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Reflecting on UDL: How UDL Lessons Meet the Needs of All Learners

Reflecting on UDL: How UDL Lessons Meet the Needs of All Learners

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Author: Jody Waltman
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In this lesson, you will learn how to reflect on revising lessons so that they are aligned with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

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Tutorial

Source: Image of Plus/Minus/Delta chart, created by Jody Waltman

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In this tutorial, we'll reflect on our revision of a lesson using UDL principles. We'll begin with a brief recap of the principles of Universal Design for Learning. We'll then reflect on the revised lesson, and we'll evaluate our implementation of UDL principles.

First, recall that Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, is a flexible approach to the design of both curriculum and instruction. It incorporates accommodations or modifications as part of the planning process, rather than incorporating them as a reactionary measure. We learned about three principles of UDL, providing multiple means of representation, providing multiple means of action and expression, and providing multiple means of engagement.

Here is the sample lesson that I revised using UDL principles. Some guiding questions can be helpful as we undertake the reflection process. First, how did we revise the goals of the lesson in order to be in more alignment with UDL? And why did we make those particular changes?

Well, in my sample lesson I wanted to make the goal more relevant to students, more applicable to their daily lives. By creating a connection to specific groups of people, in particular, those that my students will learn about on the National Museum of American History website, I hope to address principle three of UDL, providing multiple means of engagement.

Next, how did we change the materials to align with UDL, and why did we make those changes? By incorporating the National Museum of American History website, a magnetic poetry website, and an online brainstorming or webbing tool, I hoped to address specifically principle one, providing multiple means of representation, and principle two, providing multiple means of action and expression. Rather than just having my students write pencil notes for me on paper, allowing them to express themselves through the use of the magnetic poetry and the online web tool will provide multiple options for students.

Next, how did we change the methods to align with UDL, and why did we make those changes? Well, adding in a class discussion of immigration and its impact, and adding in the virtual tour of the National Museum of American History, addressed principle one, providing multiple means of representation, and principle three, providing multiple means of engagement.

Next, let's consider how did we revise the assessment strategies to align with UDL, and why did we make those changes? Rather than only using a paper and pencil, question answering assessment strategy, I now will also assess students on their creation of the web from the results of our class discussion, and on their use of the magnetic poetry resource to describe the impact of immigration. This definitely addresses principle two, providing multiple means of action and expression.

So here's a final guiding question. Now that the lesson is more completely aligned with UDL principles, how does it better meet the needs of diverse learners? We can see that the changes that we made through the revision process using the UD Links app will help to make this lesson more approachable, relevant, and interesting to a wide variety of students.

After reflecting on the revision of the lesson, it may be valuable to also evaluate the implementation of the UDL principles throughout that lesson. A plus/minus delta chart can be a useful tool in this process. Recall that in a plus/minus delta chart, the plus column is where you record things that worked well. The minus column is where you record things that didn't work as well. And the delta column is where you can suggest possible changes to be made. In this chart, I've also added three specific rows, one for each principle of UDL.

In my revision of the lesson, I think I addressed principle one well by incorporating the website and the museum tour. However, a potential minus is the lack of accommodations for students with visual impairments. For example, what if they have trouble with the virtual visit of the museum, if the screen size is too small, for example, and they can't zoom in to view the information more appropriately? So my entry in me delta column for principle one is to research visual accommodations, in order to address this issue in the future.

In principle two, I think the magnetic poetry is a great addition to this lesson, in providing multiple means of action and expression. However, a minus is that in my revision of the lesson I didn't really focused on the promotion of executive functions. So a delta is to focus on goal setting, as I further revise this lesson.

And finally, principle three. I think this revision provided a lot of new authenticity and relevance to the lesson. However, a potential minus is the perceived risk that students may feel as they participate in the class discussion. So my suggested change in the delta column for principle three is to continue to research ways to minimize these perceived threats or distractions for my students.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. What kind of reflection is best in line with your own thought processes? Do you find the guiding questions helpful as you're reflecting on your revision of the lesson, or is the plus/minus delta chart a more helpful tool for you? Would you like to receive feedback from your students using a plus/minus delta chart, or another method? Would you consider asking your students some of the guiding questions, in order to learn their opinions on very specific revisions?

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Reflecting on UDL: How UDL Lessons Meet the Needs of All Learners"

(00:00 - 00:19) Introduction

(00:20 - 00:45) Recap UDL Principles

(00:46 - 03:08) Reflect on Revised Lesson

(03:09 - 04:52) Evaluate Implementation of UDL Principles

(04:53 - 05:40) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

UDL Lesson Plan

This is Dr. Marilyn Shank's site dedicated to the development of lesson plans using the UDL principles; the site includes guiding questions and a lesson plan template. She designed her template to address several problems of practice: "How can I teach grade-level standards to all students in general education, regardless of exceptionality?"; "How do I assess and grade them?"; "How do I keep students who already know the skill challenged?"; "How do I follow President Bush’s mandate and leave no child behind without watering down the curriculum?"; and "How can I maintain high expectations for all students?"
http://www.suddenlink.net/pages/drshankweb/index_files/Page578.htm


Kentucky Department of Education: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

This web site provides a quick review of the UDL principles. In addition, there are terrific resources for teachers that can be accessed through live links. In particular, there is an easy to use lesson planning template designed to incorporate the UDL principles.
http://education.ky.gov/educational/diff/pages/udl.aspx