Between now and January 13th, observe one of your peers teaching a lesson. Use the UDL Guidelines Classroom Observations form to identify elements of UDL represented in the lesson. Here are a few guiding questions for your reflection.
I observed Beth guiding her students in a spirited discussion of The Hobbit. I observed many wonderful things there, though many cannot be expressed using the guidelines. Checkpoint 5.3 encourages teachers to help students build fluency through repeated practice. Beth's students wrote paragraphs in response to the chapter they had read the preceeding night. She has a well defined assignment which includes stylistic elements the students must include. She also has provided thought-provoking questions from which they may choose (7.1) The assignment is repeated throughout their reading of the book, so they get to practice many times (5.3). Their learning is scaffolded, so to speak, because Beth encouraged individual students to voluntarily share examples of the required stylistic elements (such as apprositives, compound, complex sentences, etc). This allows students who are less fluent to hear examples and see that this is a task they are capable of completing, since their peers are successful at it. Beth provided feedback to students two ways: she gave them a score for answering the question and another for including the elements of style she required.
Cynthia, you have highlighted many instances of lesson design that Beth included to ensure all students succeeded in reading the goal. This is obviously a well-designed lesson. Thanks for pointing out where you saw the lesson align with the UDL guidelines. Clearly Beth include scaffolding and choice two very important elements of helping students engage with the task, no matter what level they are. Are there any instructional techniques that she used that you might now consider in the design of your own lessons?
I observed Hans Kalkofen's science class. Throughout the lesson, he addressed each UDL guideline by providing multiple means of representation, action/expression, and engagement.
Action & Expression:
- connects agenda topics to assigned essay
What insights did you reflect on with your peer?
We discussed all of the ways he was supporting students in a relatively brief period of time. The way in which he structures his lessons keeps students engaged and his enthusiasm for the subject helps to keep them genuinely interested.
What did you observe that you might try in your own practice?
I like the way this teacher challenges students. He has confidence that they can achieve, even when the concepts are difficult.
What did you learn?
I learned that it takes a truly skilled teacher to effectively and consistently address the needs of such a wide range of students.
I really enjoyed reading your reflection about your time in Hans' classroom. What a wonderful lesson. I too really like the fact that he challenges students and has confidence that they can achieve. The design of his lesson clearly speaks to the variability of his students and his respect for that variability.
I also agree with the fact that teaching is not a simple profession, it does take a truly committed individual to ensure that all students are expected to and have the opportunity to achieve. In your opinion, do the UDL guidelines serve as a resource to help design lessons that provide that opportunity?
As a warm-up activity, Mike presented a problem on the active board. He read the problem aloud and told students they could choose to work independently or with partners. As students began working on the problem, Mike walked around the room and helped students as needed. When a student was off task, Mike would kindly redirect them.
After the warm-up, the class corrected their homework. Mike asked for students to volunteer to do certain problems on the white board. Mike encouraged questions from all students. Students were comfortable asking questions to their partners. It is evident that thoughtful planning was put into the seating arrangement of the classroom.
Towards the end of class, Mike introduced a new website called Buzz Math. Buzz Math is a homework site that gives students instant feedback and detailed solutions to problems. Mike modeled how to log in on the active board and did a few problems with students.
After the lesson, Mike and I reflected on the importance of addressing the various styles of learners we have in the classroom. We discussed the benefits of using assistive technology.
I would like to try using Buzz Math in my Skills class. I like how it gives students immediate feedback as they are working.
I’ve learned that it is crucial to constantly be looking at new, creative ways to engage students. No two students learn the same way, and as such, teachers must differentiate instruction. Mike is doing an excellent job of this.
Sounds like you had the opportunity to observe a wonderful lesson--I took a look at Buzz Math and love the site. It's so nice to have the solutions described so students can get more support when they are challenged. Something else that is beginning to emerge is the use of video where students describe how they are solving the problems then sharing these with other students. What a great use of that media.
Thanks so much for sharing your reflection and introducing me to Buzz Math
I observed Joanne Holton teach from the Interactives website on the elements of a story. She did a lesson using multiple means of representation using checkpoint 3.2, highlighting patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships. She used the Activboard and the dry erase board for this activity. The computer provided the auditory information, but she also provided other options for language comprehension by further explaining the story in her own words. In addition, she asked the students to demonstrate their understanding. Throughout the lesson she often clarified new vocabulary. In addition, she frequently checked in with the students to ensure comprehension. In terms of providing multiple means of expression, Joanne allowed the students access to the activity by taking turns using the Activboard to answer questions. Their ability to use the Activboard increased the motivation and attention with the activity dramatically. The UDL elements I observed were many, but specifically she focused on provided multiple means of representation to provide options for comprehension. After the lesson we reflected on what went well, and what could have been done differently. A thought was that perhaps further support on vocabulary could have been provided through other pictures, videos or sounds. I really liked the way this activity was run and I would absolutely use this website in my own classes.
