Share your thoughts with us

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

Dear fellow educators: My name is Yvonne Domings. In addition to being a researcher and instructional designer at CAST, I am currently part of the Professional Learning Team. CAST is always interested in is stimulating discussion among educators around UDL practices, so thank you for participating in a very interesting discussion about the UDL guidelines on this blog.

We are interested in learning how you found (and decided to comment on) this blog. Please feel free to post a comment letting us know:

  1. Was this blog something you, as an educator, came upon in your research on UDL as a framework for improving your instructional practice?
  2. Were you directed to come and comment as part of an assignment for a course or professional development workshop?

For more interesting discussions about UDL, check out UDL Connect, a community on the  National Center for UDL where people are talking about a variety of topics about UDL.
Thank you in advance for your feedback on this.

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You’ll notice that we’ve intentionally labeled these guidelines as Version 1.0 with the hope that you will contribute suggestions and we will be able to revise and vastly improve the guidelines in future “editions.”

We’ve set up the blog so you can comment on each of the guidelines separately but perhaps you have comments to share on the guidelines as a whole. Here is a place for you to do that.

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Some questions to provoke your thinking and that we would very much like to hear from you about…

Which of the guidelines are relatively easy to apply to your lesson planning, instructional materials, or teaching practices? Which ones do you find particularly challenging to apply? For the ones that are difficult to apply, what would help you?

Are any of the guidelines more important to you than the others? Why?

Are there web-based curricular materials or lessons you feel are good examples of the application of the 3 UDL principles? Which ones?

Do you have examples to add to any of our guidelines?

Have you shared the guidelines with others? If so, in what context? What was the reaction?

We look forward to hearing from you!

424 Responses to Share your thoughts with us

  1. Elizabeth Lance says:

    Hello there!
    I am a grad student at UNC and was directed by my professor to comment here on this website. I have yet to teach but I know when I do I will use UDL in my preschool classroom. I have found everything about it very interesting.

    How would you apply UDL to ECSE curriculum?

    I think it is very easy to apply UDL to EC curriculum. There are so many different ways to teach a concept/idea to the children. Everyday can be a different way of learning that topic. You can range from visual to tactile and auditory. You can write a letter in sand and play dough, shaving cream, and now on tablets. We can go outside and learn, we can fill the sensory table and learn. There are so many ways to teach children in ECE.

    How would you apply UDL to your own classroom or teaching?

    I would use different materials throughout the week to teach our concept/letter/idea. I would use art projects, visuals along with reading a story, maybe music and dance that could reinforce our ideas. In our centers I would have tables with different materials each one relating to the concept but just working it in different ways so each child could experience different activities and play.

  2. Jenny Grace says:

    Hello, I teach kindergarten in Thornton, Colorado. I am taking my first graduate ECSE class and have in interest in teaching preschool. I was directed to this website through an assignment. First, I want to share what I have begun to learn about UDL. In an early childhood classroom, children are just beginning to understand what it means to be an independent thinker and learner. Whole group instruction often isn’t a good fit in a classroom with varied ages, learning styles, and abilities. Curriculum is usually geared toward the “average” student, lacking in differentiated instruction and opportunities for problem-solving and thinking skills. Lessons that are created for students with specific considerations for accessibility and materials provide learning opportunities for all students regardless of language and learning ability. Students also need to be encouraged to interact with their environment and identify themselves as problem solvers. Determining how individuals will succeed and incorporating accommodations creates a supportive learning environment, accessible to everyone. In my current classroom I have several learning strategies in place that I feel are effective; like discussing our daily schedule, vocabulary lessons, and setting learning objectives. While reading about UDL, I’ve learned that what I do in the classroom is often effective, but additions and modifications to those strategies can be even more beneficial for my students. Our schedule tells my students what our day will be like. To modify the schedule, I could provide pictures and clocks with the words to create a visual schedule and support children who aren’t reading. Our vocabulary lessons include a verbal discussion with some pictures as we talk about the meaning of the words they may see in stories. In addition, we could include sentences and examples that contain the vocabulary words, while keeping in mind that phrases and terms may be cultural and have other meanings. In my classroom I have very specific goals and learning objectives for the lessons I teach and individual students. A modification that would likely increase student motivation would be to include the students in conversations about their own goals. I could also share learning objectives in kid-friendly terms during instruction so that they know the purpose for what we are doing and learning. I have enjoyed this website and appreciate the useful information to provide a strong education for the kids that I work with. Thank you! Jenny

  3. Tonya D says:

    I think UDL can be applied in the EC/ECSE curriculum and instruction by differentiating for all students. In preschool we get to know our students very well, as well as their families. This makes it a natural fit to apply UDL as we know what makes them tick in class, and we also learn about their culture and home environment which can play a big role in education and how one learns. Is it visual or auditory learning that suits them best, do they need hands on, assistive technology, stimulation during an activity, or sensory experiences? Oftentimes, a child with an IEP will already have such items in place like sensory breaks, or an FM radio device.

    I think UDL is applied in my own classroom through visual schedules, choice boards, sensory integration, multiple ways and opportunities to demonstrate knowledge, team work, small and large choices, positive behavior supports, scaffolding, multiple ways of presenting the same information in the lesson, Ipad learning, and ownership of the classroom just to name a few.

    While many aspects of UDL seem as though they might be above a preschool learners level I think we can incorporate them in minute ways such as goal setting, which I do with my high level learners. For instance, I ask their opinion if they think they are ready and want to move to lined paper for writing. My kids develop mindsets that they are problem solvers because myself and my team acknowledge any way they demonstrate it by announcing to the class that so and so just solved a problem. We teach self regulation by learning how our body feels when we have an emotion, and what we can do with that emotion in appropriate manner. We teach about being a productive member of a team and how to self evaluate your own work. I think all of the mindsets need to start at the preschool level to build confidence in kids and using UDL is a mindset for teachers to give every kid the greatest opportunity to learn possible.

  4. Nicole Hills says:

    Hello, My name is Nicole and I am a graduate student at UNC studying ECSE. Right now, I am currently an instructional coach in a Pre-K through Grade 4 school. After viewing the UDL powerpoint, it is crucial for the Universal Design of Learning be implemented in all ECSE lessons on a daily basis. Although it is not possible to integrate every component of the UDL in every class, teachers can plan an effective lesson and use a variety of strategies. Today’s classrooms can be very diverse and teachers need to meet their needs by using the UDL to reach all learners. In the beginning of the year, teachers will need to gain knowledge about each and every student by assessing them in the classroom environment. This will give teachers how each child learns best and provide activities around the student’s needs. From that point on, its the teacher’s job to create and design a learning environment and lessons for all students so they have an opportunity to learn and grow.

    UDL can be integrated in the ECE or ECSE classrooms in a variety of ways. I feel I provide multiple means of engagement in the early childhood environment such, as a variety visual posters, project-based learning projects, and using cooperative learning structures. Within the second principle, I have created a variety of ways to present information. For example, I have used video clips for engagement, used realia/books to capture interest, brought in guest speakers or used Skype in the classroom. Being a former kindergarten teacher I have used bubbly seats, pencil modifications, stress balls for individual students based on their needs to support their learning. I have also allowed young children to express their learning in a variety of ways, such as writing, talking, drawing, or showing their learning. It is imperative In an early childhood environment that teachers have the opportunity to design learning environments that will meet the needs of the children’s needs and abilities by using the UDL framework.

  5. Robin Grabham says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for sharing all of the great resources to help support all students! I have known about UDL for many years, but this website is a good reminder for me to continue to be mindful of how I can help with the learning process when I am teaching. I’m grateful to my professor for assigning us to review your website.

    UDL focuses on providing multiple means of presentation, action and expression, as well as, engagement. All of these are relevant to early childhood education (ECE) through adult education. When creating curriculum for ECE, Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter, and Pretti-Prontczak recommend targeting behaviors for instruction for all children regardless if they have a disability or not. This aligns with the philosophy of UDL. Frequently, people use accommodations for children with special needs for things like presentation and expression and occasionally for self-regulation. In my experience as an educator, engagement often gets lost along the way. The recommendations from your website highlight important things to consider regarding engagement like “recruiting interest, sustaining effort and persistence, and providing options for self-regulation”.

    There are a myriad of ways in which I can incorporate UDL in my classroom. I frequently use visuals to support auditory instruction. For example, when I am teaching how to solve a math problem, I use manipulatives to physically show the concept in a concrete manner and I write down the steps of the math problem and I think aloud my process for solving the problem. When it comes to self-regulation, I like to teach from Zones of Regulation. It provides many visuals to help support self-regulation.

    I will be referencing your website frequently. Thank you!

    Best Regards,
    Robin Grabham

  6. Meg Henry says:

    Hello! My name is Meg Henry, I am also in the ECSE masters program through UNC. UDL was first introduced to me in my my very first graduate level course and all I could ask myself was, “how have I not heard of this before!” I think UDL is essential to the early childhood classroom as this method of instruction allows for a variety of ways for children to access materials and respond/engage. For example, picture cards, tangible materials, video modeling, songs with actions, etc. Coyne, Kame’enui, and Carine (2007) describe six main principles:
     Big Ideas – the concepts that anchor the smaller ideas
     Conspicuous Strategies – teaching explicitly the clear and useable steps to solving a problem
     Mediated Scaffolding – temporary support and assistance provided by the teacher
     Primed Background Knowledge – recalled prerequisite skills and knowledge needed for learning a new task
     Strategic Integration – planning lessons that will connect all academic areas to the “big ideas.”
     Judicious Review – giving students opportunities to review what they have learned
    I apply these ideas in my lessons by using visuals with pictures, words, and ASL. I also use songs with motions to go along with pretty much everything we talk about from routines and letter sounds, clean up and transitions, and even concept development.

  7. Kaitlyn Pettigrew says:

    Hello! My name is Kaitlyn Pettigrew and I am a graduate student at UNC.
    I think the UDL strategies can easily be applied to an early childhood curriculum! It is a great way to work on reaching all children and teaching different ways of acquiring knowledge and in demonstrating what they already know.
    When I went through my undergrad, we were taught to incorporate many different ways for children to learn in the same lesson, so I am already used to using this method in my instruction. When I teach a new letter to my preschoolers, I work all week on creating new experiences and ways of learning and practicing this letter. On Mondays, I introduce the letter by reading a story filled with words that begin with that letter, we also read a poem, sing a song, and look in that letter box (filled with toys and objects starting with that letter). On Tuesdays, we do a much more kinestetic approach to learning by making the letter with our bodies practicing writing that letter in sand, paint, shaving cream, or building it with playdoh. On Wednesday, we practice writing the letter on the Ipad, practice saying the letter name and sound as we trace the letter shape with dot markers and we find whose name in our class contains that letter. On Thursday, we go for a letter hunt around the classroom, and each child will take home a book containing words that begin with that letter. I try to gear the learning to all students in my class by having many experiences and a variety of varying opportunities to learn. My letter instruction certainly incorporates many of the UDL guidelines, especially physical action, comprehension, language and symbol teaching, perception, and recruiting interest.
    When I incorporate the UDL guidelines in my classroom, I see much higher student engagement, and learning.

    • Tonya D says:

      Hi Kaitlyn, Ditto here. This a big focus when I did my undergraduate degree as well. Since I differentiate for all kids it seems a natural process to apply UDL guidelines across the classroom including the children with disabilities. However, some areas are a bit too deep for my kids, especially areas that apply to goals and objectives. Sometimes my kids can’t look past getting to recess let alone planning ahead or understanding why we are learning something. I do like the UDL design though and think it helps me take a deeper understanding of where I can lead my kids. Thanks for a great post. Tonya

    • Robin Grabham says:

      Hi Kaitlyn,

      I had a similar experience in my undergrad studies in that we were taught to use multiple means for instructing children and allowing for multiple means for students to demonstrate their understanding. At that time, the concept was taught as part of “differentiated instruction” which was originally coined by Dr. Virgil Ward in his work with students who were gifted and talented. Differentiated instruction aligns with the Universal Design for Learning philosophy of supporting the students’ learning rather than forcing students to all fit in the same box. I am really appreciative that there is a better understanding of diversity within learning because I was one of those students who did not excel in a one size fits all classroom.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Best,
      Robin

    • Elizabeth Lance says:

      Kaitlyn,
      I can see UDL in your everyday instruction. It is so easy to implement UDL in the preschool setting, I think teachers are already using numerous ways of teaching ideas and curriculum to the children. It just makes sense to use different materials and methods to teach the lesson through the week. By the end of the week it has “stuck”!

    • hmpratz says:

      Hi Kaitlyn,
      Thanks for sharing a concrete example of how to teach a concept with multiple modes of instruction. When I do this, I think it is so interesting to see which students grasp onto which mode. I like to think of my students as in little groups of learning styles and make sure each lesson incorporates them all so that each student has the opportunity to learn new material in the way he/she learns best. I agree that this keeps them more engaged and learning to their highest potential.
      Cheers,
      Holly

  8. Erin Thompson says:

    I feel like I apply UDL in many aspects of my classroom being a special education preschool classroom. I do however always feel there is room for improvement. I often times get new ideas for UDL in the classroom from my co-workers. When I observe them in their classroom I see all the ways that they differentiate for their students. I use varying difficulties of worksheets during my morning work time and during small groups I group students based on level and what goals they are currently working on. I have found that principle III on engagement is one that I am always working on and changing in my classroom. Because my students are 3-5 they already struggle with attention and engagement so I am always looking for new ways to keep them engaged at whole group instruction. This is often times through movement or visuals that are appealing, but again I am always looking for new ideas. I also use fidget toys for students with higher needs that really struggle to attend to whole group instruction.

    • Tonya D says:

      Hi Erin, Your right there is always room for improvement in all of us I feel. I also get many ideas from co-workers and especially when I have a chance to observe them. Recently, I was in 4 different classroom and it was especially interesting to watch them interact with their students who had disabilities. One classroom I was in did a really nice job of providing alternatives for auditory information such as a visual schedule and a first and then chart. Another had a student who could totally manage his visual schedule all on his own. These are inspirations I take back to my classroom and push my students with a disability a little further. Nice post. Tonya

    • Jenny Grace says:

      Hi Erin, I agree that engagement with younger students can be challenging. When we work with larger groups of students it can be tough to differentiate the content so that all of the students are working at their instructional level. We have found that a “Workshop” Model, Guided Math and Reading, has made a big difference in engagement and student success! Whole group instruction is only 15 minutes at the most. The students have independent and partner work time, in addition to reflection. We are able to structure lessons so that we can flexibly group students by needs. These groups range from 1-5 students and can change daily. The students have become more dependent and responsible for their own learning. Their ability to communicate ideas and problem-solve has been so much fun to watch as they grow and practice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas Erin!

    • Meg Henry says:

      Hi Erin,
      Thank you for your post. I also feel that I get the best ideas from my co-teachers. It is great that we work in a field that utilizes collaboration and sharing of ideas. I know I could not do this job without the help of my amazing team! I also do small groups with my class and sometimes I find that it works well for me to group a high, medium, and low achieving students so that they can help each other. Just like we learn form other teachers, the kiddos learn from their peers.
      Meg

  9. Kim Kosht says:

    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Kim Kosht. I am currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Special Education Master’s Program through the University of Northern Colorado. After many years teaching kindergarten, I decided to jump in the amazing world of early childhood special education. I serve as an ESCE in an integrated preschool on the Western Slope of Colorado. This website was recommended to me by my advisor and professor.

    How can UDL be applied to the EC/ESCE curriculum and/or instruction?

    In order to meet the needs of our students with and without exceptionalities, it is imperative to incorporate Universal Design to design curricula, lessons, and interventions. The three basic principals include multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. As facilitators, teachers, and designers these principals should be evident to ensure maximum student success. Multiple means of representation in the early childhood setting includes using pictures, realia, and hands on type experiences. When thinking about expression in early childhood the teacher should be cognizant to provide opportunities for physical response, access to learning and assistive technologies. Providing opportunities for engagement seems easily applicable in an early childhood setting. Open learning centers and child initiated discovery time, lead to high engagement. Learning centers contain natural venues for differentiation and scaffolding. The more I understand about UDL the more I realize how many ways it can be applied in the early childhood classroom.

    How can UDL be applied in my own classroom or teaching?

    Early in the fall, I rearranged my classroom to provide universal design through the environment in my classroom. I believe that each year’s student’s require different environmental needs such as help accessing materials, to providing certain spaces to best meet the needs of each student. Providing realia, pictures and total physical response in stories and songs during circle and free choice time deepens the students understanding. This year, one of my favorite strategies has been to teach the story backwards. I show the realia from the story, act it out, and then we read the story. This technique increases the interest, attention and comprehension in my students. The biggest gains in comprehension have been in my ELL and special needs students. UDL in my classroom also includes multiple means of engagement such as open learning labs. For example the marble works station in the science lab has provided opportunities for persistence, and problem solving for all students with variable learning abilities.

    • Amelia Wojtusiak says:

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on UDL. You made a lot of really great points throughout your response. I liked how you mentioned that children need open learning centers and child initiated discovery time. I believe that to be incredibly important and really put an emphasis on providing students with a long choice time during the school day. I feel like this is where we see the child show the most engagement with the environment and with peers. I also believe that this is the best time to collect data and conduct informal assessments because this is when the child is most comfortable and able to perform as their best self.

    • Robin Grabham says:

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for sharing your ideas on how you incorporate UDL in your classroom!

      It was new to me to learn about your idea of “teaching a story backwards”. In UDL terms, this might be considered activating or supplying background knowledge through pre-teaching critical prerequisite concepts through demonstration (e.g., acting out the story). It seems like your strategy may be more of a forward thinking way of telling a story! 😉

      Thanks again!

      Best,
      Robin

    • Elizabeth Lance says:

      Kim,
      I love the idea of teaching the story backwards. I have never heard of that, it sounds fun. How interesting that the ELL and special needs show the biggest gain in comprehension. I wonder what it is about your technique that is clicking with them!?
      Thanks for the thoughts, that was interesting!

  10. hmpratz says:

    Hello! My name is Holly Pratz, and I teach kindergarten and first grade in a small, rural town in Southwest, Colorado. Our school has about 70 students K-12 with all classrooms being multiage, so UDL is an important aspect of the way we need to teach. Currently, I am a graduate student working towards a master’s degree in early childhood special education which is another area of education where UDL is extremely important. One of my classes asked that I post on this board, and I am excited to share some of my thoughts on UDL with a broader audience and see what everyone else has to say!

