Posts

Showing posts from August, 2013

How are You More Valuable Than WikiPedia? A Look at #UDL and Taking Notes

Image
Do you remember having to take notes while you were in school? I used to absolutely dread going to ninth grade American History, because I knew that my hand would hurt by the end of Mr. H's 40 minute onslaught of notes. He used to have a giant blackboard that stretched from one side of his room to the other. Like clockwork, he would begin his lecture with a cloud of dust and a flurry of notes. By the end of the period, you were lucky if you could keep up. In a sense, it was the survival of the fittest. If you were good at copying notes, you were successful. If you weren't good at copying notes, then you would automatically fail. Nothing against Mr. H, but this model of note taking isn't the best for today's diverse classrooms. Think about all of the barriers this type of structure poses. Ironically, he is now an administrator! Go figure! :) I would like to share how you can provide options for your students, when it comes to note taking. What is Your Note Taking P

Understanding the #UDL Guidelines: Part 3 - Multiple Means of Represenation (cont'd)

Image
I'm continuing my series on the UDL Guidelines that help support the 3 principles of UDL. We are still focusing on the Guidelines that help support Multiple Means of Representation. Perception Using Language, Expressions, and Symbols Comprehension Today's focus will be on the ingredient of Language, Expressions, and Symbols! The Guideline: Providing students with Multiple Means of Representation can also mean providing options for comprehending language, mathematical expressions, and symbols because written language includes more than letters. How those letters are combined create language and create meaning for our students. Bumper Stickers - "Low-Tech"  For example, when I teach new vocabulary terms, I will often have my students create Bumper Stickers to help define the term. The stickers contain the term, pictures to describe the term, and a slogan to describe the term. I do this because anyone can copy and read a definition, but true understanding

Understanding the #UDL Guidelines: Part 2 - Multiple Means of Represenation

Image
In order to solidify a concept, students need to have it represented in different ways (aka Multiple Means of Representation). The back part of the brain or Recognition Network addresses the “what” of learning and is responsible for how we perceive the world around us.  There's  more to it than just showing information in many different ways because it  involves giving students opportunities to absorb knowledge in their own way. How do we use the Recognition Network to provide our students with Multiple Means of Representation? The UDL guidelines provide us with a recipe to provide learners with different student-centered learning experiences to receive the information. These ingredients are: Perception Using Language, Expressions, and Symbols Comprehension Today's focus will be on the ingredient of perception!  Perception:  When we think of perception, many of think of visuals, but this can also mean providing alternatives for auditory informatio

Understanding the #UDL Guidelines: Part 1 - The Three-Legged Stool

Image
My friend Loui Lord Nelson describes a typical classroom environment as "an ecosystem with a constant interplay between students, the resources, the teacher, and expectations of the environment." Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a scientifically-based framework for addressing learner differences in this classroom ecosystem, with the goal of providing access to ALL learners by eliminating barriers. In my travels as "UDL evangelist" (a term coined by my good friend Jon Mundorf), I have found that teachers have a difficult time understanding the difference between the UDL principles and the guidelines. In my next few posts, I want to help you gain a deeper understanding of these nine UDL guidelines that support each of the three principles of UDL. Aren't Principles and Guidelines The Same?  The answer to this question is no. There is a difference. To illustrate this point, I would like you to think of a three-legged stool. The base or seat of ea

Exploring the #UDL Guidelines: Free #SimpleK12 Webinar

Image
Would you like to ensure that you reach ALL students with your lesson plans? Knowing and applying the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework can help you create a flexible and barrier-free curriculum to reach ALL learning styles and abilities!  The 3 principles of UDL are supported by a total of 9 guidelines, designed to help educators find practical ways to eliminate learning barriers and provide access to all students. Many educators have a basic knowledge of UDL, but lack the knowledge needed to effectively implement it into the curriculum.  Join me on Wednesday, August 14 at 4pm EST for a free SimpleK12 Webinar. I will define each of the 9 guidelines, shares how you can use them to support student learning, and discusses how they support the 3 principles of UDL. For more information or to register, click here . 

Seating Charts + Behavior Management = Class Charts!

Image
It's almost the beginning of the new school year for many of us. No matter if you are prepping your classroom, developing new materials, or creating your lesson plans...we all have one thing in common! We need to develop seating charts! What if there was a way to combine seating charts, manage classroom behavior, and communicate that behavior to parents? Class Charts does exactly that! Seating Charts Made Easy! Many of us use grade management systems like PowerSchool and Infinite Campus; however, many of these programs aren't very user-friendly. I tried out the Class Charts and found it very easy to understand and use. I really liked that I could move students simply by dragging and dropping them into a new seat. In the past, I had to get very creative with how I used other seating chart programs. Class Charts allows me to create a customized seating chart that looks exactly like my room. It's easy to customize your student photos. For example, some students are se

Changing Learning Through the New Edmodo AudioBoo App: Part 3 (Innovative Ideas)

Image
I'm continuing my series on the new Edmodo AudioBoo App. My previous posts have focused on how AudioBoo can help students " show what they know " and why it is considered by many to be the "YouTube of Audio."  Today I want to conclude my series with a few more innovative ideas: Flipping the Classroom The idea of “flipping” the classroom is becoming more popular in 21 st Century. If you are not familiar with this concept, it is the idea that students listen to the lecture outside of the classroom and demonstrate their knowledge and ask questions inside of the classroom. In the classroom, the teacher’s role shifts from a lecturer to a facilitator. The AudioBoo App is another tool that teachers can use to record mini-lessons for their students to listen to. If you are not a big fan of “flipping” your classroom, you (or a student) could record a summary of the “big ideas” learned in class that day. This would be a perfect study tool for students to

Changing Learning Through the New Edmodo AudioBoo App: Part 2

Image
I'm continuing my series on the new Edmodo AudioBoo App. My last post focused on how AudioBoo is considered by many to be the "YouTube of Audio."   Options for Showing What They Know Today’s classrooms are more diverse than ever before. Brain research shows us that not all students learn the same way and how we learn is as different as our DNA. Providing options for students to “show what they know” will solidify learning and help them perform better on one-size-fits-all standardized tests. For example, in many of my classes I have my students demonstrate their knowledge of the “big ideas” of a particular chapter. I sometimes give students the option of writing a paper or creating a PowerPoint presentation; however, this poses a barrier to my auditory learners, who often struggle translate their ideas into a document or slideshow. AudioBoo is the perfect tool to help my auditory learners verbally share their ideas without the barrier of text. I can post an as

Changing Learning Through the New Edmodo AudioBoo App: Part 1

Image
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of testing out the beta version of the Edmodo AudioBoo App. I have used the iPhone App for several months now, but I had no idea how much of a game changer this is for Edmodo. It allows both teachers and students to create audio clips that are easy to upload and share. The best part is that audio clips can be private and contained within your Edmodo group! Imagine the possibilities for integrating the this App into your classroom! Over the next few posts, I want to show you a few ways others are already using the App:  The “YouTube of Audio”  AudioBoo has been described as the “YouTube of Audio” because of its vast library user-generated content. Many teachers are already familiar with using YouTube to illustrate a concept. AudioBoo gives teachers the same option with audio.  Many schools use filtering systems to block YouTube because of the possibility of students accessing inappropriate content. With the AudioBoo App, you can p