Content: I focus my teaching on main concepts and have our learning objectives for each class period posted at the front of the room. Instead of small details and facts to memorize, students get a big picture idea of how everything works together; I intersperse examples that support the overarching concepts and themes we study. I use numerous materials like presentations, practice problems, small group and individual practice, and video to present ideas to students.
Process: I use many different types of grouping in my teaching, ranging from whole class discussions to small groups to pairs, to individual practice. Rarely do I have a class period where students work independently the entire time. Most of the activities I do involve group discussion and idea sharing.
Products: I assess students frequently throughout each unit using Moodle questions, small white boards and practice questions, open ended responses, class discussion, one on one discussion, and group presentations. Most of the projects I do give students several options to express their understanding; they may have different product options to choose from or different paths to take to create the same end product. The goal with my assessments is to use them as teaching tools so that students have to apply what we’ve been discussing in class to their process of creating their end product. Even my tests have retakes so that students can master the material and learn from their mistakes.
One thing that jumped out at me in the article is using our online textbook to help students who are struggling. They can install Diigo to highlight and annotate sections and make sticky notes to themselves; they can use VozMe to have the text converted to audio. Students could also use graphic organizers to create outlines of the material they read. This would be useful for ALL students, not just struggling learners, as it will help reinforce what they are reading and learning.
A couple of tools that would support UDL in my class that I could use even more are Google Docs and Prezi. They allow for real time collaboration with one another, and Google Docs allows for annotation and commenting. Students can comment on one another’s work and I can comment and offer suggestions too. Using these tools opens the classroom up to be anytime, anywhere. Students can do group work asynchronously and not have to worry about emailing a file back and forth. They can be creative with how they use the tools to express their understanding. And they can share their work together and learn from one another.
This could be useful for struggling readers, English Language Learners, and even students who are really busy and could download the textbook as an MP3 file to listen to while they walk or drive to and from school. For struggling readers and ELL’s, hearing the text as they read will help them learn the sounds of the new vocabulary and glean more meaning as they can connect it with surrounding text and concepts discussed in class. For busy students, audio text helps them multitask and learn as they move from one place to another.