    My school is a part of the nation-wide network of EL (formerly Expeditionary Learning, http://eleducation.org/) Schools. The EL philosophy grew out of the principles of Outward Bound as a way to incorporate those ideas into elementary and secondary curricula. Developing curricula under the guidelines of EL incorporates all aspects of UDL and therefore I use UDL on a daily basis in my classroom. One significant idea from UDL that I see often in EL is the idea of using background knowledge. When beginning to learn about a new topic, EL encourages teachers to start with what they call a “Building Background Workshop.” Students dive into a new/unknown area of study spending time collecting what they already know and adding new background knowledge that will help them understand new content that they will learn. This background knowledge helps them activate schema, form connections, and remember the new information. For example, a study on China may begin by examining artifacts from China, photographs, text, film, and food over the course of a week. The students would take notes and discuss what they are seeing. This information would be referred to, added to, and refined throughout the course of study. Throughout this time, the students would be forming connections to new information and remembering more than they might if new information was simply introduced without any background knowledge. I think that this is such an important part of UDL because learners with special needs, such as an ELL student or one with a disability, can understand and remember so much more when those connections are formed.

    UDL is especially important in early childhood education settings because children have such varying levels of development in the different domains such as physical, cognitive, speech/language, adaptive, and social/emotional skills. In order for teacher to meet each child at his/her developmentally appropriate level and help him/ her reach desired goals, the classroom environment needs to be able to support the different levels. This is accomplished when teachers provide multiple means of representation, multiple means for action and expression, and multiple means for engagement as UDL suggests. Again, I would like to highlight the UDL principle of providing options for comprehension, and more specifically activating or building background knowledge, as especially important for early childhood because I think that young children are learning so much every day that it is more meaningful to them if they can connect new information to something they with which they are already familiar.

    • Erin Thompson says:

      Hi Holly,

      I was really interested to hear about how UDL works in such a small school. When you talked about the classroom being multi-age and that is so similar to what we run into in Early Childhood. I will have students start in my classroom who have just turned 3 and are just starting on pre-academics or just learning to communicate. Or I will have 5 year olds that are being prepared to go to kindergarten the next year and may be showing signs of being gifted. I feel like at this age group we are constantly differentiating and using those core 3 principles of UDL. I particularly could relate with what you said about multiple means of representation. I run into this every day during whole group instruction and I am always trying to find different ways to get the information to all the students in the classroom and at the same time keeping them all engaged. I think UDL is such an important part of the classroom and big part of this is because of the time and energy it takes to implement it well. Thanks for your insight on this .

  11. Kim Robles says:

    UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction, but first we need to observe and assess each child individually, to gain knowledge as to what kind of learners they are in order to figure out what types of accommodations and modifications are needed if any, however we may need to use accommodations or modifications to assess. This is a process of evaluating and monitoring what works and what doesn’t? Unlike traditional views there are no two children alike and one curriculum does not work for all. This doesn’t mean we don’t have the same high expectations for all. We do! It is up to us to find a way to help children reach these expectations and the earlier the better. Providing the key concepts of UDL; Representation of content- what is being taught, or what we want students to know and be able to do. Means of action and expression- ways students go about making sense of what they are learning and being able to demonstrate it. And Engagement- ways students can become involved in their learning. All three are essential for the foundation of early learning and can be provided through the use of accommodations, modifications, technology, differentiated materials, and alternative assessments.

    As a Special Education Teacher I feel I implement UDL on a daily basis. I provide Accommodations, modifications, differentiated materials, technology, alternative assessments and interventions, in all my classes. I carefully consider the needs of each and every child when creating lesson plans and making team decisions for student goals on IEP’s. Most importantly, UDL allows me to help my students find ways to better help themselves academically and in life.

    • Kristie Donathan says:

      Kim,
      You mentioned the key concepts of UDL as representation of content, expression, and engagement. I completely agree that these are needed in preschool. You also mentioned that one curriculum does not work for all. I agree that one strategy or intervention does not work for all, but sometimes we are tied to one curriculum and that is where modification comes into play. It sounds like this is what you do. We use Creative Curriculum and our ECSE’s modify and differentiate lessons for their kid, but they do not use a different curriculum. It sounds like you are doing great things in your class.

      Kristid Donathan

    • Natalie Rieboldt says:

      Hi Kim, you are so right, the earlier the better! I like how you phrased your description, as each child varies so much, we really have to make modifications and adaptions to each student, but first we need to get to know the student before changes can enhance their learning experience. Natalie

  12. Kerri Crocker says:

    Hi! I am graduate student at UNC studying ECSE. I am also fortunate enough to work full time as a Preschool Director in an inclusive Community Preschool.

    One of the things that I picked up on in reading your description of UDL is the ides that a universal approach to curriculum needs to be addressed during the development of the lesson, rather than retrofitted into an existing curriculum.

    In ECE and ECSE, I think that considering UDL in all lessons is imperative to reaching all learners. In the Preschool where I work, for instance, we have a multi age classroom for children ages 3-5. In order to give all children access to all activities, we have to regularly consider the children’s varied skill levels, individual needs and style of learning. I agree that these things should be considered while lessons are being designed in order to be most effective and authentic.

    UDL can be utilized in a ECE or ECSE classroom in so many ways. Providing picture schedules and visual choices allows all children to be active in the classroom processes. Carefully arranging the classroom environment allows the reduction of distraction and can promote self regulation strategies. Recently, I have learned about how technology such as communication devices and choice programs (we just stared to use Choiceworks) can promote UDL.

    I am so excited to read more ideas on this blog!

    • Natalie Rieboldt says:

      Hi Kerri, I will look into Choiceworks, so many programs are new to me. This week I was brain storming with my co-teacher and we really waned to create social emotional videos with the kids, as we were seeing a lot of aggressive behavior, and I think some of my books and guiding pictures are getting a little old. I always notice we really can’t learn if basic safety awareness and norms are not in place. Thanks for posting! Natalie

    • Amelia Wojtusiak says:

      Hi Kerri,

      I too am learning about different communication devices that can support students. It’s really cool how far technology has come and how we can use them in the classroom as a tool for our students. Thanks for sharing about Choiceworks; that is a tool I hadn’t heard of and I look forward to doing some research on it. In my classroom we have begun to incorporate a tool called Pictalo which allows us to video students during the day and add words to their play. It has been really exciting to see their faces light up as they interact with peers sharing videos and language about their day.

    • Meg Henry says:

      Hi Kerri,
      I like how you mention the importance of the environment and how this is a part of the planning process. I agree and think that this element if sometimes overlooked when thinking of lessons.
      I am also glad to hear you are working with Choice Works. That app can be used in so many ways and can really help the little ones manage their day and what is expected of them. How are you liking it so far?
      Meg

  13. Amelia Wojtusiak says:

    Hello. My name is Amelia. I am a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado. I am currently working towards earning my Master’s degree in ECSE. I hope to make a positive impact on the quality of early childhood education that is able to in my community.
    I believe that UDL should be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and instruction throughout every single day. Every student we teach is different from the next; it is important that we as educators differentiate our instruction to support their individual needs. Especially when working in the realm of special education, it is very important that we provide our students with an education that is inclusive and in the least restrictive environment; using UDL is a way for us to provide our students with the education that they are entitled to. We can provide our students with UDL by being intentional with the way we present our language, content, classroom environment, and materials used. I am always looking to improve my practice and I am looking forward to reading how others implement UDL in their classrooms.

    I have applied UDL to my classroom and teaching in many different ways. From offering cube chairs and wiggle seats at circle, to leveling the materials available on our arrival tables for students to work with; everything we do is specifically planned to support students of various developmental and physical abilities. One example of this is how we display our puzzles for student use. Whenever we put out puzzles we make sure that there are single piece puzzles, puzzles with a few pieces, and puzzles that are a bit more challenging available. This helps use provide an environment that students can be successful in no matter their ability. I even like to manipulate the arrangement of the puzzles so that students who will likely chose a single piece puzzle will be sitting next to a child who will likely chose a more difficult puzzle. This helps us to promote social interactions among peers as well.
    When planning table top work we always try to scaffold the materials so that all students can be successful at the activity no matter their ability. For example; if the activity involves cutting and gluing we try to provide the materials to students so that they are challenged to a point that is appropriate for them specifically. A child who is capable of cutting out shapes will receive materials that may require them to cut everything out themselves; a child who is proficient at cutting but still needs support will receive the same materials but with less cutting; a child who is in the emerging stages of cutting will receive the same materials but the requirement of snipping; a child who is emerging with snipping will receive the same materials but might also use adaptive scissors. This has helped us to provide students with the supports they need to be independent and successful while working along side their peers.

    • hmpratz says:

      Hi Amelia,
      I like how you related the use of UDL to a child’s success in all of your examples. Your examples reminded me that part of UDL is bigger picture and more complicated, but the other part is the small everyday things like choosing the right amount of cutting for each child. And that both the big and small aspects of UDL are there to support each student’s success. I teach K-1 and when it comes time for us to cut out a lot of things during a lesson or project, I often forget that some kindergarteners are still not proficienct in cutting with scissors! It is easy enough to help them on a whim, but sometimes I find myself forgetting to plan for those small things because I tend to focus on the bigger picture. Thanks for the reminder!
      Sincerely,
      Holly Pratz

    • Erin Thompson says:

      Hi Amelia,
      I too have tried things like cube chairs and wiggle seats at my whole group instruction area and have found this helps a lot with engagement. I really like your idea of how you organize the puzzles. We do puzzles after our morning work in my classroom and I like the idea of having them set up that way and making it easier for some of my students to more independently pick a puzzle that is appropriate for them. Thanks for the great examples from your classroom!

      • Amelia Wojtusiak says:

        HI Erin,

        Happy to help! It’s wild how something as small as the number of pieces in a puzzle can make such an impact on the flow and instruction in the classroom.

    • Nicole Hills says:

      Hello Ameila,
      I really appreciate your specific examples of how you integrate UDL into your lessons. You are giving the scaffolds needed for all your students in your classroom so all different learners can be successful in their learning. It sounds like you are providing a variety of materials for your students to demonstrate their learning. Do your students monitor their own progress and move on to the next level of difficulty?

  14. Lisa Sagal says:

    My name is Lisa Sagal, and I am working in the capacity of a visiting ECSE for 3 different preschool classrooms in my county. I work with children with exceptionalities in their inclusive general education environments. Universal Design for Learning is most definitely needed in these early learning centers. So many of these kiddos have different strengths and areas of need that they should be able to access the curriculum in a way that feels right to them. Some children are serious visual learners; they function better when they can see a visual plan of what is going to happen next, such as displayed through the use of picture schedules or “First/Then” boards. Other children are extremely tactile in their learning, and must touch and manipulate physical items in order to heighten their understanding. Still others learn best through audio presentation of songs with catchy tunes and lyrics. It is important to appeal to all facets of environmental input to make sure all kinds of learners are being reached through direct instruction.

    UDL can be applied to the classrooms I work in by integrating these aforementioned sensorial experiences into a learning representation. Some people will learn how to do the craft project of the day by listening to the instructions, some will learn by watching, others will want a visual step-by-step instruction board to follow, and still others will learn by doing the project with their own hands. When responding to a certain lesson about numbers, one student may be able to answer verbally to demonstrate understanding, another student may hold up fingers or a number card to show how many, and yet another may stomp his foot three times. This is an example of UDL response variations or expression. In our classrooms, engagement also looks different for various individuals. Some children are extremely independent, some will require visual or verbal prompting, or support from a staff member or peer, and some will need total physical, hand-over-hand prompting to participate in an activity. Participation will appear different as well. We may see children really moving materials, being vocal and interacting with their peers, some may be playing or exploring quietly nearby, and others may be taking it all in through their eyes and ears in a watchful observation-like state. Learning occurs in diverse ways.

    • Kristie Donathan says:

      Lisa,
      You have great insight on differentiation and modification. I appreciate your comments about engagement. So much of the time we think about different learning styles when we are planning an activity, but often do not think about learning styles when thinking about engagement. Thank you for your thoughtful response and insight.

      Kristie

    • Kim Kosht says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Your position as a traveling ECSE is interesting to me. It would be fascinating to work in three different preschool environments. From your post, I can tell you have a great deal of knowledge and you apply UDL strategies for all types of learners. When you offer suggestions for individual students to the other directors, are they open to your ideas? In three different preschools, do you find collaboration difficult? Do the teachers follow through and use the “first/then” boards with the student with special needs?
      I am the ECSE/Director for morning and afternoon classes. I have two teacher assistants and SLP and OT support. Sometimes getting everyone on the same page in this setting is difficult. Thanks for sharing.

      • Lisa Sagal says:

        Hi Kim,
        Yes, spreading time between different classrooms can be challenging. My team and I really try hard to meet formally monthly to discuss strategies being implemented and if they are working, and informally as needed. While teachers may be open to ideas, it’s really up to them to utilize them on a regular basis because they are with the kiddos 7.5 hours every day, and I am just a weekly visitor. The general consensus is that First/Then boards and individualized visual schedules that the kiddos can manipulate and touch are effective tools. Collaboration is interesting at one of my locations because there is a strong difference in opinions between my therapeutic team (ECSE, OT, SLP) and the teachers. As I said before, they are the ones who are in the classroom dealing with children the majority of the time. We may make suggestions, model strategies and techniques for engagement, and create supportive materials, but it’s up to the teachers to have buy-in.

  15. Shelby Smith says:

    The Universal Design for Learning can be applied to EC/ECSE instruction in all areas of instruction. When planning a lesson in early childhood or in special education a teacher should focus on each individual student and the ways each are motivated and learn best. Within special education it is important to consider the unique differences in those students ability to participate in different activities. Using UDL will help teachers to make sure all students will have access to the curriculum and/or lesson being taught. Each of the three principles are important to consider for all students. Using multiple ways of representation for all learners will include the use of different visual, auditory, or sensory inputs that will motivate and help all students. Allowing students to use their own form of expression in all areas to express their learning and understanding is also important in any classroom. Engagement is tricky for all students as each student will be motivated in their own way. It is necessary for teachers to get to know each student and what will interest them most to help all students make connections and build that motivation to stay focused and learning.
    Within my current teaching position I use UDL strategies everyday. I have special needs students with a variety of needs ranging from visual, auditory, sensory, and cognitive. With my lessons taught from a book I include outside pictures or objects students can hold that represent what is being talked about. I also use the promethean board for hands on interaction for students that benefit more from hands on learning. I use a microphone to amplify my voice which helps all students and I also have a microphone that is directly connected to one of my student’s hearing aids. Many of my students use communication devices to answer questions and to ask for things they might need. All students within my special education class are able to communicate their knowledge and their needs in their own way that works best for them. I believe the UDL strategies can be beneficial for all learners and it is important for teachers to consider when planning and implementing the curriculum.

    • hmpratz says:

      Hi Shelby,
      I have not yet had the opportunity to work with a child who is hard of hearing or visually impaired, so I was interested in the accomodations you use for these students. Do you use sign language at all? With so many options for assisstive technology these days, I wonder if children who are hard of hearing are still being taught sign language. Even though my students are not facing these challenges, I still like to include something for them to hold when we read books at times. I have several stuffed animals that are characters from books we read. Learning is an emotional experience, and I think it deepens their comprehension of the character when they connect with a “stuffy.” Plus it is really cute!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Holly Pratz

      • Shelby Smith says:

        Hi Holly,
        I do use sign language with all of my students. Some students are able to pick up on it and use it better than others. We try to use all modalities and it helps us determine which one the student will be most successful with. My student that is hearing impaired has actually been more successful using the communication device as her motor skills make it hard for her to imitate sign language. I have a small stuffy collection in my room and my students love sitting with the stuffed animals during the day it is a great way for them to feel comfortable. Thank you for your insights!
        Shelby Smith

  16. Taryn Long says:

    Hello all!

    I am a graduate student at UNC. This website was recommended to us by our professor. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to explore this website as the links included provide awesome strategies.

    UDL is an essential component for all students not just those on IEP’s. Presenting information to students in a variety of ways is critical since all our students learn in different ways. Having three children of my own, UDL is something we do on a daily basis as a mother. I modify how I present the information based on which of my children I am instructing. As teachers, using different modalities ensure we encompass all learners based on their unique and individual learning needs.

    For example, transitions can be difficult for many preschool children. It is hard to stop an activity you enjoy and move to something less motivating. In order to support this process and avoid behaviors associated with the transitions providing children with a transition support can be very beneficial. The use of timers provides both auditory and visual input. Another strategy is the use of a transition object. By providing the child with a transition object can help eliminate the stress associated with transitions.
    Incorporating technology can also be very effective. Technology is highly motivating for most children as it gives them instant gratification. Learning games on the computer can provide different strategies for teaching skills. It is a very visual option and can provide positive reinforcement for learning which supports engagement.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    Applying UDL in the classroom or teaching should be planned and proactive versus reactive. Having these strategies in place in the beginning sets a classroom up for success. Incorporating UDL strategies begins by forming a relationship with each individual children and determining what makes them “tick”. From there, I can begin to design my lessons to support each individual learning style. For example, if I know a student is a visual learner I am going to focus instruction from a different approach then for an auditory learner. Likewise, our expectations of how a child demonstrates comprehension should be varied. Giving children options of how to show they understand is important. A child who struggles with communication may not be able to tell you his colors but can identify them and/or match colors to demonstrate comprehension.

    • Nicole T Masciana says:

      Hi Taryn,

      Thank you for sharing your input on presenting information to students in a variety of ways. I also believe that doing so can eliminate undesirable behaviors before they start, and set up student success through positive and accommodating supports. I like the strategies you mentioned: using a timer for a visual aid, a tangible transition object and technology incorporation. I have used all three of these approaches as well, and find them to be super successful when accommodating for our visual, auditory and tactile learners. Apply UDL in our classrooms supports engagement and reinforcements for learning. I’m glad you were able to share a bit of your positive experiences for the rest of us to reflect upon. Thanks!

      Nicole

    • Lisa Sagal says:

      Hi Taryn,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on UDL. It’s interesting that we often integrate so many representation and engagement opportunities in succession. You referred to transitions. Often we will prompt with with a visual “First/Then” board, then give a timer to tick down the minutes until the transition, provide a sound cue when it’s time to make the switch in activities, hand out a transition object or use peer partnering for natural supports, and sometimes more! By feeding the sensorially preferred mode of receiving input, we hope to appeal to everyone in one way or another so they know what to expect and how to move forward in a common daily procedure.

