Sunday, 6 July 2014

A Framework for Teaching to Diversity - Chapter 2 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:

Universal Design for Learning (U.D.L.)
- What "ramps" are available to us to ensure that all of our students can
  access the curriculum and gain the same experience/be actively involved
- Eight Principles for Universal Design of Instruction/Activities
     1) Class Climate
         - Classroom policies and practices respect diversity and include
           all students
     2) Interaction
         - Encourage regular communication between all students and 
           students and yourself
         - Ensure everyone is included
     3) Physical Environments and Products
         - Make sure that your classroom, specific activities, centres, etc
           are accessible to all students in the room
     4) Instructional Standards
         - Have high expectations of your students and provide supports/
           resources to ensure all students can meet expectations 
     5) Delivery Methods
         - Utilize multiple teaching methods to meet the range of students
           in your classroom
     6) Information Resources & Technology
         - Make sure that any notes, handouts, assignments, assessments
           are accessible to all students
     7) Feedback
         - Provide students with regular, meaningful, feedback
     8) Assessment
         - Assess students regularly, through a variety of assessment
           techniques, and change any instruction accordingly 

Insights Through Brain Research
- It is very important that students are exposed to a wide-variety of
  stimuli so that their brain can build the necessary neuro-pathways
  to utilize that information successfully in the future
- Recognition Pathways
     - Acquire factual information
     - Information can be gathered through all the senses so it is
       important to provide multiple learning methods so that more
       recognition pathways can be built
- Strategic Pathways 
     - How we learn and how to represent learning
     - Built when students make connections between different
       concepts, practice representing information in different
       ways, and problem-solve to fill in missing pieces
- Affective Pathways
     - Responsible for motivation and attention
     - When students are challenged and engaged to discover new
       ideas they utilize their affective pathways to empower the
       learning opportunity

Seven Ramps for Brain-Based Instruction
1 ) Technology
     - Technology can be great for providing supports to students
        but it can be negative when it requires the student to leave
        the room in order to use the technology (going to a computer lab)
     - Technology should be used as a support and to help students
        take their learning beyond the classroom, but it should not be
        the focus
2 ) Gradual Release
     - Set students up so that there is a gradual release of 
        responsibility in the learning process
     - First, the teacher demonstrates a concept and students watch
     - Second, teachers and students work through a concept 
       together, discuss strategies, work through problems, and
       practice various representations
     - Third, students work independently through the concept
3 ) Flexible Grouping
     - Students have opportunities to work independently, in small-groups,
       and large-groups 
     - This allows students to demonstrate their strengths, practice skills
       modelled by other students, listen to different perspectives, etc
4 ) Integrated Curriculum
     - The brain remembers information best when it is connected to
       prior-knowledge or experiences
     - Teachers need to showcase connections between concepts and
       make sure that they do not teach their subjects in isolation
     - Cross-curricular opportunities are awesome for building
5 ) Choice, Risk-Taking, and Safety
     - If students experience too little or too few emotions, they tune out
       of the learning experience
     - Teachers can provide choice to help students feel confident and
       more engaged in an activity
     - Teachers need to help students develop their social emotional
       development, as well as their academic development, to ensure 
       they have a successful experience
6 ) Authentic Assessment
     - Assessment for learning
     - Assessment as learning
     - Assessment for learning
     - Remember what you are assessing, are you assessing their
       understanding of plant and animal cells? If so, then it doesn't
       matter what format they use to show you their understanding.
       If you give a traditional test, you may only test their reading
       comprehension and not their understanding of science concepts
7 ) Differentiated Instruction
     - Use multiple intelligences
Teaching to diversity, the universal design for learning, teaching to diversity book synopsis
Infographic (Multiple Intelligences). (2012). Uploaded by Byanna Freund. 
Bringing It All Together
- A three-block model was developed to put all of these ideas together
Teaching to diversity, the universal design for learning, teaching to diversity book synopsis
Figure 2.1 Universal Design for Learning: The Three-Block Model. (2012). Teaching to Diversity, Jennifer Katz. Page 25.

What percentage of your total assessments are teacher-created vs. student-created or co-created(teacher and student input)?

Do you use multiple intelligences regularly for ALL concepts?
If not, which one do you find hard to incorporate?

Please leave your thoughts below :)


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