UDL Iris Module

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) purpose is to help teachers meet the needs of all their students in an inclusive, general education classroom. UDL provides a research-based curriculum for teachers to incorporate flexible materials, instructional methods, learning goals, and assessments to meet the needs of all their students, including students who are visually impaired, auditory impaired, have a learning disability, speak English as a second language, etc. UDL emphasizes meeting the needs of the widest range of students by reducing the number of barriers in learning. UDL is all about giving students options and choices when it comes to their learning so they can learn in the best way possible.

UDL can be implemented in my future classroom in a variety of ways. I will demonstrate how I would use UDL by giving examples on how I would implement UDL in a science lesson about how to classify rocks by shape and color in a third grade classroom. My UDL learning goal for this lesson would be, “The students will learn about different kinds of rocks, their origin, and their characteristics through their preferred method and will complete a project to demonstrate their knowledge on the topic.” This learning goal allows students to choose their method of learning and assessment in a way that is comfortable and reasonable for their abilities.  The students would have their choice of learning materials which would include a textbook, audio book, video, digital text, or website to supplement their learning. Giving students the choice of their instructional materials improves their engagement, comprehension on the subject, and their willingness to learn. Then, after they are finished researching about their findings about rocks, I would lecture as whole class using images, videos, and manipulatives while writing key words and concepts on the board. By using all these instructional methods, a teacher’s lesson delivery will reach all the students in the general education classroom. It is important to provide corrective feedback, provide multiple examples, give adjustable levels of challenge, and introduce vocabulary words before the lesson begins. Lastly, I would allow my students to choose their own form of assessment. Assessment options could be writing a paragraph, typing out their explanations, presenting their finding to the class, creating a poster, doing show-and-tell for the class, or by using a combination of images and explanations to show what they have learned from the lesson. For example, a student could show the class rocks they found outside and tell the class the type of rock it is based on color, size, and shape. A student who might choose do a show-and-tell might have trouble writing their thoughts clearly on paper. By allowing students to choose their form of assessment, students get to show more of what they have learned because they are not faced with obstacles.

UDL impacts all learners, even if the student does not have a barrier, in the classroom by it caters to their personal interests, learning style, and abilities and disabilities that allows all students to effectively learn material, show their creativity, and display what they have learned through a variety of ways. Essentially, UDL is all about giving students choices and giving students more individualized instruction based on their strengths and weaknesses.

Ohio Standard 4.2: Teachers use information about students’ learning and performance to plan and deliver instruction that will close the achievement gap.

Ohio Standard 4.5: Teachers differentiate instruction to support the learning needs of all students, including students identified as gifted and students with disabilities.

Ohio Standard 5.5: Teachers maintain an environment that is conducive to learning for all students.

Justification: By using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) teachers can meet the needs of all their students in an inclusive, general education classroom.  UDL differentiates instruction, assignments, and assessments to break down the barriers of learning for students, who may be abled/disabled, so all students have the necessary support and resources for them to succeed in school. Teachers can also you the UDL in correspondence with student performance to provide the necessary means for students to show their knowledge. When utilizing UDL it creates an environment that is beneficial for all students.


Creating An Inclusive Classroom: Embracing Diversity

Embracing diversity and creating an inclusive classroom is very important when starting up my first classroom. The impact of creating an inclusive classroom is that it lets other students learn to appreciate diversity, helps students become open-minded, and lets them feel accepted in the classroom as their authentic self.  In my classroom, I would want it to feel like home for all of my students and families. I believe that for a child to learn, they first must feel welcomed and loved. Diversity can be a student’s culture, religion, gender, race/ethnicity, ability/disability, and/or economic status. A teacher should integrate every student’s identity into the classroom by fitting it into the curriculum. One way to share diversity is through storytelling. This is a wonderful way to capture a child’s curiosity about others (Moore, 2003, p. 42). A teacher could bring in photos of what people grow in their gardens in different parts of the world. More ways of embracing diversity in the classroom is through music, food, and special guests (Moore, 2003, p. 43).  An easy way to implement this into the classroom is by playing music from different locations during nap/snack time or even have the students dance to the beat. Another creative way to introduce cultures to students is by bringing in food from all over the world and trying them together so that the students can explore what other cultures eat.  Also, a teacher could invite special guests into the classroom and let them share stories from a first-person perspective about their personal experiences with diversity.

In my future classroom, I would love to integrate a new piece of diversity each month. For example, one month we would explore Chinese culture. During that month, we would read stories about their way of life, listen to Chinese music during free time, try Chinese food, and even have a guest speaker from China to talk about Chinese culture with the students. Every time we cover a new country, I would hang a flag in the classroom to show our new diverse mindset.

One way to integrate diversity into the classroom without physically having a guest speaker is by using Skype. A teacher could use Skype to have a guest speaker present to the class about diversity from the other side of the world!

