Designing Lessons Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal Design for Learning (www.cast.org) provides a framework for designing curriculum and instruction with access in mind for all at the start. Its three primary principles include providing students with:
- Multiple means of representation
- Multiple means of action and expression
- Multiple means of engagement
IDE Corp. works with teachers to implement this framework in their classrooms, melding it with other instructional initiatives, such as technology infusion, co-teaching classrooms, RTI, and more.
Exploring Models for Effective Inclusion/Co-Teaching Classrooms
Inclusion classrooms continue to challenge schools and teachers alike as they attempt to fit a new approach to teaching (with two adults in the room) into a conventional structure (of one teacher in charge and often at the front of the room). A dominant paradigm for inclusion classrooms tends to be that of having one teacher present content while the other quietly moves among the classified students to help them focus on the lesson. Another is to split the class into two sections, allowing each teacher to present to fewer students. Yet another is to have one teacher present while the other grades papers or plans. These observations are from our work in schools in general.
We believe, as classrooms move to be more student-centered, with students taking greater responsibility for their own learning, the role of the teacher becomes that of architect and facilitator. This, in turn, presents myriad possibilities for two adults to teach together in a classroom. If students, for example, are engaged in high-quality, problem-based tasks; and the teachers have presented them with a variety of activities in which to engage, including those that are required, choice, and optional; then teachers can engage with students in a variety of ways. For example, both teachers might co-present a short (10- to 15-minute) “benchmark lesson” on a curricular concept. By having two teachers seamlessly interacting with students as true, co-teachers, students gain tremendously in their academic experience.
Key to the successful co-teaching classroom is a palpable equality of the two teachers in the classroom, with students respecting and availing themselves of particular strengths of each teacher. Additionally, teachers must establish structures for clear communication, data collection, instructional planning, and problem-solving.
Understanding RTI (Response to Intervention) Learning Environments
RTI (Response to Intervention) is an approach to teaching special-needs students that shifts the paradigm from students being assigned to a certain class or group to teachers offering instruction at different intervention levels. IDE Corp.’s Learner-Active, Technology Infused Classroom™ provides the perfect venue for Tier 1, 2, and 3 instruction. Using formative assessment to drive instruction lies at the heart of the RTI approach.
Consider . . .
• Designing RTI classrooms
• Designing classrooms to meet the needs of all learners
• Challenging the gifted learner in the regular education classroom