One Teacher’s Experience with UDL TrainingWendy Sweeney, MA, Licensed Psychologist, PANDA Manager Moira Knutson, PANDA Administrator
PANDA’S FREE Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Training is now open for registration! Hurry, as there is a limit of 30 participants!
Cheryl Lubinski from West ABE/Wayzata Schools ABE took the Universal Design for Leaning (UDL) training last year. Below are excerpts are from her UDL reflection paper.
My main motivation for taking this course was to meet the positive behavioral interventions and accommodating, modifying, and adapting curricula requirement for re-licensure. I chose this training because the topic is interesting, and I was drawn to it.
First, I worked on the classroom setting. I needed to make more room between the student tables to allow room for walking between them. The new room layout is working better. The movement is better and less distracting.
The assignments were enlightening. After teaching online for some time and practicing social distancing, I had forgotten how much students like working with each other. For the community building activity, I selected an activity that reinforced a skill we were learning in GED RLA preparation- compare and contrast. I used a Venn Diagram and had students partner up to “get to know each other” by writing what they had in common where it overlapped and how they were different on the sides. Their expressions were fun to watch and hear. They enjoyed the task, and each know a little more about each other personally.
I started posting the class schedule on the board for students and found it was also helpful to me. It reminded me to give breaks, stretch and move about, and stay on task. I used several of the stretching brain breaks to allow students to re-energize and stay focused. Afterwards, I notice an improvement in their critical thinking and less effort was required of me in prompting students to participate.
The instructional method I used was Jigsaw. We started reading a book about Helen Keller and felt this activity would fit nicely with it. I paired students up to write a summary of her (1) early years, (2) youth and early adulthood, and (3) her later years. They used computers and had their book as a resource. I heard lots of discussion about their sources (determining validity), selection of important details, then collaboration to construct a summary. Each group went up in front of the room to share what they had learned for each time period. It was an Ah Ha moment where I realized I need to incorporate more group activities. It was fun seeing them engaging and enjoying the activity.
Even though my motivation for taking this course was for the reason of license renewal, I found value in this training and recognized where and how I can make changes to improve the room atmosphere, accessibility, set expectations with rules and routines, build classroom community, provide varied activities to meet the varied preferences, and incorporate different instructional methods to increase student satisfaction.
—Cheryl Lubinski, West ABE/Wayzata Schools ABE
Thank you Cheryl, for allowing us the use of your UDL reflection paper!
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