To meet the needs of the widest range of students, what should teachers consider when planning their instruction?

Page 8: UDL in Practice

Teacher referencing a mapMs. Sung, a sixth-grade teacher at Sycamore Middle School, is eager to begin implementing the UDL approach. She discovers that before designing a UDL unit lesson plan, it is helpful to know the learning needs and preferences of each student in her class. Ms. Sung administers a learning preference survey and creates a chart containing this information, which she will refer to and modify throughout the year as needed.

Student

Learning Preference *

Learning Needs

UDL Solution

Abigail

V

Information presented visually due to hearing impairment

Visual materials (textbook, images, videos with closed captioning)

Angel

V

n/a

Visual materials (textbook, images, videos)

Branson

T

n/a

hands-on-activities, models

Cole

A

Information presented aurally due to low vision

audio or digital versions of textbooks

Colin

K

n/a

 

Daniel

A

n/a

 

Dwight

V

n/a

 

Eliana

T

n/a

 

Farhiya

V

n/a

 

Gary

A

n/a

 

Hannah

T

n/a

 

Katie

V

Needs help organizing information

graphic organizers

Logan

K

n/a

activities that include physical movement

Margaret

A

n/a

 

Marvin

V

n/a

 

Max

K

n/a

 

Michael

A

Has a learning disability in reading; needs support with reading, especially comprehension

Aural information

Omari

A

n/a

 

Quinn

T

n/a

 

Renee

V

n/a

 

Shaterra

T

n/a

 

Suri

A

n/a

 

* A=auditory, K=kinesthetic, T=tactile, V=visual

Having created her chart, Ms. Sung recognizes that she has students with each of the four types of learning preferences—visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic. The chart also helps her to keep track of her students’ learning needs, and she uses it as she begins to design her unit lesson plan. Click each sample lesson plan below to compare how Ms. Sung traditionally taught the unit on ancient Egypt with how she plans to teach it this year. (Note: The lesson plans represent only two days of instruction.)

Ms. Sung began incorporating UDL principles into her lesson plans by considering the learning needs and preferences of her students. As Grace Meo explains, many teachers begin by identifying lesson plans that are not effective (time: 0:44).

meo
Grace Meo
Former CAST Director of Professional
Development & Outreach Services

Learning Modalities Examples
eyeVisual Learners
  • Printed or digital text
  • Video
  • Images of artifacts
earAuditory Learners
  • Lecture
  • Narration on video
  • Small-group discussion
handTactile Learners
  • Three-dimensional models of pyramids
  • Center activity: create a picture, story, or model to demonstrate what they think they would find if they excavated the school playground
walkerKinesthetic Learners
  • Excavation kit

Ms. Sung finds that by addressing the learning preferences of her students, she has for the most part addressed the learning needs of her students. However, on occasion, she does need to make accommodations (i.e., a service or support related to the student’s disability) to meet the needs of some students.

ColeFor example, Cole is a student with low vision. By providing digital versions of the textbook, audio options for certain materials, and tactile activities, Ms. Sung has addressed Cole’s learning needs.

AbigailSimilarly, Abigail is a student who has a hearing impairment. By providing visual options for materials (e.g., slides, captions on video), Ms. Sung addresses most of her learning needs. However, Abigail requires a sign language interpreter (a related service provider) to help her to obtain oral information and to communicate with her teacher and peers. Because a sign language interpreter meets the specific educational need of Abigail, this individualized service would be considered an accommodation.

By delivering instruction in a variety of ways and by expanding the options of materials and assessments available to her students, Ms. Sung notices that the majority of the students are more engaged in the unit an ancient Egypt than was usually the case in past years. She believes that this increased engagement has resulted in the students learning the content in a more in-depth manner.

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