    • Kaitlyn Pettigrew says:

      Taryn,

      Thanks for your thoughts! It was interesting hear about your thoughts with incorporating technology. I agree that it is highly motivating, and it gives them a different strategy for learning a concept. It gives them a different way of interacting with the instructional materials and is definitely a component of UDL strategies.
      Great thoughts!

    • Kim Kosht says:

      Hi Taryn,
      I appreciate the depth of your post. I love the way you begin UDL by establishing a relationship with the student. I agree completely that this is essential. As teachers begin to understand the child, we then can provide for his/her UDL needs. Yes, UDL needs to be intentional and proactive in lesson plans as well as in the environment. I have several students with sensory issues. We found we needed to rearrange the classroom to meet these students’ needs by providing a quiet, closed space with headphones and weighted blankets. In addition, we purposely use certain materials in the sensory table. We use only organics that can be digested, as one student attempts to eat anything with a certain texture. Truly, providing universal design for learning creates excellent opportunities for student success.
      Thanks for a great post Taryn.

    • Shelby Smith says:

      Hi Taryn,
      I like that you included information on transitions times as transitions are hard for all children including in the elementary setting. I use times that have the visual of the time going down so they can see when the switch is coming soon. I also give verbal reminders as the time is getting closer to switching, “five more minutes; one more minute”. It seems to help some of my students to know the transition is coming. We also sing songs during clean up times or when we are lining up to move to a different classroom. I agree with you that relationships need to be built with each individual student to learn what will best support each student from the very beginning.
      Thank you for sharing!
      Shelby Smith

  17. Nicole T Masciana says:

    Hi all,
    First, I am happy to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the UDL discussion board! I love being able to relate to the Principles of UDL as well as learn about new, great resources that help really help to support the children that we all work with. Next, I’d like to answer the question, “How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?” I believe that UDL can be applied to the EC/ECSE curriculum when assisting educators with planning lessons and units of study, as well as goals, method and assessments in order to reduce barriers, while still optimizing levels of challenge and support; UDL helps us to plan effectively in order to meet the needs of all diverse learners. We can effectively use UDL guidelines through following the Three basic principles. We can look to provide multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and provide multiple means of engagement. The curriculum provides us with a course of study and objectives that are to be met, but the UDL essentially provides us with the accommodations that will help our students to be successful within the curriculum that is being taught. Without knowing it, we are already all using UDL guidelines. I appreciate the opportunity given where we can now access concrete resources and examples that will help our practice when assisting curriculum.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    UDL can be applied to my own classroom through use of effective accommodation and use of resources. In my discussion post, I chose to discuss ideas that encompassed Principle I II and III. For example, in Principle I, I would apply UDL through displaying information in a flexible format, varying perceptual features, such as varying the size, color and contrast of text and background or images, the layout of visual or other elements, the amplitude of speech or sound, the speed or timing of video, animation, sound, and simulations. I would use sound puzzles with a visual representation of the sound the puzzle piece is making when you match a piece (e.g., cow makes a “moo” sound, pig makes an “oink” sound). I would use physical objects and spatial models to convey perspective or interaction: While reading a book about Trains, allow the students to hold a train for a tactile model that conveys the subject being talked/read about. I would also apply UDL through reducing threats and distractions. It’s important to create a safe, and supportive classroom climate when working with a variety of diverse learners. In my classroom, we like to make sure we vary the level of sensory stimulation and supports for all. Through the use of dimming light covers, covered shelves (fabric), minimal clutter, cozy corner (break spot), motor break spot, fish tank (help calm), visual timers, visual and/or verbal warning before clean up (transitions), individual visual schedules, First/Then board, structured and predictable routines, and song integrated environment for cues for transitions. Implementing these strategies help to overall reduce threats and distractions that cause undesirable behaviors through our day!

  18. Jennifer Parker says:

    • How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    Hi, fellow scholars!
    After receiving my bachelor’s degree I immediately moved into a newly created reading intervention position for kindergarten as the only interventionist. After three years in that position, I find myself serving my first year as a special education teacher for preschool and kindergarten in the same Early Childhood Center. One thing I really focused on as an interventionist was how to meet the needs of all. UDL goes hand in hand with differentiation. By using the 7 principles of UDL when creating instruction plans and curriculum differentiation is being delivered as well. All children must have access to a free and appropriate education, not a one size fits all education. By using the principles of UDL along research-based practices appropriate education can be a reality in the classroom. Children participating in a universally designed classroom succeed because they have access to different styles and ways of learning.
    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    As a teacher, it is easy to make learning equitable when working directly with a group of students. I feel like it takes more thought when creating independent workstations and centers for all. When choosing an independent activity I think about how each student I have in my classroom would utilize it. For instance, if I put out letter mats and playdough and model how to do the activity. I know some kids will be able to follow the way I modeled. Other students will just want to make balls or snakes. Some children may use the playdough for pizza or doughnuts. For some kids, the importance might be to sustain time at a center without interrupting adults. I would say that this center promotes good UDL practices. Focusing on equitability for all, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive, sensory, provides tolerance for errors, takes whatever amount of effort the child applies to it, and can be used in any space. Therefore, it meets all the principles of UDL.
    One of the difficulties I face is how to take a rigid and inflexible curriculum accessible for all as we are told we have to use it with all students. Currently, I have one student who has selective mutism along with processing difficulties that are unable to access the curriculum at this time. We are currently working on very basic things like identifying the letters in her name. She is just starting to do that. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to access the reading curriculum?
    During the summer I will be able to plan out more ways in which to use universal design in my classroom next year. I would like to focus on room design and will probably work on that throughout the summer. We had to move from a large room in the middle of October to a much smaller room; where we run up to several programs at a time. Needless to say, our room is not very universally designed. There are many distractions even though I brought things home and put stuff in storage. I believe we will be in the same room next year so we will actually have time to work on the design better taking out distractions and creating a cleaner environment.

    • Jenny Grace says:

      Hi Jennifer, I work at a school where we use curriculum only as a guide for learning, rather than a requirement, so that helps feeling like what we have is hard to differentiate and rigid. We are fortunate because we can focus on the content standards and think “outside of box” so that all students can learn. I don’t have experience with selective mutism or processing difficulties, other than some reading disabilities. My thoughts about accessing the reading curriculum are to include audio books and stories with predictive text. Your student could respond to stories through pictures- drawing her own or using printed pictures to describe the sequence of events. Thank you for sharing, and best of luck with your students!

  19. Amanda Spitz says:

    Hello! My name is Amanda Spitz, and I have been exploring UDL in my early childhood special education class at UNC. I have found that multiple means of representation are incredibly important. Every child learns differently. Let’s take learning a letter for example. It is imperative that when I teach this letter, we explore it in a plethora or ways including but certainly not limited to making it with our bodies, exploring if it is in our name, finger writing it on each other’s backs, learning a jingle, so forth and so on. I think this really provides opportunities for your hands on learners, auditory learners, visual learners, learners that do well connecting it to previous knowledge. I think it is so important for teachers to be flexible when planning instruction as well as how they will assess if a student knows the information. Because of UDL, teachers must be cognisant of students needing multiple means of representing their learning. Some can do a worksheet, but others might do better showing you on a writing app, while others might be better at showing what they know through a game.

    • Jennifer Parker says:

      Hi Amanda,
      I love the way you really emphasize the importance of presenting information in varied ways. With UDL it is very important to remember all the different ways students in your classroom learn. With the knowledge of how they learn you can create lessons and curriculum that focuses on those different ways when teaching. As I read your posting I started to wonder how we as educators especially in early childhood discover what a child’s learning style is. They are so young they can’t define what learning style works the best for them, nor do they even know. Perhaps, UDL, when used with fidelity, helps us uncover their learning styles. When multiple ways of learning are presented and teachers observe the responses to such ways, we, in turn, find out what that child’s learning style is.
      Have a great weekend,
      Jennifer Parker

    • Kristie Donathan says:

      Amanda,
      We did an activity at one of our staff meetings last year. We divided our group and some got a coloring sheet with a picture of a peach and an orange crayon, others got a photo of a peach, others got a plastic peach and then some got a real peach with a knife. Each had to report back on how much they learned about a peach. Everyone learns differently, but real authentic, hands on gets the most bang for the buck! It is important that we realize and plan for all learning styles and to expand our learning in many settings.

    • Kaitlyn Pettigrew says:

      Amanda,
      I love the way you describe how letters are learned. All students certainly learn in a variety of ways, and it is important that we as teachers recognize this, and plan our lessons and teaching strategies accordingly.
      Great thoughts!

  20. Teresa Veenstra says:

    I am a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado. I am currently working as a Special Education Preschool Teacher at Highland Elementary School in Rifle, Colorado.
    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    I think that UDL can be applied to all educational instruction, but especially in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education curriculum and instruction. All students need to have access to a variety of learning styles such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic. It can be easy to just have information presented in one way, but children learn through multiple modalities. When designing a lesson, or unit or topic it is essential to think about all the different way to incorporate all the learners in your classroom. Children should be able to both learn and express their knowledge and skills in many different ways. In Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education especially children need to be engaged and excited before they can learn anything. There needs to be an exciting way to introduce the topic/new concept/s skill/s. Integrating their sense of touch, hearing and sight into education concepts will allow more students to learn and connect to the material in more deep and meaningful ways.
    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    UDL can be applied to my own classroom and teaching to improve the curriculum and instruction. I can make sure that when I set up my preschool classroom or add to it as the school year goes by that I have materials and activities that meet the needs of all my visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.
    I also want to guarantee that children are able to discover and express their knowledge through the 8 Multiple Intelligences as coined by Howard Gardner. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences include mathematical/logical, musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and naturalistic.
    I also look forward to exploring the examples of different ways to improve my classroom such as the Read with Me ebooks. Sometimes there are so many resources that can be overwhelming, but finding the right medium and media to show and use with our students can really help concepts come alive and be more stimulating to children, especially preschoolers.

    • Jennifer Parker says:

      Hi Teresa,
      I really like the connection you made between Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and UDL. Would you agree that it is important to link the 8 multiple intelligences with teaching materials and the creation of the classroom environment as well as planning and instruction? For instance, if working on number recognition a musical counting video on YouTube, might be able to meet the needs of the mathematical/logical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic and naturalistic learners. I would be important to pick a video in which items from the natural environment are incorporated, but that one video if chosen and used properly could be used in the UDL model. Would you agree or disagree?
      Here’s to the weekend,
      Jennifer Parker

      • Teresa Veenstra says:

        Hi Jennifer,
        I actually have been trying to incorporate more educational videos to really bring concepts alive to the students- I didn’t realize this was UDL, but it is essential to engage kids as much as you can and in many different ways.
        This last week was our brain week and I had a model of the brain that I let the students touch and feel and then I talked about a few different parts of it and especially talked about the amygdala and related it to how they get upset and what we can do to calm down. I showed them my amygdala-calming down stick. We are going to be learning about the 5 senses next week and making their own calm down bottles.

        I did look through some videos and find ones that I thought were the best-I looked through http://www.Brainpop.com, just searching on the internet etc. but sometimes it takes some time to find what you’re looking for, especially for preschool I want it to be stimulating and relating to what we’re learning but not too long or boring.

        I agree with the point about having the natural environment in videos. In our weather week-2 week we talked about weather and storms I found a video actually from a signing and singing show and had a song about weather and kids playing in the different kinds of weather.

        Is that what you meant about natural environment?
        Hope you have a great weekend.

        Teresa

  21. Natalie Rieboldt says:

    Hi, I’m Natalie Rieboldt, a teacher-researcher in an undergraduate program at UNC. We are discovering the importance of UDL in early childhood special education programs, specifically how we can apply this to curriculum and instruction in our own classroom and teaching pedagogy. Universal Design for Learning represents a classroom without barriers. Instruction and curriculum meet the needs of all learners. This happens when the whole child is represented in what they are learning, able to freely express how learning takes place, and are engaged in discovering the reasoning behind their learning. This involves learning products to be adjustable, so all can participate. We need to scaffold learning content, “level the playing field” so all are comfortable, challenged, and successful. Learning is made personal by involving the teacher, child, and family, giving each parent a voice in the classroom. Technology needs to be used efficiently and effectively, proving assistance technology whenever needed, supplementing the written and verbal word.

    In my preschool classroom I start to think of UDL prior to the school year, and I put effort into the overall design, environment, and feel of the room. I ask myself “What does each center/wall/material/toy represent? How does the environment act as a third teacher?” Once children are in the classroom and we get to know each other, the classroom becomes a constant evolving place. This is determined based on their needs and interests. Some stables are maintaining a clean, organized place that is calming and represents the child and their family. This year we made sure each child’s picture and their parent(s) hopes and dreams for their child were displayed. Cute and simple, yet it meant a lot to the child, the parents, and the teacher. This unit made me think a lot about the stress of circle time, and to support and follow UDL, as we know that “criss-cross applesauce”, is not best practice, as this presents barriers physically and mentally. Allowing for different seating, tables, flooring, can help each child succeed.
    A child might be unable to “write” with a pencil and paper, but we can provide a sand table and finger, or a tablet to explore the written world. UDL means being mindful of each learner and setting them up for success. It creates opportunities for the teacher to be creative. We all deal with “challenging behavior”, and often with UDL tools we can navigate and create successful behavior. Thanks for listening, excited to read your posts and hope you all enjoy UDL in your field!

    • Amanda Spitz says:

      Hi Natalie,
      I love your comment that the classroom becomes a constant evolving place. I find this is true and our classrooms need to evolve to meet our student needs. The more we know our students, the better opportunity we have to adjust and redesign to meet their needs. In addition, your comment on seating has me thinking! I am sitting here in my recliner with my feet tucked under me. My husband would never sit like this! So why in the world would we make every child sit the same? Now that is something to think about. Excellent post!

      Amanda

    • Taryn Long says:

      Hi Natalie!

      I love how you incorporated both the student and the family. Those simple activities can be just what it takes to help engage a child in the learning process.

      I, agree, circle time can be so challenging for our young learners. It definitely makes me think about our expectations and what is truly “best practice”. Sometimes, in the day to day chaos we tend to forget the potential struggles for something as simple as sitting “criss-cross applesauce”. Great reminder.

    • Nicole T Masciana says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for sharing your insight and your UDL experiences. I completely agree with not adhering to the “one size sits all.” As teacher and adults, we have all figured out how we learn best, through our experiences and approaches that worked best for us. What type of learners are we? Some of us are more visual, auditory or hands-on. Why assume that every child is able to thrive the same away as his/her peers? Making sure to allow our students to succeed in a classroom without barriers, creating Instruction and curriculum to meet the needs of all learners is so important. The UDL for sure scaffolds the learning environment and supports that are put into place. I agree…replacing the “criss-cross apple sauce” and the pencil and paper, when it is not physically and mentally or developmentally appropriate is 100% being mindful of each learner and setting them up for success! Thanks for the inspiring post!

      Nicole

  22. Kristie Donathan says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    UDL allows for us to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all children. It allows varied formats for instruction and learning. It is vital that all children have access to a rich learning environment filled with a variety of materials to meet everyone’s needs and learning styles. We need to keep in mind each child’s typical home routines and activities when building our learning plans. UDL gives children the opportunity to succeed because they are provided multiple means of learning and engaging in the learning process.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    I am currently not teaching, but I believe that all teachers and classrooms would benefit from the UDL. UDL is a framework to guide each individual child. It supports interventions and builds on individual strengths, needs and interests. I observe many teachers really embracing this process in their arrival activities. Each child “signs in” every day. Some trace their name, some write their first and last name with a model and others without a model. Some manipulate magnetic letters or velcro letters. Some are provided sensory materials such as shaving cream or sand.

    • Lisa Sagal says:

      Hi Kristie,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on UDL. You reminded me that I was going to ask our teachers if we could start “signing in” to start the day, instead of just moving a clip to show that a student has arrived. I like the idea of providing a UDL based opportunity to express this in various ways, as well, providing opportunities in writing, building names with letter cards, stamping, spelling their name out loud, or for those who still need it, moving their clip. In this second semester we can move towards creating more Kindergarten Readiness with increasing letter familiarity in so many different ways. UDL reminds us to tap into our creativity!

    • Nicole Hills says:

      Hello Kristie,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on UDL. I very much agree with your ideas of differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all the children. I am not very familiar with Pre-K since I am a K-4 instructional coach. Therefore, I am very interested in your how you keep in mind of a child’s typical home routines and activities when building learning plans? It sounds like you have had wonderful experiences witnessing teachers implement UDL strategies into the Pre-K classrooms. Thanks for sharing the wonderful examples.

  23. Gina says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) allows for teachers to flexible with goals, methods, materials, and assessments to meet the needs of varied learners. In ECSE I feel it can be beneficial as it promotes multiple means of presenting information to assist children who may have a type of learning disability, language barrier, or have a developmental delay to make connections with the concepts. Also, these various type of learners do not always have the ability to express what they know. Providing multiple ways to show understanding through action and expression is beneficial. For example, some children who cannot express themselves verbally may need to point to, act out through dramatic play, or have access to resources through the internet to communicate their thoughts. Furthermore, student engagement is another area that is supported with the UDL. Offering different ways to engage the learner aids in connecting with their preferred style of learning. Some children enjoy active play with their classmates, while others are may want to work along

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) will assist me with reaching the various learners in an ESE or ECSE classroom. UDL is something I feel takes additional time to plan and prepare lessons for. However, I believe students benefit more through the implementation of UDL. In my previous position as an ELL teacher, my students showed more growth by catering to their different learning styles and needs. Presenting information in multiple ways to increase student interest and presenting different options for them to show their understanding prompted higher engagement and student success.

  24. Alyssa Fisher says:

    UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE instruction by incorporating a visual schedule or timer for students. And by using puppets to discuss social and emotional scenarios. Educators can also use multi-sensory tools for students that incorporate visual and auditory skills. I can apply UDL into my own classroom by using sign language, creating portfolios for my students and using social stories in the classroom.

