Happy New Year Everyone!
As we share our last few stories from the field, we want to bring your attention to Del Rey Elementary! Gloria Robles and Debbie Neal, two incredible 2nd grade teachers wanted to share how Universal Design for Learning as impacted their instruction. From last year participating in pilots to this year being leaders for UDL on their campus, they are a wealth of knowledge and experience in all things related to the instruction and care for students in the community of Del Rey. Super excited to share their insights! Take a look!
We are so excited that we made the decision to pilot UDL. This is our 2nd year but we can say that the first year was a little overwhelming but a wonderful learning experience as we got familiar with UDL and the UDL guidelines. We focused on Engagement, and with the help of Zach, we were able to create a Compare and Contrast lesson.
The lesson began with a short Disney movie clip that got the student’s attention. They were very engaged in collaborating with each other on what was the same and different between the two characters. We also used images such as SpongeBob and the Minions for the students to orally practice using the color-coded vocabulary words and sentence frames for them to compare and contrast the two images. At the end, the students had options to share their compare and contrast sentence by writing it, using Chatterpix to record their sentence, or telling the teacher.
One realization I discovered through this lesson is that students who could not write a thorough response did understand the concept as measured by their verbal response. They were able to say the sentence with great detail and understanding of the concept. So that showed me that the writing was a barrier for them but with the option to orally share their answer it showed me they could do it and they met the goal!
We also worked on the Environmental Problem of Practice, which took place during transition time at the end of the day. What used to be controlled chaos at the end of the day became a smooth flowing learning experience with little teacher direction. We created a powerpoint and check off list with step by step directions and images of what it should look like as they prepared to go home. Before being dismissed, students had to self-reflect on how they did by using a 1-4 scale. Students would share what went well and what they could get better at for the next day. Zach suggested adding a song to signal when it was time to clean up and go home. We were a little skeptical but we tried it and it worked!! Eventually this evolved from it being teacher led to student led. When they heard the music, they knew it was time to transition home and used the checklist as a guide. It was great to see that with a push of a button we were ready to go home in record time.
Now in our 2nd year, it’s getting easier to implement UDL and we are seeing things differently. Our UDL lens allows us to prepare a lesson and focus on key UDL questions during lesson design and development. Engagement and representation strategies have been a focus for our lessons while providing options for our students to be able to show their understanding in different ways and using different tools. We have seen such positive results with implementing UDL and knocking down the barriers students may face so they can be successful.
Sample Music to listen to as you enjoy an amazing blog post!
Amy Williams & Zach Smith
District Leads for Universal Design for Learning
Sanger unified school district
Curriculum & Instruction department