Additional Resources:

The Inclusive Classroom as the Best Placement

Building Inclusive Classrooms

Works Cited:

Moore, T. (2003). Giving Children Global Views. Scholastic Early Childhood Today. 41-44.

Ohio Standard 1.4: Teachers model respect for students’ diverse cultures, language skills and experiences.

Ohio Standard 5.1: Teachers treat all students fairly and establish an environment that is respectful, supportive and caring.

Ohio Standard 5.2: Teachers create an environment that is physically and emotionally safe.

Justification: By creating an inclusive classroom through stories, guest speakers, music, and food, it creates a classroom climate that is emotionally safe for all students to embrace who they are. When a teacher introduces and embraces diversity in the classroom, it creates a environment that lets students support, care, and respect each other’s differences also. Then, diverse students feel welcomed and accepted by their peers which creates a better learning environment for all students.


Using Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom

Positive reinforcement encourages good behavior in the early childhood classroom. The idea of positive reinforcement is to not focus on the negative aspects of a student’s behavior, but instead to focus on the positive aspects. The more focus there is on good behavior, the more likely it is that the behavior will be become constant (Foust, 2012, n.p.). There is a misconception that positive reinforcement ignores bad behaviors, but that is not the truth. Positive reinforcement prevents bad behavior from happening in the first place and teaches them to do something desirable instead. In the case of positive 2repeated bad behavior, negative punishment, such as having a note sent home to their parents, will have to occur. Positive reinforcement for classroom behavior means that an individual is rewarded when they make a good choice. For example, when a teacher sees a student help another pick up their books, includes another student in play, or does their homework all week straight, the teacher would reward the student with a prize. A teacher can reward students with progressive rewards. A progressive award system is when the student receives some type of object, like a marble for every good decision they make to keep track of how many points they have. Once the student reaches a specific amount of points, they receive a reward (Foust, 2012, n.p.). You can either have specific small rewards or allow the student to save up for a larger one. A teacher could just verbally reward the student for their work when they see a student making a good choice. A teacher could use charts to track student progress. It is also a good visual aide that allows students to physically see that good behavior leads to a reward because the behavior is marked on a chart by using stickers to display progress. The students could be awarded pencils, class coupons, or a notebook as their prize for displaying good choices. Students are more likely to make good choices when they receive some type of reward or acknowledgment for doing so (Foust, 2012, n.p.). The impact of positive reinforcement on students is that it raises student self-esteem and encourages them to repeat desirable behaviors.


In my future classroom, I would use mini Monopoly boards to track student progress. Every time a student makes a good choice, they get to roll a die and whatever the number is, they get to move that number of spaces. If they make it around the board, they can choose a reward now or save until later. Every time they go around the board, the better the prize gets. If they make a bad choice, they roll the die and whatever the number is they move backwards the number of spaces. I would create stops on the board where they review their behavior and then write about it. I think this creates a fun way to reward good behaviors while discouraging bad ones.

Another way to implement positive reinforcement into the classroom is by keeping track of student behavior online. I would use the app Class Dojo, a behavioral management platform that lets teachers track student progress in real-time. The teacher can set goals, record progress, give instant feedback, and reward students through a point system. The app gives the students a visual representation of their progress with wonderful visuals that keep students engaged. Class Dojo has a convenient combination of student feedback and parent communication features that enhance the app even further.



Additional Resources:

How to Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement for Class Participation

Works Cited:

Foust, K. (2012). Encourage Good Classroom Behavior Using Positive Reinforcement. Bright Hub Education.

Ohio Standard 5.3: Teachers motivate students to work productively and assume responsibility for their own learning.

Justification: Positive reinforcement is a motivator for students to make respectful decisions,  take responsibility for their actions including completing assignments in a timely manner, and work productively during class time. Positive reinforcement rewards positive behavior when students display good actions, complete assignments, and make use of time wisely so students are more likely to repeat those same behaviors in the future.