    • Gina says:

      How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

      Universal Design for Learning (UDL) allows for teachers to flexible with goals, methods, materials, and assessments to meet the needs of varied learners. In ECSE I feel it can be beneficial as it promotes multiple means of presenting information to assist children who may have a type of learning disability, language barrier, or have a developmental delay to make connections with the concepts. Also, these various type of learners do not always have the ability to express what they know. Providing multiple ways to show understanding through action and expression is beneficial. For example, some children who cannot express themselves verbally may need to point to, act out through dramatic play, or have access to resources through the internet to communicate their thoughts. Furthermore, student engagement is another area that is supported with the UDL. Offering different ways to engage the learner aids in connecting with their preferred style of learning. Some children enjoy active play with their classmates, while others are may want to work along

      How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

      The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) will assist me with reaching the various learners in an ESE or ECSE classroom. UDL is something I feel takes additional time to plan and prepare lessons for. However, I believe students benefit more through the implementation of UDL. In my previous position as an ELL teacher, my students showed more growth by catering to their different learning styles and needs. Presenting information in multiple ways to increase student interest and presenting different options for them to show their understanding prompted higher engagement and student success.

      • Taryn Long says:

        Hi Gina,

        Describing UDL as requiring flexibility is right on. Being able to modify and adapt to a child’s individual learning needs on the spot is a must. Being able to scaffold and present learning in a variety of ways benefits all students. I love your comment on how as an ELL teacher your students showed more growth with the multi-modality approach. Great data to support UDL 🙂

    • Amanda Spitz says:

      Hi Alyssa,

      I like your idea on puppets being tied to UDL. They are visual and auditory! I too use sign language and the children love it! I think it is important as educators to find as many times as possible to add visuals to any auditory lessons as possible. I am a visual/hands on learner. If I have to listen to a lecture without something to look at or something in my hands, I’m toast! Good point on incorporating tools such as puppets for our visual learners.

  25. Apryle B says:

    Hi all,

    My name is Apryle. I’m a first grade teacher. I’m currently talking a masters course on Curriculum instruction at University of Northern Colorado. Universal Design for Learning provides multiple means for representation, expression, and engagement. I feel fortunate to have the use of Smartboard Technology in my classroom. This helps with multiple modes of representation. My struggle would be allowing for more modes of expression in testing situations for the general education students. We have multiple modes written in for students with IEP’s.

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    In my experience, Universal Design for Learning has been embedded in my trainings as an Early Childhood Educator. The student to teacher ratio was/ is much smaller than that of a elementary school teacher. Multiple modes of representation, expression, and engagement can be integrated into the curriculum through careful planning and through the use of technology. Universal Design for Learning helps reach the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and mixed learners. Below are some of the ways I could use multiple modes of representation in my teaching.

    Story: Brown Bear Brown Bear What to you See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

    Multiple modes of Representation:
    1. Display pictures of vocabulary words and go over meanings.
    2. Tap into prior knowledge. Show real life pictures of the animals they are about to read about. Go over sounds the animals make. Go over vocabulary words what and see. Display words on the board. Go over color words and representations. Pass around the puppets of the animals in the story and have the students touch them and feel them and identify their colors. Use sign language as you go over the colors.
    4. Teacher reads on the carpet showing pages as she reads.
    5. Display pictures using ELMO and project pages large on the board.
    6. As story is read use pre-made puppets to act out the story. Have students help by holding each of the puppets.
    7. Have students echo the story words with you.
    8. Have a CD version of the story to play.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    I try to embed Universal Design for Learning in my classroom lessons and teaching. We make sure to provide materials that help visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners. Planning for this does take a lot of time and advanced planning and use to technological resources. I often joke that I have three full time jobs. My first is the time I spend in the classroom teaching, My second job is time spent planning, making, gathering resources, organizing and collaborating. My third is time spend calling, emailing, and meeting with parents. Universal Design for learning is used the most though means of multiple modes of representation in my classroom. It helps that I’ve always been a learner that needs all three modes: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory to master a skill. I would like to find more time to allow the students more modes of expression and representation. One way I can do this is to have students do a Show and Tell each week to display their learning in a mode of their choice.

    • Teresa Veenstra says:

      Hi Apryle,
      I really like your specific example of how to incorporate UDL in everyday lessons like with Brown Bear, Brown Bear. All teachers should be planning with UDL in mind. In this way each student would have many different ways to learn. I feel like my team and I do the best we can to plan interactive, engaging and appropriate lessons. I just wish that we had more time to plan-it never seems like enough.
      I would love to hear any suggestions you have for planning etc.

      Teresa

  26. Heather Kenyon says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    As more and more early childhood classrooms are becoming inclusive of children with special needs the applications for universal design is becoming more necessary so all students have the opportunities to learn. All children benefit from the multiple ways information is presented especially our youngest learners. When I think about universal design I am draw to the theory of multiple intelligence by Howard Gardener. All students need multiple ways information is presented such as, visual, kinesthetic, linguistically, etc. Understanding learning styles helps to understand why a mix of multimedia is effective to all learners. In the early childhood classroom, I think the most beneficial results of a universal learning design is students’ response and engagement. In the EC/ECSE classroom, children are able to demonstrate their responses through their play. Children are able to do this when a teacher is purposeful about planning materials, activities, and supports for the children in the classroom. As children are playing or engaged in activities the teacher is able to individualize the scaffolding needs of children. In theory the broad spectrum of students would be better served if information could be presented in a number of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means. This does require a higher level of quality care to include small ratios of children to teachers in order to make it an effective design.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    In my classroom I first consider the learning styles of my students. As I begin designing the curriculum I think about the design of my classroom. By considering the learning styles, I am able to determine what areas of interest may be greater or areas that I can purposefully include materials that are engaging. I think about the way my students need information presented. Since I have a mixed aged and ability group I present information that is interesting to all. For example, when we created out rule poster for group time I included the “words” of the older students but then found pictures that were interesting to the younger students. I then had to individualize it even more for example, I have one student very interested in Elmo but the majority that are more interested in Princess or Star Wars. We found pictures that included all of these interest. So when school began we talked about the rules we wanted to have for our classroom, we created posters, and then we also role played the actions. Of course as we are in full swing of school some behaviors are beginning to bubble and I am having to scaffold learning for student to continue to be good leaders. No matter if I am teaching in a fully inclusive toddler class, 2nd grade, 9th grade or a self-contained special education classroom the principles of universal design for learning can be applied with purposeful planning.

  27. Jess says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    There are many ways UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction via multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression. Educators can maximize access for children by providing a wide range of presentation of information and/or materials or reducing environmental stimulus to ensure children can receive information. They can ensure visual, kinesthetics, and auditory approaches are provided at varying levels (Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter, & Pretti-Frontczak, 2005). Supporting access to the curriculum by providing various opportunities for engagement involves varying degrees of challenge being built into activities, scaffolding, providing activities that meet a wide range of interests or learning styles, further supported by using feedback obtained via observations of and conversations with young children to better understand their interests and plan around their interests. Finally, UDL can function within curriculum/instruction by allowing students to express themselves in multiple ways, demonstrate understanding in various ways. Ensuring a multitude of materials and resources are available, art materials, music, dramatic play opportunities, writing utensils, reading materials, and much much more, can ensure students have the appropriate outlets available to demonstrate areas of strength, interest, and need.
    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    In addition to discussing routines and expectations at our school, we can and do have posters, books, and other visuals to go along with our verbal instruction to support multiple forms of representation. We have classroom materials that provide varying levels of challenge and cover many areas of interests. Further, we support children demonstrating what they have learned through multiple forms of response, which often tie to our multiple forms of representation. For example, a student may throw a toy in the classroom, I can ask the student to tell me or show me, via our posted staying safe rules, about whether we are supposed to throw toys. As teachers, we also are always actively seeking feedback from our students based on their responses to different activities, stimuli, or conversations, our observations, and efforts. This supports our ability to discover more about what will pique the interest of individuals and/or groups of students. We also use planning boards at our school to support planning and strategizing through brainstorming, as suggested in UDL guideline 6.2, and to optimize individual choice. The visual planning board in combination with teachers direction and ability to show children the room, provide students the ability to receive information in multiple formats and express themselves in multiple ways as they can verbally state what they wish to do, point to a picture or show the teacher by guiding them to where they want to me.

    • Joanne Shudell says:

      Hi Jess,
      I am not sure what age you are working with but I feel that UDL is easier for me in my class of 12 Pre-K students and three staff but it’s not so easy for the teacher with 25 + students in their classroom. In addition, to this, I did not learn about this UDL until I started my Masters program and many teachers that I know have only gone up to their Bachelors, So I wonder whether they have learn this and understand how important it is for our children.

    • Emery Cary says:

      Nicely Said.

    • Alyssa Fisher says:

      I agree. It’s important to allow children to express themselves in multiple ways through pictures, puppets, stories and sign language. Visual planning boards work so well for young children.

  28. Desiree Wilcox says:

    UDL in ECE/ECSE Curriculum; How I apply UDL in my Classroom

    All types of educators should invest in continuing, research-based professional development in order to provide valuable instruction within the classroom. Teachers develop as professionals when they have teaching and learning experiences that support students’ acquisition of knowledge, skills and dispositions. When analyzing the need for professional development in the field, educators and related personnel can easily feel overwhelmed in carrying out professional expectations because of their lack of knowledge and/or experience with specific disorders/deficiencies/ learning difference. For this reason, it is essential that educators be provided with the resources to support them in effective teaching practices. I find the National Center on Universal Design for Learning to be an excellent resource for teachers as it provides flexible approaches to instruction and assessments to best serve the individual learner. As an ECSE teacher, I find the UDL’s instructional goals, methods, and materials to be quite effective in building on these young children’s autonomy and motivation to want to learn. They are not expected to follow and meet a ‘one size fits all’ standard, rather they are provided with diversified learning opportunities and approaches to be challenged to learn and grow academically and in developmental milestones. For example, I have a newly enrolled student, ‘Jessica,’ in my Pre-Kindergarten classroom with partial blindness. Both her parents and her past teachers have shared her tendency to refuse to participate in activities, such as music and movement and small group learning experiences. Unfortunately, I, too, had found ‘Jessica’ to want to withdraw from participating with her peers without even trying. After about a month of getting to know this young, sweet child, I learned more about her strengths, interests, and areas she has the greatest challenges in. I referenced the National Center on Universal Design for Learning for some insight on how to better accommodate the needs of this child so she feels just as capable as her peer group. Some instructional methods I use include using sound localization to direct the child; modeling movement for songs or in gym by physically guiding the student through the motions; providing hands-on opportunities for each learning theme along with verbal descriptions to make the experience more meaningful for the young child; holding “group discussions” to share ways of involving ALL peers in play as well as to acknowledge learning differences and adaptations in children; and assistive technology supports, such as a lightbox, material positioning devices, magnification devices, and specialized lighting. I have also found the instructional goals set forth in UDL strategies to be quite effective in the early childhood classroom as it calls for the teacher to teach according to child-directed interests and abilities. It also is useful in developing a consistency of expectations between home and school. I always make sure to initiate daily communication with the parents about the goals and objectives set forth for the child in the classroom to promote independence. I reiterate the importance of carrying out the same expectations for the child doing the same tasks outside of the classroom setting and provide them with easily accessible methods and materials to use within the home for the child’s individual learning needs.

    • Alyssa Fisher says:

      I agree, parent and teacher relationships are very important for the student. I’m so glad that you included simple and accessible activities for children to participate in at home. There are so many easy social, emotional, cognitive and language activities families can complete at home together that require very little materials.

    • Amanda Spitz says:

      Hi Desiree!

      I too believe professional development is imperative! I had never heard of UDL prior to my Master’s program, and I had taught 10 years! Although I am no expert and am constantly evolving, I am now aware of it’s importance and make a cognitive effort to provide UDL supports in my classroom so that all of my students are successful.

  29. Marveen Terryberry says:

    In an EC/ECSE inclusive environment the abilities and needs of the children vary from advanced to those with severe needs. By incorporating UDL, the needs of all children can be supported by providing an accessible, flexible and equitable curriculum. In Guideline 1 the presentation of material can be adapted to accommodate for vision, hearing and reading difficulties, and for children learning English by involving all modalities. Digital books, visual and tactile supports, Braille and large print can be used to present the material so that all learners can access the curriculum. Guideline 2 suggests alternative ways for learners to show what they know. Some examples of this would be, using communication devices, pictures to support concepts and language, implementing levels of support for learning a new task and the use of manipulatives or computers rather than only using paper/pencil to demonstrate knowledge. In order for students to become and remain engaged, Guideline 3 suggests that the learning environment should be safe, stimulating and interesting. By providing an accessible curriculum that includes all modalities this can be more easily accomplished.

    In my classroom UDL can be applied by using digital books, speech to text as well as text to speech materials. Using ready made phrases and story starters will provide the support that my students need to construct their own responses. Working with general education teachers to design and implement strategies and supports will help my students access and make progress within the general education curriculum and will allow them to participate in the classroom with their peers.

    • Jess says:

      Hi Marveen,

      I think it is fantastic that you are able to use so much technology in your classroom to support UDL. I think such tools would be very useful if used thoughtfully and when necessary; however, we have a population that really do not want their children engaged with technology in our setting. We are a part-time, Montessori setting. It is interesting to think of alternatives that must be used with consideration for this. I should note, we do not currently have any students who require such accommodations at our school, but with regard for UDL, it would be nice to provide the multiple forms of representation and expression.

      Thanks,
      Jess

  30. Stephanie MOrris says:

    I came upon this site through my professor at Univ of Northern Colorado, and its an easy to understand and follow. I have to say I love it. I am currently working on my PhD in Ed. Leadership, so focusing on ECSE is so refreshing some days.

    In the ECSE environment the abilities/needs of each of my students are extremely varied. Of my 12 students 4 are role models and 8 are students with special needs (that range from speech only, to sensory/speech/behavior, Downs Syndrome, OHI, and Cerebral Palsy). By utilizing and implementing UDL’s the needs of all my students can be supported. This support is provided by an accessible, differentiated curriculum.
    • Guideline #1: the presentation of material in my room is adapted to students with visual, hearing, behavior, verbal, and comprehension difficulties. I used eBooks, visual supports, large print, etc.
    • Guideline #2 is an alternative way in which my students can show what they have learned. My room has a multi-modal way of doing this (verbal, AT devices, pictures, computers). Communication this way keeps all my students involved.
    • Guideline #3 looks at a safe, secure, stimulating, and fair learning environment. This is done through the creation of a curriculum that will include all modalities that are accomplishable.
    Specifically, in my room, UDL’s are applied through eBooks, IPads, Kindles, AT devices (speech to text). I used readymade phrases and story starts to enable students to create their own responses to questions. Because my room is self-contained it is only myself and my paraprofessional, however she has had ASD training, and is willing to work to help students access all areas of our curriculum and participate. She herself has become an invaluable asset to our room.

    • Joanne Shudell says:

      Wow, you have a lot to deal with in one room, how do you manage that with only one paraprofessional. I am sure she is worth her weight in gold. I have two paraprofessionals, with three children on the spectrum and 9 mainstream students.
      I have not heard of OHI what is that?. I’m not sure if you have found the same as I have, that many of the strategies I have learned to help my children on the spectrum are quite useful with my mainstream children. I have found that because our district has changed the enrollment date to October first we are getting children who are much less prepare for a full day at school. resulting in much more behavior interventions being used than before.

  31. Desiree Wilcox says:

    UDL in ECE/ECSE Curriculum and How I use it in my classroom:

    All types of educators should invest in continuing, research-based professional development in order to provide valuable instruction within the classroom. Teachers develop as professionals when they have teaching and learning experiences that support students’ acquisition of knowledge, skills and dispositions. When analyzing the need for professional development in the field, educators and related personnel can easily feel overwhelmed in carrying out professional expectations because of their lack of knowledge and/or experience with specific disorders/deficiencies/ learning difference. For this reason, it is essential that educators be provided with the resources to support them in effective teaching practices. I find the National Center on Universal Design for Learning to be an excellent resource for teachers as it provides flexible approaches to instruction and assessments to best serve the individual learner. As an ECSE teacher, I find the UDL’s instructional goals, methods, and materials to be quite effective in building on these young children’s autonomy and motivation to want to learn. They are not expected to follow and meet a ‘one size fits all’ standard, rather they are provided with diversified learning opportunities and approaches to be challenged to learn and grow academically and in developmental milestones. For example, I have a newly enrolled student, ‘Jessica,’ in my Pre-Kindergarten classroom with partial blindness. Both her parents and her past teachers have shared her tendency to refuse to participate in activities, such as music and movement and small group learning experiences. Unfortunately, I, too, had found ‘Jessica’ to want to withdraw from participating with her peers without even trying. After about a month of getting to know this young, sweet child, I learned more about her strengths, interests, and areas she has the greatest challenges in. I referenced the National Center on Universal Design for Learning for some insight on how to better accommodate the needs of this child so she feels just as capable as her peer group. Some instructional methods I use include using sound localization to direct the child; modeling movement for songs or in gym by physically guiding the student through the motions; providing hands-on opportunities for each learning theme along with verbal descriptions to make the experience more meaningful for the young child; holding “group discussions” to share ways of involving ALL peers in play as well as to acknowledge learning differences and adaptations in children; and assistive technology supports, such as a lightbox, material positioning devices, magnification devices, and specialized lighting. I have also found the instructional goals set forth in UDL strategies to be quite effective in the early childhood classroom as it calls for the teacher to teach according to child-directed interests and abilities. It also is useful in developing a consistency of expectations between home and school. I always make sure to initiate daily communication with the parents about the goals and objectives set forth for the child in the classroom to promote independence. I reiterate the importance of carrying out the same expectations for the child doing the same tasks outside of the classroom setting and provide them with easily accessible methods and materials to use within the home for the child’s individual learning needs.

  32. Suzanne Rosenthal says:

    UDL instruction can be applied to Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. Because the environment is flexible with instruction and materials. It is available for all levels of learners with diverse abilities. The Early Childhood classrooms are usually set up with centers that are multi-sensory and provide students opportunities to learn a concept in different formats. (e.g tactile numerals in a counting game)
    Having a Montessori teaching backgrounds the principles of UDL are very similar to the Montessori principles: following the student, prepared environment with multi sensory, and observation. In the Montessori classroom materials are able to be used by different levels of ability. As the student explores a material and has instruction, then the child is given a more complex lesson. The same material can be used for a 3 yr old or 5yr depending on the students ability and level of curiosity.
    As a Head Start teacher, I apply the UDL principles and Montessori materials. I have students who use individual visual schedules, modified bubble seats, and PECs. One of my students is blind and uses a brailler to write and tactile board for drawing. We have two braille writers and tactile boards, so that everyone can use them. We always have a variety of multi sensory brushes and paper for everyone to use.
    In our classroom we let all material be available to all students. For example if a typical peer wants to sit on a bubble seat for snack they can. We have enough fidget toys for everyone.

