Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers. Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know. Developing lesson plans this way helps all kids, but it may be especially helpful for kids with learning and attention issues.
With careful and creative planning, literacy instruction can be adapted to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. Five ways teachers can provide a literacy education for all learners are offered here.
Many learners with disabilities are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to “see what we mean.” Three visual supports helpful for teaching and supporting literacy development are described here: picture books, graphic notes, and story kits.
Four strategies and practices are common to effective reading instruction programs: multi-tiered systems of support; universal screening, progress monitoring, and collaboration between special education and general education. This article provides links to tools that support implementation in each area.
Research shows that students need at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction each day to become strong readers, and that this instruction must be systematic, explicit, scaffolded, and differentiated across the classroom.
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of "born accessible materials" and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.
Three patterns of reading difficulties are common. This article explains how recognizing these three patterns can provide a valuable starting point for planning reading instruction and interventions.
Find out how to help your students improve their writing through activities and tools that support the drafting stage. Show your students how to use technology tools to create, revise, and store their drafts in a digital writing portfolio.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
When fiction and nonfiction books are integrated into the teaching of a content area such as science, graphic organizers are useful for organizing information and enabling students to classify observations and facts, comprehend the relationships among phenomenon, draw conclusions, develop explanations, and generalize scientific concepts.
Research has shown that fluent oral reading learned through performance reading leads not only to engagement in and enjoyment of reading for students, but to reading comprehension. Learn how to integrate performance reading activities into your classroom.
Students often have difficulty understanding abstract map symbols. Learn how to introduce map skills with literature that contextualizes mapping in a narrative, can be related to where in the world each student lives, and engages students by actively "doing geography."
Music stories are compositions of a narrative or descriptive sort. Students can listen for the story in the music, and this type of music can be integrated with literature, literacy, social studies, science, mathematics, and the other arts.
Classrooms can be perilous in a number of ways for students with learning disabilities. Here are some tips to remember when working with students with LD.
Find out how it benefits all students to read challenging texts. Rather than avoiding any use of more difficult texts, teachers can use instructional support to help students gain access to a more challenging reading experience. Learn how to make shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading more powerful and effective in your classrooms.
Some students identified with autism can participate successfully in whole-class rich literacy experiences, with the right kind of support. Learn about strategies for designing lessons that are appropriate, engaging, and challenging for every learner in the inclusive classroom.
This study describes a second-grade science curriculum designed to individualize student instruction so that students, regardless of initial science and literacy skills, gain science knowledge and reading skills. The instruction incorporates flexible, homogeneous, literacy skills-based grouping, use of leveled science text, and explicit use of discussion and comprehension strategies.
The law requires that public schools develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each child. The IEP is a written plan for educating a child with a disability. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
When the back-to-school bell starts ringing, parents often hear and read school-related terms that are unfamiliar to them. Below are three terms and descriptions related to reading instruction that may help give you a better understanding of what's happening in your child's classroom and what it all means for your young learner.
From previewing to reading with expression, here are several helpful hints for anyone preparing to read a book aloud to a group of children.
This article offers some ideas on how to introduce poetry to ELLs and integrate it with reading instruction, as well as some ideas for reading poetry aloud in a way that will encourage oral language development.
This article discusses strategies for writing poetry with ELLs, presents an overview of poetry forms that can be used effectively in writing lessons, and suggests some ideas for ways to share student poetry.
This Bright Ideas article recommends five specific and measurable actions teachers can implement to assist ELL learning in the upcoming year. The resource section has links to helpful articles and websites for further support.
A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.
As you teach content areas to ELLs of diverse backgrounds, you may find that they struggle to grasp the content, and that they approach the content from very different perspectives. Drawing on your students' background knowledge and experiences can be an effective way to bridge those gaps and make content more accessible. This article offers a number of suggestions to classroom teachers as they find ways to tap into the background knowledge that students bring with them.
What is differentiated instruction and how can it help your child? This article helps parents understand and support differentiation in the classroom.
Literacy centers offer meaningful learning experiences where students work independently or collaboratively to meet literacy goals.
Writing is a complex operation requiring knowledge of text structure, syntax, vocabulary, and topic, and sensitivity to audience needs; so it is not surprising that many teens find writing challenging. This article identifies the qualities of strong writing instruction, and offers advice to teachers for incorporating writing instruction into their practice, using tools like notebooks and journals, and sharing strategies that reinforce the importance of pre-writing and revision.
How does the mind work — and how does it learn? Teachers' instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such gut knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on?
Teachers are often asked to modify instruction to accommodate special needs students. In fact, all students will benefit from the following good teaching practices. The following article takes the mystery out of adapting materials and strategies for curriculum areas.
Differentiated instruction, also called differentiation, is a process through which teachers enhance learning by matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment. Writing instruction can be differentiated to allow students varying amounts of time to complete assignments, to give students different writing product options, and to teach skills related to the writing process.
Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.
Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) teaches students to use comprehension strategies while working cooperatively. Student strategies include previewing the text; giving ongoing feedback by deciding "click" (I get it) or "clunk" (I don't get it) at the end of each paragraph; "getting the gist" of the most important parts of the text; and "wrapping up" key ideas. Find out how to help students of mixed achievement levels apply comprehension strategies while reading content area text in small groups.