This week, I am focusing on Universal Design for Learning. You can learn more about it in my first two posts – here and here. Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the many Toolkits offered by CAST, the developers of UDL. The PAL Toolkit (Planning for All Learners) is a great beginning for teachers who are interested in incorporating UDL. It gives tools for setting goals, analyzing your student needs, and applying UDL to a lesson. Although individual teachers may feel the need to tweak some of these tools for their own use, there are some valuable frameworks that can give concrete examples to instructors. I particularly like the Class Profile Maker. This is a tool for clarifying the strengths, needs, and interests of each student. This would probably be a “work in progress”, as it’s difficult to immediately identify all of these areas for a class of 20-30 children. However, think about how powerful this could be if a record like this could travel with a student from year to year. Even though changes will happen, it could give new teachers a place to start.
To get a true understanding of the power of using the strengths of students to engage them in their learning, check out this cool video of students from the Boston Arts Academy learning some scientific concepts at Tufts University.
(For my entire week-long series on UDL, check out the following links: Universal Design for Learning, Variability Matters, Planning for All Learners, Learning Wheel, and Book Builder. You can also click on the Universal Design for Learning category in my right margin or take a look at my Pinterest Boards for UDL for even more resources.)