Universal Design for Learning IRIS Reflection

Universal Design for Learning is an amazing tool that is beginning to be implemented in more and more classrooms. As more schools are focused on test after test to assess students’ knowledge, UDL provides multiple different ways to teach children so that each one succeeds no matter their preferred type of learning. It is to be flexible and engaging to the whole class where there is more learning than memorizing and helping all kinds of students. A common method I noticed in this module was to prevent learning barriers, there should be more options for students. Instead of reading a textbook, there should be multiple ways for students to learn the information. Instead of writing a paper, they could present what they know in whatever way suits them best. This is definitely something I would use in my classroom. Not only will each of my kindergartners have different learning abilities, but I personally think providing variety is a great way to keep young children with shorter attention engaged for longer. Another way I will implement this in terms of instruction is to vary my instruction so that all children can understand. This includes all types, including each child having a choice in what materials they learn best with. For example in math, I will provide manipulatives, paper and pencil lessons, worksheets, digital media, text, models, and voice lessons. This will allow the students to pick which is best for their learning preference and ability. I particularly liked the example of creating pictures of “Examples” and “non-examples”. This is a great way to engage kindergartners not only with pictures, but words, videos, models, and so much more, because often younger children cannot read as well so providing examples and non-examples not only teaches the lesson but can reinforce opposites as well. It seems as though the most important thing here is to deliver content many different ways and using technology is one of the easiest ways to do so. Before starting a new topic or ending a topic, I will check for understanding. If anything is unclear to any child I will adjust my lesson to suit his or her needs, that way no one is left behind. The best way to assess students using UDL standards is by formative assessment. Since there are so many different ways to do this, I will definitely use this in my classroom. When the time comes for a summative assessment, the learning goal needs to be re-visited and the students should be allowed to demonstrate their knowledge in the way they know how. This even applies to my kindergartners as well. I think often younger children are forgotten in instructional design because adults assume they don’t understand much or their instruction is too easy to have the need to be varied. This is the opposite. In my classroom even my young children will have a variety of interactive and engaging instruction to promote the best success. I will use media, manipulatives, audio and visual aids, and any assistive technology necessary for them to succeed.

Standards:

“1.5 Teachers recognize characteristics of gifted students and students with
disabilities in order to assist in appropriate identification, instruction, and
intervention.” This standard applies to UDL because this is the whole purpose of UDL. As a teacher it is my job to know what each of my students struggle and excel in in order to provide them with optimal ways to learn in ways they prefer.

“4.3 Teachers communicate clear learning goals and explicitly link learning
activities to those defined goals.” This applies because learning goals are applied to UDL. As a teacher I would give a learning goal to my students and then UDL is implemented in the lesson to make sure that each student reaches that goal in the best way they can.

“4.5 Teachers differentiate instruction to support the learning needs of all students, including students identified as gifted and students with disabilities.” This standard applies in that the concept of UDL is to allow my students to learn and exhibit what they learn in the way that is easiest for them to use and understand, and then show what they know with. UDL itself supports the needs of each individual student.

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