  33. Carrie Austin says:

    When teachers use Universal design for learning (UDL) it makes the curriculum accessible and interesting to all students. The information that is being taught should be presented in a number of ways so that students of various learning styles can understand it. Teachers need to ensure that students are able to express their understanding in a way that is meaningful and efficient for them. There are many facets to UDL, and understanding your student’s strengths would be beneficial when providing different options for learning the material and assessing what students have learned.
    UDL can be, and is applied in my preschool classroom. We have a variety of learners from students with special needs, to ELL’s to typically developing students. We use many different strategies to enable students to learn. We teach visually and auditorally, and use as many hands on activities as we can. I try to provide background knowledge through books and videos so students can make connections to the information we want them to learn. For our social skills curriculum, we try to reach all our students by using posters, puppet shows, teacher modeling and peer modeling to show students what the social skill we are targeting looks and sounds like. Universal Design for Learning should be used in all classrooms to enable all students to access the curriculum.

    • Emily Hornblower says:

      Hi Carrie,

      You make a great point in saying that the content that the students are expected to learn throughout the class should be delivered in different manners to help each learner be successful. In a class that I taught in a few years ago, one of my students really responded well to visuals, so all social skill concepts or daily activities were presented in a visual format as well to help that student, and others with similar inclinations, process the material in a way that they comprehended well.

      Thanks for sharing!
      -Emily

  34. Desiree Wilcox says:

    UDL in ECE/ECSE Curriculum

    All types of educators should invest in continuing, research-based professional development in order to provide valuable instruction within the classroom. Teachers develop as professionals when they have teaching and learning experiences that support students’ acquisition of knowledge, skills and dispositions. When analyzing the need for professional development in the field, educators and related personnel can easily feel overwhelmed in carrying out professional expectations because of their lack of knowledge and/or experience with specific disorders/deficiencies/ learning difference. For this reason, it is essential that educators be provided with the resources to support them in effective teaching practices. I find the National Center on Universal Design for Learning to be an excellent resource for teachers as it provides flexible approaches to instruction and assessments to best serve the individual learner. As an ECSE teacher, I find the UDL’s instructional goals, methods, and materials to be quite effective in building on these young children’s autonomy and motivation to want to learn. They are not expected to follow and meet a ‘one size fits all’ standard, rather they are provided with diversified learning opportunities and approaches to be challenged to learn and grow academically and in developmental milestones. For example, I have a newly enrolled student, ‘Jessica,’ in my Pre-Kindergarten classroom with partial blindness. Both her parents and her past teachers have shared her tendency to refuse to participate in activities, such as music and movement and small group learning experiences. Unfortunately, I, too, had found ‘Jessica’ to want to withdraw from participating with her peers without even trying. After about a month of getting to know this young, sweet child, I learned more about her strengths, interests, and areas she has the greatest challenges in. I referenced the National Center on Universal Design for Learning for some insight on how to better accommodate the needs of this child so she feels just as capable as her peer group. Some instructional methods I use include using sound localization to direct the child; modeling movement for songs or in gym by physically guiding the student through the motions; providing hands-on opportunities for each learning theme along with verbal descriptions to make the experience more meaningful for the young child; holding “group discussions” to share ways of involving ALL peers in play as well as to acknowledge learning differences and adaptations in children; and assistive technology supports, such as a lightbox, material positioning devices, magnification devices, and specialized lighting. I have also found the instructional goals set forth in UDL strategies to be quite effective in the early childhood classroom as it calls for the teacher to teach according to child-directed interests and abilities. It also is useful in developing a consistency of expectations between home and school. I always make sure to initiate daily communication with the parents about the goals and objectives set forth for the child in the classroom to promote independence. I reiterate the importance of carrying out the same expectations for the child doing the same tasks outside of the classroom setting and provide them with easily accessible methods and materials to use within the home for the child’s individual learning needs.

    • James Jones says:

      Hello my name is James Jones I do not know too much about this but I have to write a paper on “How universal design will impact my practices as a special education teacher? could you help me out? 7313945754

  35. Anna-Karin Joachim says:

    UDL is not about changing the Early Childhood setting and classroom to make it accessible. UDL is about creating an accessible environment and learning experience from the start. The foundation of UDL based on multiple options for representation, expression and engagement is especially relevant to the fields of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. I believe that a young child’s first learning experience at school, whether they are a typically developing or exceptional child, is enhanced when they can learn in an environment without barriers. The UDL guideline that I feel I am able to implement most easily as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher is the provision of options for perception (1.1) and options for physical action (4.1-4.3). Incorporating visual representations throughout the classroom along with verbal instruction is a developmentally appropriate way to address the needs of young children. Providing options for physical action requires proper planning, but can make an inaccessible task not only accessible, but engaging to meet a variety of student needs. This week in my classroom, the general education teacher provided many math-based activities using candy conversation hearts. She provided a “grabber” tool (a dollar store item that is designed to grab olives or pickles out of a jar) along with instructions that the child could use their fingers or the “grabber” to retrieve the candy from the dish. The “grabber” changed the physical requirement of the task from a pincer grasp to the push of a button, demonstrating UDL. The coordination required to grab the candy provided challenge to students with strong fine motor skills. The addition of a spoon to scoop the candy for children developing their fine motor coordination would have been a wonderful addition to the center and would have deepened the use of UDL.

  36. Joanne Shudell says:

    Hi, I have been asked to comment on this discussion for my Masters program class through UNCO.

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    I believe UDL is a must in classrooms, working in an ECE special education classroom I need to be flexible and provide information for my students through various modalities classroom. This can be done by providing hands-on experiences, Using direct teaching, the use of video and pictures, discussions, and best of all real world experiences. The best way we can experience something or somewhere is to actually touch, taste, see and or hear and the more senses we are using the better we will process it.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    In my classroom, I use basic signs, we have discussions, we see things on the computer on teacher tube, some of my students communicate through a picture exchange system others use a four picture choice board. We change the classroom decorations nd theme each month to match what we are learning, we go on field trips and we have a guest come in from the community etc. One thing that I would like to point out though is that in the past we have alway completed field trips at the end of the week after we have learned about the subject and over the past few years I have found it much more beneficial to go to the field trip at the beginning of the week and learn and discuss after the trip so that the children can make those real-world connections.

    • Emily Hornblower says:

      Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for making the point that actual hands-on-experiences are so crucial for so many students, not only those on IEP’s. The ability to actually touch, feel, or do what the teachers instruct the students is such a valuable way for them to learn and also to relate what they are learning to their own lives. It would be the difference between reading about how solar panels work and actually constructing one as a class, with each student having a job that was appropriate to their development/interests.

      Thanks for sharing!
      -Emily

  37. Lois Vaughan says:

    There are multiple ways to apply UDL to the EC/ECSE curriculum. When applying the UDL it is important to be mindful of the three areas. Representation provides multiple ways to allow all students to access the curriculum. This could be accomplished by teaching to the multiple modalities that students exhibit. This also encompasses the idea of differentiation. We must meet the students where they are and allow them to learn in a way that best meets their needs. Multiple means of expression can also be accomplished during differentiation. Scaffolding student’s learning as needed will allow the student to be successful. Engagement allows students to feel in control of their learning. When students are included in goal setting and when they are provided with choices, they will be more engaged in their learning.
    UDL should be present in every classroom. I would provide differentiation during every lesson. For example, if I have a student that is a second language learner, I would front load vocabulary. I would also incorporate pictures, videos, or hands on experiences. I would provide children with choices when it comes to an art project, for example. Instead of having pre-planned materials set out for students, I would offer them choices. When children are given choices, they seem to take ownership of their work and their behavior.
    All children would be provided with a means to express their needs and wants. For some students this may be the use of assistive technology. For others, it may be using a choice board. Many visuals would be used throughout the classroom. This would provide the consistency that students need.

    • Anna-Karin Joachim says:

      Hi Lois:

      You are absolutely right that UDL belongs in every classroom! I appreciate your examples of how you would offer multiple means for expression during art activities. You also mentioned that you would front load vocabulary for dual-language learners. The beauty of UDL is that incorporating this practice from the beginning of the school year (and as general practice) can address the needs of many children, regardless of what you know about them during those first few days and weeks of class.

      Thank you for your thoughtful post!

      Anna

    • Carrie Austin says:

      Hi Lois,
      I like your ideas for implementing UDL in your classroom. I use several of them myself in my preschool class. One of the ideas you mentioned, front loading vocabulary for ELL’s is something I am going to start doing more of consistently. I am hoping to notice a difference with attention to stories specifically.
      Carrie

    • Lanaye Smith says:

      Lois,

      UDL is an important implementation into all curriculum. This provides a multiple means of representation so all different type of learners can succeed in the classroom. You brought up the three main UDL guidelines: representation, action and expression, and engagement. Differentiation and scaffolding are a must to get students involved and learning. It is crucial to not just “follow” the curriculum with fidelity, but to implement the UDL guidelines with fidelity. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Lanaye Smith

    • Jess says:

      Hi Lois,
      You have some nice strategies for ensuring UDL is a part of your EC/ECSE curriculum. You did make a comment about involving children in goal setting and I was curious about this suggestion as it relates to EC/ECSE. I think it is awesome to try and connect to students through individual talents, passions, and needs. I also recognize how valuable this can be for engagement and growth, but I am wondering if you have some creative ways to engage young children in the goal setting process? Or, do you feel it is more appropriate for the older end of the EC spectrum? Thanks.

    • Marveen Terryberry says:

      Lois,
      I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on differentiation in the classroom. UDL levels the playing field for all learners. and can be applied from the beginning instead of waiting for students to fail and then implementing the supports. In the UDL guidelines, pg. 3 it was stated that the curricula, not the learners, are disabled and therefor we need to “fix” the curricula to fit how our students learn best.
      Marveen

  38. Chelsea Reed says:

    As an ECSE, UDL is applied constantly especially within intensely integrated classrooms. UDL can be and should be used to allow all students to learn and engage in learning activities and learners should be exposed to various styles of teaching.This might be done by incorporating more visual, auditory and kinesthetic activities. By utilizing various forms of teaching styles within lessons and by providing a variety of materials this will allow for learning to take place within all students and support new learning styles to develop in all students. Some examples of how I can apply UDL would be to incorporate movement into lessons on learning numerals, alphabet and phonics as well as learning colors, animals etc. This might mean using sign language for nonverbal, students HOH or ELL, ESL students. Within classrooms that I work in the use of body movements has been used to teach pattern making and letter sounds and has been very beneficial for typical learners as well as students with special needs. Some ways I would like to apply this more is to do more collaborative planning with my ECE teachers and develop more interactive ways my non verbal students can participate in activities that require answering questions and engaging with peers. I would love to use Apps on the IPad or PECS to do this in the near future.

  39. Swagata Banerjee says:

    There are three primary principles of UDL. First, provide multiple means of representation. Second, provide multiple means of action and expression and third, provide multiple means of engagement. Multiple means of representation can be done through see and hear, touch, move, create, use technology and verbalization. For example, different methods of teaching can be used to introduce the concept of vehicles. Children can play with vehicles; they can move toy vehicles by racing; draw and paint vehicles; create personal vehicle stories or sing a song on vehicles.
    Multiple means of action and expression is allowing children to show what they have learnt. It can be performed through observing varied participatory behavior of the children; collecting varied types of work and listening to recordings of personal vehicle stories to other children.
    Multiple means for engagement is the element that focuses on building the interest of children in a particular concept. Engagement in class can be enhanced through correctly identifying the relevance of the concept in children’s everyday life. For example, the concept of vehicles can be made interesting and relevant by telling them that they use it every morning to come to school and go to other places. Then the concept of vehicle may be used through multiple ways throughout the days so that the children can engage themselves in the topic.

    I plan to apply UDL in my classroom through various ways. I will keep audio books and visual graphics in my classroom to help children who are not comfortable with reading. I will keep left handed scissors, pencil grips, soft toys and sand papers to accommodate diverse children. Movable equipment and furnishings will also be provided in class to make movement easier.

  40. Cyndi says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    An effective preschool program will use UDL as a normality in the classroom environment and instruction. Multisensory teaching method will benefit all the students as it promotes engagement and active learning. An example would be if a preschooler has the opportunity to use their bodies as well as their minds and the instruction is given within a subject that is relevant to the students they will learn.
    As an ECSE there is a little more emphasis on the access for special education learners yet all children will benefit from. Examples would be having chairs that are small enough for the child’s feet to touch the floor. This will help with stability and focus. Tables and shelving that are small enough for all children to reach so all learning materials are accessible to everyone. Pictures schedules and social stories are a benefit for all. When the children can see and understand what is the expected behaviors or schedules, they will know and reach the classroom expectations.
    How can UDL be applied to you own classroom teaching?
    I will be aligning the classroom instruction with multisensory input. When reviewing the assessments I will see what area need to be revisited and taught with in a different way for all students to gain academic success.
    I will view my classroom environment with a different point of view. I will increase the visual along with verbal cues for students. To incorporate sign language within the normal daily activities will aid students with limits speech as well as those needing extra processing time.

    • Lois Vaughan says:

      Cyndi,

      I agree strongly with your statement of the use of UDL being a normality in the classroom environment. I enjoyed your examples and they displayed the ease with which UDL can be achieved in all classrooms. You have listed many ways to include multi sensory input. Thank you for your thoughts.

      Lois Vaughan

    • Chelsea Reed says:

      Cyndi, Thanks for your share, I couldn’t agree with you more, as an ECSE UDL is easily incorporated and does benefit all learners. It is a part of the curriculum tool we use in my district. The use of visuals are used frequently as well as movement to support learning of all styles and needs.

    • Swagata Banerjee says:

      Hi Cyndi!
      I liked your examples. In the last semester I went to a preschool for an observation where I was pleased to see UDL application in the classroom to a large extent. As I read about your example of “chairs small enough so that children can touch the floor”, it reminded me of my school days. I was shorter than most of the children in class and had a hard time writing sitting on the chair. I always used to stand and write. I wish the UDL principles were followed then.
      Swagata

    • Jess says:

      Hi Cyndi,

      I appreciate how you touch on multi-sensory methods. I actually noted in my initial post that sometimes it is not just providing more variety or multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression but having consideration for other stimulus in the physical environment. Sometimes a child might shut down because of too much noise, bright lights, or smells that bother them. Addressing these within a UDL can be more tricky and require more thought or effort, but can also be useful. For example, is there an area of the classroom that is quiet, with softer light and comforting materials?

      Thanks,
      Jess

  41. Sarah Rhodes says:

    Some of the guidelines that would be easier for me to implement are those that include the breakdown/explanation of information within the provisions of visuals and tactile representations of the curriculum I hope to provide in my classroom. While providing multiple means of representation and expression feel very manageable to me, I feel it would be a bit more challenging to provide sustainable and comprehensive engagement/appropriate goal development for every student. Ideally, with the other principles in place, appropriate sustainable goal development would somewhat naturally evolve as the needs of the students are authentically observed and developmental needs of all students are carefully recorded and supports for those needs thoughtfully implemented in the spirit of UDL. There are so many elements within the principles of UDL that are interconnected and so, it seems that the appropriate implementation of multiple methods of representation provide an environment that opens up options for multiple modes of expression as well as emphasizes an increase in engagement (because there are more options already established within the workings of presentation and expression). I think that in perpetually considering the connections between the principles and guidelines, there will inevitably be an ever increasing comprehensive and effective implementation of all of the major principles of UDL. While each principle has it’s focus, they are all so reliant on one another that the more effective one principle is, the greater the potential for the other principles. Learning is only possible if the material is comprehensible to the learner. I think this is the place to start in implementing UDL, but I think the other principles will follow (with the appropriate effort and knowledge) if this first one is well established. I think all of the guidelines are equally important in that they are all elemental parts of the entire UDL system. Students must understand the information provided, express their knowledge effectively, and be sufficiently interested and engaged with the information in order to effectively foster long term and relevant positive learning outcomes.

    • Swagata Banerjee says:

      Hello Sarah!
      You aptly said that many UDL principles are interconnected. While I was going through the details of the different principles I kind of felt that they are overlapping. But the best part is that once you start to implement, you keep on inventing one after the other. I never thought about the scissor design of a left handed child. But as I learnt about it I started looking for many of such things.
      Swagata

    • Lanaye Smith says:

      I like the idea of visuals to be implemented within everyday lessons as well. To be honest, this doesn’t just benefit students with certain learning disabilities, but all children. I think by starting with one “goal” for yourself (such as visuals), you will be much more successful with implementing other methods with fidelity. Engagement is always such a hot topic, yet difficult for educators to achieve with all students. With keeping all these guidelines in mind, I think an engaging classroom would be much easier to achieve. Thank you for your thoughts!

      Lanaye Smith

  42. Shelly Harwell says:

    UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and instruction in several ways. Guideline 1 of UDL discusses providing options for perception of information. This includes how information is displayed as well as presenting information visually, auditorially and kinesthetically to make learning accessible for all learners. This is important because children learn and process information in different ways so when the information can be delivered in a variety of modalities, the information is more likely to be processed in a meaningful way.

    Additionally, UDL Guideline 3 discusses guiding information processing, visualization and manipulation. This is important in an EC/ECSE classroom because our youngest learners often require more frequent prompts for each step in a lesson. Furthermore, scaffolding information for individual students, allows them to process information on their own, at their own pace. The last bullet point which applies well to EC/ECSE classrooms is the idea of chunking information into smaller parts which allows students to master one concept before adding onto it, or learning additional, related concepts.

    As a kindergarten teacher, the concepts discussed previously have relevance in my classroom. UDL is a logical and understandable design and this approach makes more sense for my teaching than the concepts my current district has in place. UDL is comprised of best practices for teaching and makes learning meaningful, relevant and most importantly – accessible for all learners.