Eamon welcomed me into his Ancient Cultures class recently, where students were in the midst of a longer learning activity, creating an interactive map of Ancient Egypt using Google Earth and shared Google documents. (5.1) (5.2) (6.4) Eamon began by recalling for students the task for this class (3.1)(9.1) (6.1) (6.2) and provisioning with laptops from the dedicated cart (4.2). Students obviously were familiar with the expectation that they be responsible for the laptop assigned. (6.3)
Paired students quickly and quietly were on task using books, handouts, and/or internet resources to locate information on physical and cultural aspects of ancient Egypt. (5.2) (2.5) Informative paragraphs written by students, were attached to icons like digital pushpins at various locations on the map, allowing one to click on the icon and reveal the text. (1.1) Though students were paired, they could work independently at their own paces, by dividing the required components between them; a nice balance of cooperation, support, and autonomy. (8.3) I like this mix, and would like to follow up by finding out how Eamon manages grading the work of individuals and/or groups. Speaking of which, students were reminded to complete a self-assessment using a rubric provided. (9.3)
Throughout, Eamon calmly and cheerfully roamed the room giving hints and clues to aid students in solving their own problems; offering praise, encouragement and affirmation; quietly separating a couple of kids who needed to focus better on their own. (9.1) (9.2) (7.3) He moved seamlessly back and forth from individual/pair interaction to brief whole group instructional conversations using the projected images from his laptop to demonstrate useful techniques as the need arose. (5.1) (5.3) (1.1) (1.3)
Eamon mentioned that this is the second year he’s using this project, and is still tweaking it so as to not ask too much or too little of the students for this activity. (8.2)
It was a treat to get a glimpse into a classroom so different from my science lab. The fact that instituting standard protocols for provisioning and transitions is helpful - even essential - was reinforced. I can see the advantage of using shared documents to facilitate group work and still allow for some individual expression.
I observed Ben DeMotts lesson in teaching body parts and colors.
Ben represented many UDL elements throughout his lesson.
Without sighting exact points..I will just point out the fact that he used multiple means of expressionto relay the information to the students.
It was clear that the lesson was well received by the students because both their level of engagement and enthusiasm were high.
The material was introduced and reinforced by a song,,,,,,Head , Shoulder , Knees and Toes( in French) ..then reinforced by Simon Says...and lastly the students were to create a monster...with colors and body parts they had been able to choose from a very visual graphic organizer( in French). The students were engaged, happy and excited about what they were learning.
The points of UDL which rang clear were the multiple means of expression.
This is in fact the way I personally introduce material myself...but having the opportunity to observe the students level of excitement and engagement reinforced the positive impact it has on students.
I observed one of Martha Soper's sixth grade French classes. I think Martha is one of the best teachers I have ever seen at differentiating her instruction - both because introductory language study lends itself (and requires) multimodal techniques and because she is a naturally someone who likes to change what she's doing pretty often :-)
In her lesson, Martha was reviewing body parts and colors with her students. For body parts, she used "Simon Says," with students touching their own body parts and also with manipulating a toy, doll or action figure she had provided. (4.1 & 4.2) This also provided alternatives for the auditory information of her instructions - students could look at the physical responses of their neighbors to identify vocabulary. (1.2)
When reviewing colors, she used a game similar to "Go Fish" - five students at the front of the class were given two colors each, which their classmates had to guess. Martha modeled, orally and written on the board, how to ask "Do you have...?", and students were exposed to the question, repeated dozens of times by their classmates. (2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 5.3)
These games certainly maximized the students' ability to transfer and generalize the vocabulary. (3.4) They also optimized choice (7.1 - choosing which colors to ask about) and relevance (7.2, 8.1 - the desire to get their classmates "out"). Throughout the activities, Martha gently corrected students who made errors in syntax or pronunciation, while highlighting those students who did particularly well (8.4 - mastery-oriented feedback).
Students left class with a much better grasp of the material, but all they were talking to each other about was how "fun" class had been.
I know that being forced to share rooms with other teachers, while inconvenient at times, has made me a more effective teacher, because it has given me the opportunity to see examples of content-specific and non-content differentiation, which I have then used in my own classes. I have used "Simon Says" before, but I have never used "Go Fish" - and I fully intend to do so.
I took notes, but didn't realize posting was required. I observed Betsy J in the computer lab. Students were researching for a project based on a country in Europe. UDL concepts observed:
1.3 Alternatives for visual information: varied resources. Even when researching hte smae item (ex climate) some students used charts, others used calendar style data, others preferred text.
6.3 facilitate managing resources and information - note sheet provided. Much was structured but there was a section for "other interesting info"
7.1 Optimize choice and autonomy - students were given choice of countries, choice of what topics to research first and some choice within each research topic (ie which physical features to look at)
There were a few other elements I saw, but these were the clearest.
I observed Julie Walker in her classroom reviewing the characteristics of living things with her students.
The lesson was anchored by stations which students rotated through. At each station was a description.
Students then had to decide & record which characteristic(s) of living things applied to the description. While students were engaged in this activity, Julie was reviewing students’ answers to a HW assignment in individual journals and providing written feedback. At the conclusion of this activity the class reviewed their answers to the station descriptions. Julie then led a discussion/review of the HW assignment recorded in the journals. The lesson concluded with an introduction to a reading assignment to be completed at home.
I/ Provide multiple means of representation
2.1/ Clarify vocabulary and symbols
Vocabulary for the current chapter was listed at the front of the classroom
2.5/ Illustrate through multiple media
The use of an activeboard ---> deer & umbrella visuals
Reflections with Julie:
I noted that classroom routines were in place (ex students actively revising/editing
their work during review)
We discussed the purpose & benefits of students' Science journals.
Julie clarified that students take their journals home with them at the end of the year.
I noted that there are many questions posted around the classroom related to life science.
Julie told me that they are students' questions. She also mentioned that she borrowed this
idea from another colleague, Holly Estes.