How can I practise UDL without technology?
No technology? No problem.
Technology can make UDL easier to understand, but UDL can be constructed without computers. One option is to use small group instruction to assign UDL jobs to each of the groups participants. Person 1 could help the group identify the Why of Learning. They would be in charge of gathering questions from the team. Person 2 could identify the What of Learning. This person could assist their team to identify key ideas, topics, or vocabulary words. Person 3 could help the group identify the How to Learning. This person could help the group generate multiple ways to solve problems. Honestly, the low-tech approaches can be more fun and creative. I spend less time troubleshooting technology when we use markers, paper, and scissors.
How can I practise UDL if I do not have time to plan?
There will never be enough time…
I am a classroom teacher, and although I have some time for planning, I never really have enough time. Many of my students need material supports that are time consuming to create. For instance, one of my students in the past communicated with pictures; I would embed lessons where students would create the images for the class to use together. As an activity, the students understand the importance of building the materials. They want to help a friend participate. I have had students “write books” for friends, illustrate books, or create “read aloud materials.” I think it would be really cool to have my students convert a classic public domain document (free) using the CAST Bookbuilder. For instance, my students could convert a play or sonnet from Shakespeare into a UDL book.
How can we work with students who lack parental support?
Other needs may be the cause of a student’s issues. A student could need food, shelter, clothing, attention, or a sense of belonging. It is difficult to support students who have such needs. Parents can help, but sometimes the parents are working hard: working hard does not meet the students’ needs. These cases can be heartbreaking.
In the state of Virginia, the government can provide support. Virginia also requires teachers to report concerns of abuse or neglect to social service agencies. These agencies often provide the family with support and encouragement in the form of financial assistance, counseling, and/or court intervention.
Teachers can also help directly. The school can host “family nights” where parents can come with students to learn about a school topic and share in a simple meal, or community project days that can engages the community to come together and help to solve a larger issue. A class garden or campus improvement project can help to engage parents, and the larger community as a whole.
Keywords for Teachers: Engaging Parents