Students do not have to do pencil-paper tasks in order to fully
  prepare for a pencil-paper exam
- Methods of Assessment
     1 ) Observation
     2 ) Conferencing
     3 ) Portfolio Assessment


How often do you use formal centres in your classroom? and what Grade level/subject?
I used centres regularly in math and quite often in science but it was less formal.

Please leave your thoughts below :)

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