The Importance of Play in Early Childhood

The importance of play to young children should not be underestimated. One of the biggest advantages of letting a child learn through play is it helps them develop critical social skills. When a child first begins to play they start by playing with inanimate objects such as blocks, dolls, and cars then they move onto to play with their peers. When children start to play with their peers, they learn how to share, take turns, assert themselves, and start to empathize with others. In addition to expressing feelings, children also learn to cope with their feelings as they act out being angry or sad in a situation they can not control when playing with others (Isenberg & Jablongo, 2006, p. 53). These skills cannot be learned through flash cards or by reading a book. Children need to experience it to learn the necessary social skills for their future. Another benefit of learning through play is physical development. Through play, children learn fine motor development skills and body awareness as they go about their daily activities. Research by Isenberg and Jalongo (2006) found that learning to use a writing tool, such as a marker, is an example of fine motor development through play (p. 53). Also, they explain that gross motor development, such as hopping and skipping, develops in a similar fashion (Isenburg & Jalongo, 2006, p. 53).  These basic motor skills then translate into overall, complex skills such as learning to draw or playing hopscotch. Play also stimulates creativity and imagination . When children play dress-up or build a house out of blocks it allows them to step out of their comfort zones and stretch their limits.Play lets children dream the unthinkable and helps them discover their likes and dislikes. The impact of letting children learn through play is that it lets them explore and learn about ideas independently that otherwise may have been overlooked if play was not involved. In conclusion,  children learn and develop the necessary social skills, physical dexterity, and stimulate creativity and imagination through play and their personal experiences. Play should be a priority both outside and inside the classroom so children can have the necessary skills as they grow up.

Additional Resources:

Block Off Time

Children Learn Through Play

Works Cited:

Isenberg, J.P. & Jalongo, M.R. (2006). Creative Thinking and Arts-Based Learning Preschool Through Fourth Grade. 53-55.

Ohio Standard 4.6: Teachers create and select activities that are designed to help students develop as independent learners and complex problem-solvers.

Justification: When teachers integrate play into the early childhood curriculum it lets students become independent learners because they are exploring different ideas, such as the law of gravity, on their own without formal instruction.  When they are exploring different ideas independently,  they will encounter a problem and then unconsciously try to find a solution based upon their observations and conclusions which leads them to be complex problem solvers in the future.


EDpuzzle is a platform that allows teachers to edit and crop any video lesson, add formative assessments into the videos, and track video usage in the classroom or at home. To get started on EDpuzzle, the teacher must create an account and a class online with the necessary content. Then, the student must join the class by either code or link to the online class. EDpuzzle is an awesome website that allows instruction to be online in an easy and convenient place for students to complete video lectures and formative assessments. EDpuzzle would ultimately be for blended learning models such as the flipped classroom or flex model. A teacher could check to see if all students watched the video lecture before class  and answered all the questions that were embedded into the video. Another great feature on EDpuzzle is the ability to embed multiple formative assessments throughout the video to check for understanding. The video simply pauses and a question to the right of the video appears. If the student does not know the answer, they can rewatch a small portion of the video to listen for the answer. The student must watch the video before answering any of the questions and cannot move on in the video until the question is answered.  This lets a teacher see if any students need any supplemental instruction or help before any additional in-class activities take place. A third perk of using EDpuzzle is it’s great for not overloading a student’s cognitive load. Since a teacher can edit and crop videos into any length they may want, they could delete any unnecessary parts of the video that their students may not need to know. Another component of EDpuzzle is that it lets teachers put annotations into the video that allows them to ask rhetorical questions. Lastly, EDpuzzle is engaging and makes students pay attention to the video because they must answer the questions throughout the video before they can move on. EDpuzzle could also be used if a teacher knows they are going to be absent for a day and could make the video lesson for the substitute teacher to use or a teacher could also use it for an absent student to get caught up on lessons. No matter the way you may want to use it, EDpuzzle is an awesome way to present a lesson to students that is engaging, informative, and fun.

Ohio Standard 3.1: Knowledgeable about assessment types, purposes, and resulting data.

Ohio Standard 3.2: Select, develop, and use variety of assessments.

Justification: EDpuzzle demonstrates that teachers are knowledgeable about assessment types, purposes, and resulting data. Edpuzzle is strictly a formative assessment that monitors student learning over a short period of time to provide ongoing feedback and to check understanding. Then, teachers can use the resulting data to improve their teaching technique and to improve students’ knowledge on a topic. EDpuzzle shows that this teacher uses a variety of assessment types to evaluate student progress while reflecting on their practice.


Web 2.0 Tools: Wikispaces Classroom & Comic Life

Wikispaces Classroom by TES is a student writing platform that allows students and teachers to contribute information and materials to help promote a common goal. Teachers can create a classroom that allows them to create online writing projects for students in either groups or individually. Some benefits for students is it allows them to get all the information they need for a class project all in one place. Also, it lets teachers track individual student progress and engagement in real-time to see which students need more encouragement or guidance and promotes organization of activities, resources, conversations, and projects in the classroom. A creative classroom lesson idea for elementary grades would be to create a project where students in small groups would research subtopics of weather. These subtopics could include rain, snow, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Each small group would research only one of these subtopics. Students could write about any characteristics or traits of their subtopic of weather, add photos, or add videos onto the classroom wiki page. After all the groups researched and added their information to the wiki page, other groups will be able to view the information posted and learn about the other subtopics of weather mentioned. The activity will encourage collaboration between students in the classroom while learning the characteristics of rain, snow, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The project should be used as supplemental instruction after initial classroom guidance.