    • Marveen Terryberry says:

      Shelly,
      I had not heard of UDL, but I am now hooked. Looking through the vast resources provided will make it so much easier to meet the needs of my students. I like how you mentioned scaffolding information. This is so beneficial to all learners but most specifically ELL and struggling learners.
      Marveen

    • Marveen Terryberry says:

      Shelly, I had not heard of UDL before but now I am hooked. The vast amount of resources will provide so many opportunities to provide support for my students. I like how you mentioned scaffolding. This is so important for teaching skills especially for ELL and struggling learners.
      Marveen

    • Desiree Wilcox says:

      Hello Shelly,
      Thank you for your thoughtful reflection on UDL in the ECE classroom. I,too, teach in an inclusive kindergarten classroom, and find it most helpful to use UDL guidelines in establishing my curriculum, classroom environment, and teaching strategies. UDL is an excelled resource for teachers as it establishes the fact that ‘not one size fits all,’ and provides flexible approaches to instruction and assessments to best serve the individual learner.

  43. Lanaye Smith says:

    It is extremely important that multiple approaches/styles are brought into one classroom. All students learn in different ways and are at different rates with such unique needs. There is no “one-size fits all” method that we all should be using. Each child deserves a chance to engage and learn each and every single day. Differentiation is a must in classrooms. We have seen this more than ever since inclusion has happened. It is crucial to give adequate support in order for every child to succeed. Use of self assessments, visuals, and assistive technologies are just some ways to apply UDL within your classroom.
    I believe that it is important to start with a single lesson and then build on from there. Rather than trying to implement every single guideline, start with one and build from that. I have just started to create individual goals with each of my students. As of now, I have only done this in reading, but I want to eventually branch out to goal writing in every subject. I would like for student’s to eventually come up with their own goal with just minimal support from me. This falls under III. Providing Multiple Means of Engagement. In such a short time, I saw the positive effect this had on students learning. They were able to work independently with a “reason/goal” in mind. It is specific to them, which builds power and persistence to reach their goal. . I have also been working on providing much more vocabulary with the support of visuals. The majority of my class is English language learners, and it is extremely important that the new vocabulary they are learning sticks with them. Building schema and providing visuals is wonderful support to help foster this.

    • Lois Vaughan says:

      Hi Lanaye,

      I enjoyed reading your post. I have always felt differentiation is a must for all students at all grade levels. I like your idea of starting with a single lesson and building from that one lesson. Starting with one lesson allows you a foundation on which to differentiate and provide all learners with the tools and strategies they need to be successful. I also like how you mention building vocabulary, activating background knowledge, and providing visuals.

      Lois

    • Chelsea Reed says:

      Lanaye, I love your idea for your students to develop their own individual goals for themselves, what a great way to engage them in learning, develop independence and choice making and gain an understanding of their personal perspectives on their education. I think this would be very beneficial I’d love to hear how it turns out.

    • Anna-Karin Joachim says:

      Hi Lanaye:

      I appreciate your suggestion to start implementing UDL with a single lesson. All the areas to be targeted and ideas around UDL are so helpful, but quite overwhelming, in their vast quantity. Thank you also for sharing your success with having students set their own goals to increase their engagement. This gets me thinking on how I can incorporate the practice with my preschoolers. During art or building at the block center I could dedicate more time to asking them what they are planning to make.

      Thank you for your post!

      Anna

    • Carrie Austin says:

      Hi Lanaye,
      I love the idea of having your students come up with their own goals with just a little support. I can’t do that in preschool at this point, but when students are a little older, as in your case, I think it would be great. It would give them more ownership of their learning and pride in their accomplishments.
      I am also going to work on providing more vocabulary with visuals for my students as I have several ELLs that could use this support.
      Carrie

    • Marveen Terryberry says:

      Lanaye,
      Incorporating UDL into the classroom can benefit all students. The supports that are in place for specific students may also help others that don’t appear to be struggling, especially the use of visuals and manipulatives. What a great way to reach all learners.
      Vocabulary development is so important. I like how you are putting supports into place to foster this. I also believe that having students develop their own goals or at least have input on them will increase their interest and engagement. Great post!
      Marveen

  44. Donna McCarthy says:

    UDL is an excellent framework that helps educators utilize alternate means to accommodate individual learning differences. Providing multiple ways to give learners options for acquiring and demonstrating their learning is such an asset for teachers in meeting the unique needs of each student. UDL also presents multiple means of engagement for educators to utilize in considering student interests to motivate and challenge them in their learning. UDL is a great resource for educators when addressing curriculum as it provides a framework for goal setting and lesson planning, particularly regarding specific needs of students. By keeping the guidelines in mind, educators can address those needs in a manner supportive of learning.

    • Cyndi says:

      Hello Donna
      When working with other teaching staff and discussing what could be put into place to help a certain student. Many times I hear us saying this could benefit all students, which UDL has made this thought process even more correct.

    • Marveen Terryberry says:

      Donna,
      I plan to use UDL in collaborating with teachers as well. Developing supports that fit into the classroom and teaching style of the teacher will ensure that they are used and will benefit the students.
      Marveen

  45. Jenny Shroyer says:

    ECSE/EC curriculum is a great place for UDL designs. Making the curriculum accessible to all students is the goal of an inclusive classroom. It will help teachers to build the curriculum around their student’s needs both learning and physical. Students in early childhood are not aware of their learning styles so presenting information in a variety of ways and modalities is a great way to reach all students. The engagement section of UDL is important in early childhood as it can teach them to be responsible for their own learning. The student can learn valuable self-regulation skills and UDL can help.
    I feel that UDL is in a lot of the practices that I already implement in my classroom. Although it does depend on the student population at that time. Students are given many visual examples of schedules, rules, routines, and learning processes. These processes are also given verbally to them. For non-verbal students I have picked up a variety of common sign language actions that I use in conjunction with talking to the students. My school has also been implementing learner characteristics so students will know what makes a good learner. In our classrooms it is a lot of teaching then what the terms mean and ways that we can see it in what they do. Students work on reflecting on their work and on others work to help make improvements. There were many UDL principles that I think would work in conjunction with teaching these characteristics.

    • Carisa Madrid says:

      When teaching in an inclusion classroom with children ranging in ages, experiences, and abilities, applying the ULD design to each learning center and large group experience is necessary. The UDL is applied curriculum and instruction in an ECSE classroom in a variety of ways to include representation, expression, and engagement.
      The focus of representation is allowing learners different means for receiving information. The use of a visual schedule is a simple tool I use to help children transition and become independent learners. For example, an ELL who is very likely having their first real experience to the English language is placed in my class. I instruct students in English where they should be going and their expected behaviors but my ELL wouldn’t understand. Seeing the schedule posted with visual clues on what is to happen next and a visual of real children performing the activities will provide the student who is ELL a greater understanding of rules and expectations.
      Expression allows for learners to demonstrate their understanding. When I think about how I apply this to a non-verbal student in my class, I think about my use of objects and toys during large group. Rather than just verbally listing items that begin with letter b, I have small objects that both begin with the letter b and other letters in the alphabet. My student, who is nonverbal, demonstrates her ability to discern letters when given a choice of objects. Had I not provided this student with this opportunity, I would have never discovered that she is able to understand alliteration and phonemes. She is unable to say that banana starts with b. She is able to identify a banana from all small group of objects to demonstrate her understanding for the objects that start with the letter B.
      Engagement is also particularly important as it increase a student’s motivation by challenging the student to want to learn more by teaching the student at their specific learning level. In the math center of my ECSE room I have puzzles that include single matching with large handles for grip to 48 piece floor puzzles. A student with higher cognitive abilities will not want to develop their spatial relationship and problem solving skills using the beginner puzzle. However, this student may spend 20 minutes piecing together a floor puzzle with 48 pieces. Finding and using ability appropriate toys in centers is an affective UDL strategy for engaging learners.

      • Cyndi Pittsenbarger says:

        I appreciate your view on ELL students. Many times they are lost in the shuffle. Visuals are key for these students to have success in an English speaking classroom. Another low tech idea is to use hand motions for commonly used words, this will aid the ELL student in two ways. a hand motion will help the student understand the word and to use the word. If the child cannot remember the word but has the understanding of the word they can communicate the word with the hand movement.

      • Desiree Wilcox says:

        Hello Carissa,
        Thank you for your thoughtful post. I especially enjoyed your reflection on serving ELL’s. I have used UDL strategies in my classroom to serve ELL student quite successfully. Some strategies I have used following the UDL guidelines include:
        – Demonstrate using multimedia—videos, audio pictures, and concrete objects.
        -Use gestures and body language.
        -Speak slowly and enunciate clearly, without speaking more loudly than normal.
        -Repeat information, and review and rephrase if the child does not understand.
        -Provide classroom materials labels and instructional cards in student’s home language and English
        -Encourage peer interactions through play and small group activities.
        -encouraging and patient with the student’s efforts and challenges in learning the new language

  46. Beth Wagner says:

    *How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    EC/ECSE curriculum has many opportunities to add UDL to the equation. As the first school experience (outside of day cares) preschool is a unique opportunity for teachers to start from scratch and create an environment of learning that will be conducive to setting the stage for the children’s future view of school. UDL can be applied in the purposeful planning of lessons and activities. When the children are so young it is common for families to be more present in the classroom, even just at drop off and pick up, so teachers have an opportunity to interact with the families and learn more about the students in their classrooms. Using UDL, teachers can incorporate multi-sensory activities, bring in technology, design peer-interaction play opportunities, etc. The students coming into the classroom are diverse, both in background and skill, so the teacher is constantly figuring out ways to reach each child – through interest areas, learning about the child’s fears, establishing a relationship of trust with the students, and noting the student’s strengths.

    *How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    UDL is implemented every day in the classroom, maybe even by accident. In the preschool classrooms, we use visual aids such as visual cues, personal schedules, and “First,…/Then,…” prompts. Tactile cues are used with physical prompting to cue a transition or even to illicit a response. Children are given the opportunity to work with various materials and explore centers. Technology can be implemented in the classroom through smart devices, or even just a CD player…if kids know what that is.

    • Sarah Rhodes says:

      Hi Beth,
      I appreciate your comment that UDL is sometimes implemented “even by accident” in your classroom. So much of the UDL system seems to be reliant on thoughtful teaching, and so by meeting students needs, it makes sense that there will naturally be elements of UDL present. I am glad you mentioned the learning of students’ fears as a significant way to reach each child. It is an area I hadn’t really focused on but clearly so important in helping children feel comfortable and successful.
      Thanks,
      Sarah

  47. Amy Newsom says:

    The principles of UDL can and should be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and instruction. I am a preschool teacher, so everything that can be applied to EC curriculum and instruction can be incorporated into my classroom. Even when I do not have children who require adaptations to be successful, it is important to address the variety of learning styles that different children learn best from. UDL is one of the best ways to do that. When teaching content, I try to include auditory, visual, and kinesthetic components to meet the different learning styles of all of my students. I also try to include different methods for children to demonstrate learning, because all students have strengths and weaknesses in the ways in which they demonstrate understanding of content. Children also have preferences, so when choices for activities or assessments are available it helps students to be able make selections that are more interesting and appropriate. It is also important to activate prior knowledge and ensure that activities are meaningful to students. If the activity is relevant to their lives, students will get more out of it. With this age group, I find rhymes, songs, and visuals to be some of the best ways to teach students so that they remember information over the long term. It is also important to create a “safe” classroom climate and eliminate distractions to the extent possible with young children. Teachers need to provide effective and specific feedback to support student learning, and scaffold child learning as needed. I believe that when the principles of UDL are applied to classrooms, all students are more likely to be successful learners.

    • Sarah Rhodes says:

      Hi Amy,
      I appreciate your mention of the usefulness of UDL in ANY EC/ECSE curriculum/classroom. My understanding of UDL is that it can potentially attend to the needs of every student, all of whom have their own individual needs, whether those needs fall under the category of special education needs, or the incredibly varied needs of all children, including children with typical development. It is easy for me to think of UDL solely in the context of special education, yet remembering the emphasis of UDL as a system that is beneficial for every student, helps me in perpetuating an environment in which all students feel effective and appropriately supported.
      Thanks,
      Sarah

  48. Jeanne Easton says:

    UDL is an appropriate approach for all students, including early childhood special education. Each typical classroom is highly diverse and in the early childhood setting, many of the students needs are still being discovered. By approaching teaching using this design, a teacher can feel confident that as the needs of her students are discovered or as the needs change, the curriculum doesn’t have to change. There will already be a system in place to ensure that the information can be delivered to the students in a manner that will be effective and beneficial for them.

    In the inclusive setting that I teach, implementing a universal design for learning is crucial. We are constantly striving to create lesson plans that are flexible so that we can accommodate all of our students. We design the lessons to have multiple means of delivery, whether we use each delivery method or not, they are planned for in the event that we feel there is a need. There are four teachers in each grade level and one of them is a special education teacher and we plan our lessons together. It is extremely beneficial to have the input of both general education teachers and the special education teacher in the planning stage so that we are careful to address the needs of all students.

    • Kaytlyn Smith says:

      Jeanne,

      I think that is great that you can plan with your colleagues for the diverse needs in your classroom and that you are always planning for how your lesson may need to be changed depending on the needs in the classroom. UDL can be great for making sure that teachers are always aware and planning for a variety of needs.

  49. Kaytlyn Smith says:

    I think using the principals of UDL in an early childhood is so important because it aligns what we do in the classroom with what the expectation is in elementary classrooms and the expectation from school districts for teachers to be providing this level of care. More importantly in an ECSE classroom we can strive to meet these guidelines because they are universal and make sure that we are paying attention to the design of our classroom to make sure we meet the needs of each student in our classroom whether they have disabilities or not.
    In my own classroom, I am to use these guidelines to make sure that each child has access to the same high quality education no matter what their needs are. Which means paying attention to the modes that instruction is delivered as well as how materials and toys are presented in the classroom. By paying attention to each child as a unique individual, the UDL guidelines can fit perfectly in any classroom and just makes sure that teachers are aware of how to make learning accessible to every student.

    • Donna McCarthy says:

      I agree that it’s important to pay attention to the delivery of instruction and to provide suitable materials/toys for all children. These principles ensure that all kids receive the same quality education. Keeping that at the forefront of my mind will prevent kids from “slipping through the cracks” in the day to day activities.

  50. Krystal Rodriguez says:

    Universal Design for Learning is a framework that aims to create an inclusive environment for all children. It does so by individualizing instruction, accommodating to a child’s needs, and building on a child’s strengths. UDL focuses on accommodating the representation of materials, providing various methods to for children to demonstrate knowledge and creating ways to combine instruction with student interests for overall engagement. This framework is relevant to ECSE because working with children with special needs also means meeting a child’s needs and going to any lengths to enhance their educational experience and participation.
    One aspect of UDL that aligns with my educational beliefs is that educators should focus on modifying curricula by making it flexible, accessible and diverse. I would apply this aspect of UDL by getting to know my students and integrating their background knowledge and culture into the curriculum. I would use what they already know to introduce new topics and ideas, while also embedding new vocabulary into instruction. By using context clues and relatable lessons, children would have more learning opportunities to engage in class.
    My main objective would be to use a child-directed approach as a foundation for instruction and creating more learning opportunities within the UDL framework.

    • Kaytlyn Smith says:

      Krystal,

      I think a child-directed approach is the best way to implement UDL in a ECSE classroom. By doing so, you are able to observe the children in your environment accessing materials and being able to see what changes you need to bring to your classroom in order to keep the room educationally stimulating.

    • Amy Newsom says:

      Krystal,
      I love your child-directed approach that is based on relatable and meaningful lessons for your students using UDL. One of my goals for next year is to incorporate some project-based learning into my teaching where topics are chosen by my students. I am hoping that this will help them find the content more meaningful, since it will be structured around their interests.
      Amy

  51. Amber Graham says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    – UDL can easily be applied to any grade and system, especially within Early Childhood and Special Education. UDL is giving children opportunities in becoming successful on their level with the help of the teacher differentiating the lesson plans and scaffolding the students as they see appropriate.
    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?
    – I have applied UDL within my Preschool Special Education classroom by asking the children what they want to learn about but also keeping their IEP goals in mind. They guide their own learning and it’s my job to incorporate their IEP goals into the lesson plans. This way, the children have a voice within their learning as well as still having a clear expectations on their goals we need to reach. I also make sure I am providing them lesson plans based on their interests and strengths. I love KWL charts for this reason. KWL charts are an easy way to gather data and information you need as teachers on your students but it also is a way to show the children what they are learning about and all the information they have learned and can share with their families and peers.

    • Krystal Rodriguez says:

      Amber,

      I love the idea of asking children what they want to learn and allowing them to guide your instruction. Ultimately, children know what engages them the most and it is a great place to start. I have found that giving children choices in any decision-making makes the processes much smoother and calm.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy Newsom says:

      Amber,
      I plan to incorporate the UDL strategy of asking my students what they would like to learn into my teaching next year. I honestly do not know why I have never thought to do that before. I think it will make my students more motivated as I plan for their needs around their interests. I also love KWL charts. I have always completed them as a whole group, and I never thought about sharing them with families. Do you make individualized KWL charts for each student? Or do you fill out one as a whole group. I am curious, because I never considered using as KWL as a portfolio item, but I love the idea!
      Amy

  52. Deborah Szumny says:

    Universal design for learning (UDL) is a scientifically proven framework necessary in all early childhood classrooms. UDL requires teachers to be flexible in the ways that they present information, students respond or demonstrate their knowledge, and are engaged. All students vary in the way that they best learn information, so it is important for teachers to be accommodating and supporting of all learners. Teachers must incorporate the information on IEPs and think outside of the box to provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement. As an example, when teaching students about shapes the teacher might ask students to trace shapes, cut out shapes, show images of shapes, look for shapes in the classroom, invite students to walk around large shapes on the floor, and draw shapes in shaving cream. The teacher might also make signs clearly displaying the name of each shape. Including the elements of UDL in this capacity benefits all learners.
    In my practice as a teacher I plan to use UDL daily when planning for lessons. I will keep a checklist in my plan book to remind me of the multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement. At the preschool level I will focus on how I display information, the inclusion of physical movement, scaffolding information, and providing choices. I must remember that the curricula I utilize might not incorporate UDL. It is my job to be flexible and make changes as necessary.

    • Amber Graham says:

      Hi Deborah,

      I like your idea of keeping a checklist to remind yourself of the multiple means of representation. I have noticed within my preschool classroom that children LOVE music and movement. I have also learned/noticed that when teaching children new things, to find a song or even make up your own song to sing about what you are teaching is helpful to all students. They will be able to learn and use the new vocabulary within the song as well as if you sing about shapes, show a visual of the shape you are singing about. It’s the Rhythm and melody that catch and keep children interested.
      Good luck!