Comic Life is a collaborative digital graphic writing app that allows students or teachers to create a short comic book with images and text to tell a story or relate their understanding of learned materials into a comic. It is a fun and creative way to get students excited and interested in any topic! Students can create the comic from a previous lesson in either groups, individually, or as a class. Even the teachers can create the comic to teach the lesson to students! A classroom lesson idea to implement Comic Life is as an entire class, students can create a comic about how Christopher Columbus founded the Americas. The class can create their own dialogue and insert pictures that they think might have happened during Columbus’ voyage. The activity should be used to reinforce ideas and enhance their learning experiences from previous lessons. Comic Life helps students condense and remember information while spicing up the classroom with their imaginations!

Ohio Standard 4.7: Teachers use resources effectively, including technology, to enhance student learning.

Ohio Standard 5.4: Teachers create learning situations in which students work independently, collaboratively or as a whole class.

Justification: Wikispaces and Comic Life utilizes technology to further reinforce reading, writing, and creativity skills while keeping students engaged in learning. These platforms are valuable because it creates limitless opportunities for group work or independent projects to take place after initial instruction over a specific topic. For example, Wikispaces lets students choose to create an individual or group page about subtopics that will later be presented to other students in small groups or as a whole class which creates collaborative learning situations for students.


Science of Learning and Instruction

The science of learning and instruction connect by the way a student is presented material and how students learn it. While teaching a subject, there are multiple considerations to keep in mind while creating a lesson plan. The first step is to think about the learning objective and the short-term and long-term learning outcome. The second step is to think about how to engage all the students in the subject and determine the predicted outcome and what you want your students to take away from the exercise. A way to improve intellectual engagement is to create projects that appeal to student’s interests or that inspire their curiosity. Most importantly, it is crucial to keep in mind the student’s cognitive load because the working memory has limited capacity. When devising a plan make sure to eliminate all extraneous material and focus on intrinsic and germane cognitive loads. Some ways to improve learning is to limit extraneous material, highlight essential material, do not add on-screen text to narrated animation, place printed words next to corresponding graphics, and present corresponding narration and animation at the same time (Mayer, 2009, p. 763). Lastly, it is imperative to embed long-term goals into short-term plans to get students to subconsciously think about the long-term goal in every assignment they do. Ultimately, the way you teach is the way the students will learn and it is important to keep in mind the connection between the science of learning and instruction when creating lesson materials.

Ohio Standard 4.3: Teachers communicate clear learning goals and explicitly link learning activities to those defined goals.

Ohio Standard 4.4: Teachers apply knowledge of how students think and learn to instructional design and delivery.

Justification: Science of Learning and Instruction focuses on making clear learning goals and communicating those goals to students when making learning materials. Science of Learning and Instruction places a heavy emphasis on cognitive load theories when creating and delivering an effective lesson plan. Therefore, stating learning goals and making instruction explicit, without extraneous material distracting from the intended learning goal, enhances student learning.


Google Lit Trip

I went on a Google Lit Trip using the program Google Earth and it let me explore the whole city of London, England from my laptop! So what exactly is a Google Lit Trip? It is essentially a program that lets your students pick a book from any grade level and lets them follow the book’s setting around to the different places the book takes the characters. Instead of looking at illustrations in a book your students will get a real-life experience by using Google Earth with the book. For example, I chose the book “A Walk In London” and toured places in London the characters actually went. By using Google Earth, I toured the Buckingham Palace,  the Bank of England, and other landmarks right from my laptop. Google Earth not only shows real-life pictures of these landmarks but it can also give a brief tour and information about them too. On my trip, I started at Buckingham Palace, traveled through Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and then onto the River of Thames where the trip ended. I learned not only that the Covent Garden is called the Royal Opera House but also learned that reading can be both interactive and knowledge-building for students about important landmarks around the world. Google Lit Trip surprised me by how many books there were to choose from according to grade level. At any grade level,  Google Lit Trip is an interesting and fun way to spark up the classroom by going on a virtual tour while following a book. In an elementary classroom, I might use Google Lit Trips with students in the future by picking a book from the large selection it offers and go on the journey as a whole class. This way not only are the students practicing reading but it would also introduce students to important places around the United States and the world. Using Google Lit Trips gives reading a whole new dimension and twist into the classroom that will engage students to learn in a fun and interactive way.

Ohio Standard 4.7: Teachers use resources effectively, including technology, to enhance student learning.

Justification: Google Lit Trip utilizes technology effectively while helping students learn better. Children, in grades K-3, will have a better understanding of geography, historical landmarks, and cultures while practicing their reading and comprehension skills. Google Lit Trip enhances student learning because it gives them concrete evidence of the places that a book mentions and increases student engagement.