  53. Mona Ready says:

    UDL is an essential component to any early childhood setting. For UDL to be successful it is critical that teachers understand the unique needs of the students they are serving. When teachers understand the unique needs of their students, they can begin modifying their lesson plans to meet the needs of all learners by providing information in multiple ways and providing options for students to respond, rather than using one medium, thus increasing overall engagement.

    In regards to my own teaching, I want to focus on presenting information in multiple ways. For example, using lots of visuals visuals (e.g., visual schedules, pictures, symbols etc. ). Furthermore, I want to create an environment where students have choice, In my experience, when students have choices they are more engaged and this leads to more positive outcomes.

    • Amber Graham says:

      Hi Mona,
      I agree with you that visuals help children learn expectations. You are right when you say that when children have choices they are more engaged which leads to positive outcomes. I really enjoy the thinking and process behind UDL and will start to use and think of these strategies within my own classroom. Hope to have another class with you again Mona!

    • Jeanne Easton says:

      Mona, I think you are right that choices lead to more engagement. I hadn’t really thought about how important choices were to students, but I can see what a benefit it is to them. I also didn’t realize what a fantastic tool visual aids can be. We incorporate a lot of symbols and picture schedules and they help all of our students, both those with disabilities and those without. I know that the visual schedule we had for our afternoon routine was popular with all of my students. Thanks for your comments!

  54. Heather Abraham says:

    UDL is a key approach that can be applied to early childhood special education curriculum and instruction through intentionality in lesson design and implementation. By considering the unique needs of the students in the class, teachers can make adjustments to how information is presented and how students are required to respond and demonstrate knowledge. The accommodations and modifications portion of the IEP can serve as a starting point for individual needs that might have to be taken into consideration and combined with the principles of UDL.

    In my teaching, I will be focusing on multiple ways to represent information to students, i.e. via physical, picture and symbol representations. In addition, I will focus on providing students with choice in order to increase engagement in learning activities.

    • Mona Ready says:

      Hi Heather,
      I, too, think that choices are important. I don’t have much teaching experience, but during my preschool observations, giving choices was a very important to the classroom teachers and it worked well. I noticed that students were much more engaged and took an active role in the classroom when given choices, These teachers also included a ton of visuals that helped students throughout their day.

      I am hoping in my future teaching that I can master presenting information in a useful, meaningful and engaging way to all students.

    • Jeanne Easton says:

      I’m glad you made the connection to the accommodations and modifications portion of the IEP. That is an excellent starting point, as you mentioned, to discover and address the needs of our students. It will keep our flexibility ad multiple methods focused in the direction that will be of most benefit to our students. I think that often we forget how important choices can be for students. We might be great at providing multiple means of teaching, but how often do we present them and let the student choose which feels right to them? Thanks for your comments!

  55. kathy follensbee says:

    Although I am ‘just learning’ about UDL – I feel very excited about it as I have used and built on these concepts for 30 years teaching a Dance Arts Education program in the public school system. It is nice to have the research to back up what I have been doing for years, and it is great to have more ‘ah ha’ moments to think even further about what else I can do to enhance student learning.
    ~kathy follensbee

  56. WilliamDixon says:

    Most teachers strive to reach all students. UDL is providing not only a method to do that but also the tools to accomplish the goal.

  57. angela bouet says:

    I am just learning ?

  58. Faith Wailes says:

    When I initially began to think about “Universal Design” it didn’t seem much different than using differentiation in the general education classroom. The description of universal design in regard to architecture helped to expand my thinking. It is the practice of the organization I work for to regularly provide pull-out services for students with disabilities. With the use of universal design within the early childhood classrooms I serve, I feel that embedded interventions would be occurring frequently without intent. Working side-by-side with general education teachers to build universal design into their classrooms would enhance the specialized support students with disabilities would receive. Preschool classrooms have students with a great variance in exposure and naturally occurring skills. Using universal design would promote a positive and effective learning environment for all by providing a classroom that is accessible to all students no matter their experiences or disabilities.
    Finally, I do wonder if the true use of universal design in preschool classroom would lessen the number of students who are referred for special education. For those students who are still referred and qualify for services, I feel that the use of universal design in the classroom would provide a continuity of instruction among the general education teacher and service providers.

    • Mona Ready says:

      Hi Faith,

      I couldn’t agree with you more that working with the general education teachers is critical to ensure they are building in universal design into their learning is a critical piece of the puzzle. We have to implement UDL with consistency for all students.

      In regards to your last comment about if UDL in preschool would lessen the number of students referred to special education, i think it would. Research has shown that when universal classroom procedures are put in place, there is not a need for much individualizing, therefore, students would be receiving high quality instruction all the time and those students who don’t need special education wouldn’t be referred. It would also truly identify those students who are still really struggling and need that referral to special education.

    • Cyndi Pittsenbarger says:

      Hello Faith
      I appreciate the thoughts of collaboration general education teachers is critical. If the child has a continuum of expectations and accommodations they will know the what the expectations are and can concentrate on learning the new skills.

  59. Barbara Marquez says:

    I come upon UDL through my field of study, I am studying to become an Early Childhood Special Education teacher, and UDL was part of the Unit.

    I like UDL because it is not a one size fits all it is a way for students to learn the same things by using their ideal learning style. UDL is about providing options and the tools for learning.

    I feel UDL works perfect for Special Education. As a teacher, I continually search for ways to individualize for students, and accommodate their learning style. I also try to utilize what motivates students in lessons. UDL really opened my eyes to utilizing different modalities for teaching, and the different assistive technology accessible in the present day. As a special education teacher, I feel it is easier to scaffold because I mainly work with students on a one-on-one basis. I also use many visuals and find them very effective with students who have cognitive issues, and those with speech/language impairments.

    • Heather Abraham says:

      Hi Barbara, I agree that the concept of UDL is a natural fit for special education in that it honors the unique learning needs of students rather than a one size fits all approach. It is also intriguing to think of how we can utilize UDL to do less one-on-one pull out, and integrate students more into the classroom setting.

    • Mona Ready says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I couldn’t agree more that UDL is a model that suits all learners and their unique needs. UDL provides a framework for us to follow that allows us to make sure that we are taking into considerations each student’s needs.

      I like that you incorporate many visuals when working with students. I am a visual learner myself, and I know that not all students are visual, but it is so helpful to hear and SEE the material presented. I find visuals particularly helpful with students who have behavior issues.

      Thanks for your thoughts,
      Mona Ready

  60. Jolie Malizzi says:

    I think that UDL is most important in EC/ECSE because children with all needs and disability are in the same class more often than in the older grades. With UDL teachers provide the students choices. The teacher just naturally put in choices for the students in their lesson plan.

    Just the different amounts of ways a teacher can present information is amazing enough to me. For example vocabulary can be presented in at least three ways. It can be spelled or read, described, acted out, sounded out, and shown an example or object of the vocabulary. Teachers put in different choices of ways to answer the questions. They can write it, say it, or showing the answer with technology. For preschool they could say it, show it with an object, or draw it. Keeping the students engaged especially in preschool needs to be in the lesson plan on a daily basis.

    I have probably been doing a form of UDL on my lesson plan I just didn’t realize it. There is always need for improvement. Giving my students choices is a big part of my class. I allow the students to choose their own center and what to play with in that center. I allow them in morning circle to choose the song of the day. I know that I need to work on the student’s response. Sometimes I forget that I need to allow wait time for some of my students. By using UDL it forces you to focus on those things like student’s responses.

    I have gotten better and better every year in thinking of different ways to present lessons. This is my first year in this job and there is a new curriculum and a new set of rules. I can’t wait to see what I come up with next year. Even if something has worked year after year for you doesn’t mean it works for your students year after year. I have to make sure to focus on the needs of my students. If I present my lesson in different ways I think that their engagement will follow. UDL is a great tool to do what is best for each child. My using UDL not only do the students grow a lot better, but so do teachers.

  61. Jennifer Jablonsky says:

    Using the UDL design in ECE/ECSE is a perfect fit. Children at this age are so excited to learn and it is important to look at all learning modalities when teaching them new material. Exploring all their senses helps to increase their engagement and learning experiences. Providing children with real life experiences through field trips or class visitors helps build their background knowledge and their excitement about learning new information. Music and movement help children become physically engaged and allow them to become a part of the learning activity instead of just sitting and listening. Art allows for exploration of pre-writing skills and expression of both feelings and comprehension skills. Dramatic play builds executive function skills in young children and provides opportunities to retell stories through actions. UDL is the basis around which preschool and ECE/ECSE revolve and it helps to build skills in young children as they are excited to learn more about the world around them.

    • Amber Graham says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      I was scrolling through the comments and “Music and Movement” caught my eye so I had to read your comment! I can’t agree with you more and everything you said. I have learned everything you said in my Undergrad (Early Childhood Education) but have forgotten some of your comments. I am glad you mentioned having class visitors and field trips in order to build on their background knowledge! Field trips are something that is hard for my preschoolers to do at the school I am at now because of budgets and their age, but we could still have classroom visitors come to them!
      Thank you for your post and your awesome reminders!

  62. Maureen Chapman says:

    The UDL concept is easily adaptable to the ECSE curriculum. I use many visual and tactile learning options with children. Specifically, I use visual daily routines, using print and picture/photo concepts side by side to introduce children to concept of print as well as the concept of visual support to understand print.
    I have most recently begun to use UDL to extend the learning of problem solving techniques for children. This use of visual and tactile supports in the classroom assists in facilitating learning and cementing that knowledge through supports that are easy to use and apply for the children within their common space.

    • Heather Abraham says:

      Hi Maureen, you make an interesting point that you can push students’ thinking through UDL in the area of problem solving. The techniques can support student independence and scaffold critical thinking abilities. I’m curious to see what specific examples you have for how your are using UDL in relation to problem solving.

  63. Molly Royal says:

    As a ECE teacher, I believe that UDL is an essential component in the classroom. Like others have stated, I have been following many of the guidelines without even being aware of it. I have always believed that all children need to have access to information presented in different modalities. Thus, when I present a lesson, I make sure to incorporate visual, auditory and hands on learning. An example, would be in the way we present a storybook. The first time we introduce a story, we simply read the story to the children. The next time we read, we ask the children questions to encourage deeper level thinking. Lastly, we have the children act out the story or retell the story using a flannel boards or other props. By presenting the story in this format, the children are being exposed to all three learning modalities. In addition, children have opportunities to write about what the story or about concepts introduced in the story i.e. “what is your favorite part?” or “what is something you learned from the story?.” This way the children have different opportunities to express their understanding of the story.

    • Deborah Szumny says:

      Hi Molly,

      I agree that UDL is an essential component in the classroom. Information must be presented in different ways to incorporate all learning styles. This is especially important in the early childhood setting, because children do not know themselves as learners yet. They are unable to advocate for information to be presented in the way that they learn best.

      Thank you for your example about presenting a storybook and inviting students to act out the story using a flannel board or props. I used readers’ theater frequently when I taught 5th grade; my students loved it. You reminded me of this strategy, and I look forward to trying it with younger students.

      Deborah

  64. Angela Grandorff says:

    Universal Design for Learning is an effective and common-sense way to educate both Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education students. It takes into consideration each child’s individual interests and provides multiple ways for any child, regardless of ability level, to access and express their learning. By using UDL teachers, as well as all adults in an individual child’s life, are provided direction in how to adapt lessons for children that do not learn from typical instruction in the home or classroom. By applying the representation, expression and engagement UDL guidelines a teacher is ensuring that each child will be able to access the information being taught and express their understanding and knowledge of the concept all while being actively engaged and motivated to persevere until their job is well done.

    I apply concepts of UDL in my classroom on a daily basis. I scaffold questions, provide choices, and limit possible answers on just about everything that we do in a given day. I use my students’ interests to determine the content of our curriculum (somewhat easy to do since I currently work in a self-contained setting with students that are highly unmotivated to perform academic tasks that involve any kind of writing which usually result in behavioral outbursts) so that they are more likely to be motivated to complete the task. Technology is used in my classroom on a daily basis and my children are able to adjust the technology used to fit their individual needs. I allow students to choose how they will express their learning, allowing them ownership of their project/assignment so that they can be free to express their individual understanding in whichever manner that best works for them. Although I apply many concepts of UDL into the teaching in my classroom daily, there are several concepts that I still need to refine in order for me to be the most effective teacher that I can be. I now have the tools that I can use to get started on a better track of UDL instruction.

    • Deborah Szumny says:

      Hi Angela,

      Thank you for your comments on UDL. By scaffolding questions, offering choices, and allowing students to choose how they express themselves you are doing a good job of incorporating UDL in your classroom. You comment that you determine the content that you teach based on your students’ interests-a great strategy to motivate students. In doing this, are you still able to meet all of the state standards and objectives? I have never taught in a self-contained classroom, but know that know that the intensity and high demands of standards would not allow me to do this in a general education classroom.

      Deborah

  65. Kathryn Zook says:

    UDL is a very important concept to know thoroughly when you become a teacher. It is based throughout your and ECE/ESCE curriculum and instruction. Within the concepts of UDL there are multiple things that I take away. First off, I am very much a believer that students are different. Within my classroom, everyone know that they are each different and that makes my classroom a very strong model for UDL. Not only does UDL give the idea that not all learners learn the same way, but it also provides ideas as to how to make each one of those different learners fit into the classroom. There is always a way to differentiate and there is always a way to meet everyone where they need to be met. Within my own classroom, UDL fits right in. I not only give students options when it comes to learning or even being assessed so that they can own their own learning, but I also provide adaptations for each student who needs it. In my classroom I have a student with a physical disability and UDL comes into play quite often based on this. My student is always involved in everything we do in the classroom, but needs some different accommodations in order to do so. This includes letting him dance with scarves or dance with instruments in order to help him be creative and express himself while the others may just be dancing around the carpet. Another way I accommodate is having him sign into class using the keyboard on the computer. He is not yet ready to hold a pencil and form letters, so instead he uses the keyboard and has to find each letter in his name in order to sign in. There are multiple things I do within my classroom to accommodate all children whether it is a child with a disability or just a child who has different strengths and needs. Within UDL, expression, engagement, and representation are key components. Not just having these involved in your classroom, but having each of those things differentiated for your students. It is important to provide options as well as to remember that we are all different. Not only are all of us different types of teachers, but all of our students are different types of learners.

    • Krystal Rodriguez says:

      Kathryn,

      I appreciate your perspective that children are innately different. I feel that it must motivate you to use these UDL strategies to differentiate instruction and meet the individual needs of children. I also like the accommodations you are using for this student. I have not had much experience with assistive technology, but I like how you are using it in various ways to allow him to participate with his peers. I want to learn more about them, and learn how they can connect children to their education.

      Thanks for your post!

  66. Savanna Anstedt says:

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is best applied in ECE/ESCE curriculum and instruction. I like the concepts of UDL because it is not a “one size fits all” type of program. UDL can be applied to everyone. I was using the concepts of UDL in my classroom without being aware that I using a program. In preschool, we want to make sure all students are learning to the best of their abilities. They may not know how they learn best since this could be the first time they have entered into a social or educational setting. I always try to accommodate all types of learning. This includes: music and movements, actions to vocabulary, picture schedules, written words labeled throughout the classroom, having students watch as I model and peer interactions and modeling. Some of these are the concepts that stuck out to me the most through UDL. The ideas presented through UDL in representation coincide with preschool philosophies. For example, when presenting a new vocabulary we put an action to the word, we spell the word, and we describe the meaning of the word and relate the word to the preschoolers. This way the meaning of the word is meaningful to all students. The expression concept of UDL is integrated into preschool because we are continually scaffolding for each student. When you have students 3 to 5 years old, there is going to be huge learning gaps between each student. For example, identifying letters and sounds in their names. A 3 year old would not be expected to identify all the letters or sounds in their name, whereas, a 5 year old would know their letters and possibly some sounds. However, we work with individual children to gain knowledge at their level. Lastly, engagement is always something to strive for, especially in preschool. I always make sure my students are engaged. We learn new concepts by using our senses rather then teacher-lead activities, I let the students discover and I support their learning. This week we are planting grass seeds, we talk about what seeds need to grow and what types of seeds we grow. Then each child had the chance to explore the dirt and seeds and water their seeds once they were planted. I think this becomes more meaningful to the student and allows for the concepts to be learned rather then taught. This is what I like most about UDL, incorporating all children and allowing them to become successful life-long learners!

    • Molly Royal says:

      Hi Savanna,
      I agree with you about engagement being such an important part of learning for children, especially preschoolers. I too strive to make sure that every child is actively engaged in the learning process by incorporating activities that use multiple modalities. I feel that movement and hands on interaction help children retain information and make it more meaningful. Take your example of planting seeds. If you only read a story about planting seeds and did not let the children have the opportunity to plant their own seeds it would not have been as meaningful to the children. By having the children plant and take care of a seed, they are now invested and engaged in the learning process.

    • Kathryn Zook says:

      Savanna,
      I completely agree with your comment on how UDL is all about how one size does not fit all. I think it is a great approach to use when teaching students when they are students with special needs or students within the general education classroom. I enjoyed your ideas around UDL and the ways you incorporate it into your classroom. It sounds like you give students multiple opportunities to learn something through hands on, discussion, and even visual representations. I think it is important to remember that we are all different, we all learn in different ways, and we all need different supports. Using UDL strategies help to meet all of those varied needs and makes a classroom of learners.

    • Jennifer Jablonsky says:

      Savanna,

      I agree with your comment about UDL not being a “one size fits all” program. I think that if children were provided more opportunities to learn in this type of program, we would see more success in our students. I realize that teachers are only following guidelines set forth by administration and by legislation; these people are often not in the classrooms and do not understand how difficult the learning situations are for children. Good post!

      Jennifer

    • Jolie Malizzi says:

      Savanna,
      I’m glad that you pointed out that you are already doing UDL and didn’t know it. After the readings, I felt the same way. Having the different age groups forces us in a way to use UDL. We have to think on all age levels and learning levels. The part about UDL that I like is that it is not just an add on to our lessons it is intergraded into our lessons. If we just sit and think about our students just think of the fun ideas we could come up with. I really think Mailbox Teacher Magazine has a lot of great starters to use. I usually end up using their idea and making it my own. I also like Beverly Johns book, “401 Practical Adaptations for Every Classroom.” Both of those places are a great place to start especially in Early Childhood.

    • Angela Grandorff says:

      Hi Savanna,
      It sounds like you are a great teacher!
      I too like how the concepts of UDL are not a “one size fits all” type of program. To me the concepts behind UDL are common sense – they are what a good teacher does naturally when they are teaching children. It makes sense to take into consideration each child’s individual interests and ability level and adapt your teaching to best meet their needs so that they may access the information and express their individual learning.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Angela

    • Faith Wailes says:

      Savanna, I like how you point out the large learning gaps that exist in preschool classrooms. I find that exposure can set even children of the same age far apart in their skills. Through your multiple examples of teaching strategies used in your classroom, you have definitely demonstrated the importance of engagement in building universally designed classroom. I feel that I sometimes lack in my ability to effectively reach out to the students I work with, but by having the expertise of professors and classmates like you I feel I am learning how to better meet their needs.
      Thank you,
      Fiath

  67. Reading all this things above is also a fun and gives you more knowledge about the topic.

  68. Tina L. says:

    UDL is so appropriate for ECE classrooms because it supports the school of thought promoted by NAEYC that preschoolers learn by doing and being engaged in their enviroment by things that interest them. Preschoolers learn from visuals, music, movement, and by being engaged in dramatic play (multiple means of engagement). Preschoolers also express what they learn in multiple ways through games or playing out stories or by using manipulatives.

    I am using elements of UDL in my classroom already. My choice board for centers uses actual pictures of the spaces in my room iin which the children play. I use stories to teach concepts and pictures paired with the vocabulary words to help students understand what the words mean. These elements help all of my students to learn.

    • Kathryn Zook says:

      Tina,
      I also agree completely with you on how preschoolers learn and that UDL really supports that. Not only are we able to differnetiate using UDL, but we are able to find the many different approaches of learning and that is extremley important as a teacher. Not only do you use UDL through instruction, it sounds like you use it by letting students choose centers or even see things visually throughout the classroom. I think that it is great to incorporate choices into the classroom and this too is a part of UDL. Within my classroom I enjoy incorporating UDL through choices of how they like to write their name in the morning. The students are able to choose what paper or what material they want to write their name on and this gives them ownership of their own learning. It not ony helps them own their own learning, but it also makes it more meaningful for them. I bet when they choose their own centers it too makes it more meaningful for them because they are owning their learning through centers as well.
      Great Job,
      Kathryn

    • Jennifer Jablonsky says:

      Tina,

      We had a school board member one year that said other grades have so much to learn from how preschool teaches. He felt that the interactive learning routines were much more engaging for children than the “skill and drill” methods that are typically used in older grades. He said that he felt preschool was the only grade that truly looked at the child and what they needed to learn.

      Jennifer

    • Jolie Malizzi says:

      Tina,
      There are so many checks and balances with Early Childhood Education. Like you said we have NAEYC and UDL. We have ECERS to check things like furniture arrangement and communication, and some places have CLASS which focus on how the teacher and student interaction happens. I think that is why UDL is so easy to put into practice in preschool because there are so many things that keep up in check to teach those little ones. Preschool is like all of elementary school rolled into one. We have all the specials, special education students and typical students, meals, behavior PBIS plans, and family involvement. It doesn’t mean that we need to stop looking for great UDL ideas though. I’m glad you brought up NAEYC it really got me thinking.

    • Beth Wagner says:

      Hi Tina,
      I think it is interesting (and great) that a lot of what we already do in the classroom is considered UDL. I agree with you that the centers in the classroom need to be areas of interest for your students. There is nothing worse than bored preschoolers. I think that in order to know these interest areas, a teacher has to really interact with his or her students to learn about them and their preferences and dislikes. Also, as preschool teachers, we have the unique opportunity to have more parents in the classroom than the older grades. While we may only interact with parents during drop off and pick up times, we are still seeing their faces and are able to build those relationships with them. These parents are also able to talk to us about their child’s morning or night before, which can be a life saver for the day ahead of us. 🙂

  69. Kelly Ahern says:

    UDL can very naturally be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction. As an ECSE teacher I believe that implementing UDL in the early childhood years is a perfect way to set the stage for individualized instruction. The UDL model is a convenient and efficient way to teach to the individual child. Treating each student equally does not mean treating them the same. It’s important to understand that even typically developing children need individualized support to be successful.

    After learning more about UDL I believe that I am already implementing it into my classroom. Now I feel more knowledgable about UDL and the tools that can be used with it, so hopefully I can implement it more efficiently and in a more purposeful manner. I have a very diverse group of students and for many of them, this is their first experience in a school setting. I want each child and family to feel supported and feel that they can be successful at school. Using UDL is a great way to make sure I am meeting the diverse needs of my students.

    • Chelsey Pfost says:

      Kelly,
      You introduced a very important point. I love that you said that treating each student equally does not mean treating them the same…because even typically developing children need individualized support. Often times I think educators think of offering support to the students that are delayed and recieving specilized services. However, as you described, this isn’t always the case. All students need an individualized education that is based on their unique strengths and needs. Although some interventions may look different than others, they are all support. This is why UDL is such a great strategy. When using UDL we create a classroom environment that ensures each child is supported without singling out a particular student.
      Great points!
      Thanks,
      Chelsey

    • Maureen Chapman says:

      After reading about UDL, I realized that it’s a natural ‘fit’ for ECE, as well as ECSE. I use visual supports for all of the children I work with. They appreciate the option of using a picture or object to convey meaning. It also gives them more options, especially with the use of a choice board. These visual supports in the classroom have given the children with whom I work confidence to effectively participate within the classroom setting. I have also introduced the concept to parents, and have assisted a few parents in developing ‘choice boards’ at home to help their children communicate their wants and needs more effectively.

  70. Melissa Murray-Hobbs says:

    I think that Universal Designs for Learning are most apparent in an inclusive preschool classroom. Not only are students at developmentally different levels, but also different ages (3-5 years). Teachers must adapt the environment to fit so many different physical and cognitive levels. I think that one of the greatest benefits of UDL is in it’s ability to engage all students with concepts, materials, and ideas. Through physical, auditory, and visual representations students are all able to interact fully with the material. Through UDL the means and modes that most impact individual students should be accounted for. As mentioned in this thread, students with special needs in an inclusive UDL classroom may require less pull out activities as their learning opportunities can be multiple and varied. UDL also provides a well rounded learning experience that allows for greater generalization across persons and settings.

    In thinking about UDL, I believe one of the keys that I will try and utilize in my classroom is multiple means of demonstrating understanding. When I work with preschool students with special needs, I vary activities and ways of response to meet individual student needs. One of my students may verbalize counting, another may match objects with numeral cards, while others may physically move objects into groups. Observation, anecdotal notes, checklists, tallies, and portfolios allow for rich assessments. I would like to learn more about how adaptations and modifications are utilized when assessing older students on standardized testing.

    • Beth Wagner says:

      Hi Melissa,
      I absolutely agree with you about the role UDL plays in inclusive classrooms. As teachers, we are making little tweaks here and there all day, technically using UDL strategies. After awhile, the practice just becomes second nature. When I first started out, figuring these things out naturally was difficult. Once I let go of the control piece and “sticking exactly to the pre-planned lesson,” I learned that the class leads you to where they need to go. UDL is the framework we use to remind us of how to best meet our students’ diverse needs.

  71. Lanee Vansant says:

    I like how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is considered the “mastery of the learning process”…learning strategies and preparing for a lifetime of learning. There is no better place to start that “preparation” than in a preschool classroom. Like every classroom, the preschool classroom represents a variety of culture, language, socio-economic background, learning styles, and learning abilities. UDL’s principles of representation, expression, and engagement can be applied to early childhood education in a number of ways. First presenting content in a variety of ways will allow all students to learn efficiently. Connections can be made quicker with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic means. In early childhood education it is imperative to use visual aids, oral instruction, movement, music, and dance. Music and movement is universal and I like to use it daily in my classroom. All children can engage even if they don’t understand the words. I also tend to be very animated during story telling with the use of props and student involvement. Second, students express and move differently in a learning environment and promoting a variety of ways to communicate is necessary. In my experience, many students are duel language learners or have speech and language impairments, so I consistently work to promote all students to participate. This may include sign language, teacher modeling, music, spanish interpretation, or visual aids. Lastly, I believe the most important aspect of UDL is engagement. To gain the interest of students and motivate them to learn precedes the other principles of UDL—representation and expression.

    • Melissa Murray-Hobbs says:

      Lanee,

      I really liked your comments on how music and movement can connect and engage students. In the preschool classroom that I work in, we have daily song/movement time at the end of our first group circle. We incorporate weekly songs that fit with our unit which also work on identification of colors, shapes, body parts, and/or rhyming. I work with students with special needs in this classroom and I am always so excited and astonished by how engaged my students become even after a long period in the group setting. This is just one of the ways that a preschool classroom effectively uses the principles of UDL. When I began to think about specific examples in my classroom, I was amazed that virtually every center, manipulative, toy, and strategy fits into this framework because it is such a hands on and play based learning environment.

      Thanks!

      • harriet langer says:

        Music and movement definatly engage students. Props are another way to engage students. I have used props with music and movement and with stories. A great way to use stories and props to engage various students is using them in a whole group setting and then putting them out as center work or in the library and seeing how the children interact with them. I sang “5 speckled frogs” for a few days, then had the children sing the song with frog props, and then read the book having the children interact with the props. The following week, I put 2 “5 speckled frog” books by the flannel board and had all the peices of the story on the board. 2 girls sat together (an English speaking student and a Spainish speaking student). The English speaking student sang the song (I wish I knew the song in Spainish….next time i will sing the song in both languages), they turnned the pages of their books at the appropriate time during the song, and they put the appropriate prop peices on the flanneld board together. They worked together at this activity various times throughout the week and encouraged other children to join them.
        I beleive this activity would be ideas that work with the UDL checklist in mulitple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement.

  72. Norma Noriega says:

    The way that I can apply UDL to my ECSE curriculum is through the activity design that addresses a variety of methods to acquire the material being presented to them. I have activities that call for the use of manipulative s to demonstrate comprehension and learning, paper pencil activities with extensive modeling and expectations of the finish product, I show videos to provide visual and auditory supports to auditory and visual learners, and I am fortunate to speak both English and Spanish in order that I can clarify information to ELL students in order to facilitate comprehension and access instruction.

    I offer many visuals to support all my pre-k students, throughout my classroom I have vocabulary words attached to pictures, the classroom schedule is placed on the front white board, classroom rules are printed in large font and laminated onto florescent construction paper to stand out and catch the eye, the layout of our classroom is open and all materials are accessible (at the children’s level) and all shelves are labeled with words and pictures, a student computer is accessible to all children to utilize (the mouse has a sticker on the right side to guide students to press on that side to navigate the computer), there is also a listening center to allow students to hear familiar books that have been read in our classroom before, and individual supports through small group instruction is provided during non-academic times during the day like work time and meal time.

    • Cecilia Sargent says:

      Norma,
      It is very evident that much of your UDL’s are embedded into your everyday activities. This is very important because it is what UDL is all about; the ability to include all learners in various ways that support their unique learning styles.

    • Jennifer Sundt says:

      Hi Norma,
      It sounds like you already use a lot of hte UDL strategies in your classroom. By doing that you are able to meet the needs of the diverse groups that you typically encounter in a preschool setting. I think most good teachers follow these guidlines. I think it was great to see a list all in one place to help organize and check that you are remembering to use a variety of strategies.
      Jennifer Sundt

  73. Chelsey Pfost says:

    Early childhood education today consists of a wide range of learners, each with unique needs and strengths. UDL ensures that each individual is provided the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability. Rather than singling out and providing specific supports to the student(s) that need them, UDL allows general and special educators to design learning environments that support learning for every child.
    Although I do not currently have my own classroom I spent a semester student teaching and have been a substitute teacher since. I have realized that knowing the strengths, needs, and interests of each of the students has a significant impact on curriculum and instruction. As educators, I think many of the skills involved in UDL come naturally to us. When planning each lesson and the instruction that will be necessary, teachers think about the learners in their classroom. They can predict which parts of the lesson individuals and/or the whole group will prosper and which areas they will need more instruction and support.
    In looking over the UDL checklist I realized that I have unknowingly used many of the UDL strategies in my teaching. I have encouraged my students to access their background knowledge and link it with present learning. I have provided constructive feedback to students during the learning and skill building process (formative evaluation). I’ve also fostered a classroom community in which peer-support is essential. When I do have my own class, I think using the UDL checklist will provide me with ideas and allow me to ensure that I have planned for multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement for each child.

  74. Cecilia Sargent says:

    For many years I have been implementing UDL strategies in my preschool classroom, however I did not realize that this is what it was called. As a matter of fact, implementing UDL’s is the reason why I continued educating myself. All of the unique strategies I learned from OTs, PTs, SLPs, etc. introduced a new and fascinating way to teach students. This made learning engaging and fun for all of the students in the classroom and I wanted to be a part of their learning opportunities. Learning new and effective ways to teach young students has been a great opportunity for me.

    UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum because of the unique ways it differentiates learning for each student. Most of the UDL’s I use in my classroom are already embedded into daily routines, such as picture schedules, classroom rules, ideas and strategies for peer problem-solving, and ways to clam down from having strong emotions. I provide tools to assist varied learning difficulties. Some examples include fat pencils, a tripod pencil grip and different sized chairs. I also provide many different opportunities for movement as well as more quiet activities.

    • Melissa Murray-Hobbs says:

      Hi Cecilia,

      I really liked your comment about UDL strategies learned from professionals in other areas. I work as a preschool special ed paraprofessional and recently I was able to follow my team OT and SLP during pull out sessions with some of my students. It was awesome to see how I could incorporate small, but significant learning opportunities into some of my daily routines and transitions. For example, when taking students to the bathroom in small groups we may work on skipping or freezing and balancing on one foot. We may also look at hallway art work and posters to incorporate vocabulary and answer “wh” questions. All of these small embedded learning opportunities individualize instruction while also providing different means and modes of instruction and response as well as providing opportunities for generalization.

      • harriet langer says:

        Melissa and Cecilia,
        I agree with you about learning from other professionals and using what they have taught you or the student. This is exactly what I think the transdisciplinary team model is all about. Teaching each other methods that work for students, collaboration, and role release, knowing another adult will follow up on an activity and give feedback and instruction regarding the student. I love the collaboration of bouncing ideas off one another, sharing expertise, and looking at the whole child. If the team looks to the whole child there is no separation of services. A child can get speech services while doing an OT activity. This can transend into the entire classroom. Everyone can have speech opportunities while doing a whole class OT project and everyone can participate because of UDL strategies that allow all students opportunities to learn the same lesson.

    • jennifer sundt says:

      Cecilia,
      I think most good teacher do utilize the UDL strategies as you do as well. It is nice to read about something you have been doing and find out that your strategies are best practices. When I read the list, I noticed that I use a lot of the strategies listed here as well. I have also seen many of the strategies used in classrooms I have observed in.
      Jennifer Sundt

    • Tina L. says:

      Hi, Cecilia,
      I think its so amazing how you and other teachers have been using UDL for years without even knowing about the design formally. I think that is because the entire concept just “makes sense” and truly helps kids learn. I’m not sure if all teacher are taught this concept in their own education classes in undergrad school, but I really feel that it should be part of the curriculum if it is not already!

    • Faith Wailes says:

      Cecilia, I am glad you have mentioned the importance of looking at the strategies used by other service providers. I also find the information others provide me essential to learning more about my students and learning how to incorporate multiple disciplines into my teaching.

      I am blessed to be surrounded by very knowledgeable and caring professionals who are always willing to work together to best meet the needs of students. By looking at UDL, I have been reminded of the importance of collaboration to provide learning environments which naturally meet the needs of most students in the preschool classroom.
      Faith

  75. Kelley daSilva says:

    Preschool and UDL are a perfect fit because of the diverse learners in a preschool, especially ECSE classroom. The learners are not only diverse, but their exposure and EC backgrounds that they bring to school are varied and diverse. UDL offers ECSE teachers guidelines to set the stage for a successful learning environment. Of all of the guidelines, I would like more ideas and examples for my favorite one – expression.

    Of all of the guidelines, the one that I am most excited about is allowing options for expression. Regardless of the content area or grade, I think it is important to think about differentiating in a new way. In preschool it can sometimes take a while to really observe and understand what the students know. I love the idea of differentiating the options of expression or communication so that the students can express what they know. Teachers need to be creative and allow each student to shine and really show us what they know.

    • Dawn Schoffstall says:

      I have to say I liked learning more about the UDL process. I realized that I am actually using this system but not really realizing it. After reading information on UDL I strongly agree that diversity is the norm not the exception. Due to this explanation teachers need to understand and incorporate different ways child learn and perceive information. As a teacher we need to be aware of how students comprehend , how they interrupt, and how motivate students need to be looked at differently. By using the UDL this allows a teacher to be creative and explore new ways to reach their students in many different ways. I feel it is a great idea to use UDL in the ECSE program.

      • Ashley Hamand says:

        Dawn I think you said it perfectly, UDL should be the norm not the exception. I believe that in the ECSE program UDL is a great way to teach to the individual student and not have the students conform to the teachers lesson plan. I love the explanation of UDL as a blue print for the education of the student. ECSE educators are individualizing their lesson plans for certain students to meet their objectives and IEP goals. UDL is just a way that all students benefits from their own in their own interest to demonstrate what they have learned.

      • I really like the realistic phrase that diversity is the norm. I wish everyone would embrace that reality at least those that live and teach in a diverse environment. The UDL principles are wonderful for all learning environments and I believe especially necessary in inclusive preschool environments. Curriculums can cater to it, resources can enhance it, but ultimately it is the commitment by a caring teacher to implement those principles.

  76. Elizabeth Key says:

    The principles of UDL can be very effective in the ECSE classroom. UDL strategies help educational professionals meet the needs of every student in the classroom. EC curriculum is often designed to average, middle-class American children: the reality is that many students in ECSE programs are more diverse. Educational professionals must incorporate many different activities into the curriculum to meet the needs of every student in the classroom.
    Content should be presented in multiple ways to engage students and ensure understanding. Educational professionals should strive to provide students with learning experiences that incorporate various learning styles to increase motivation to learn. Just as students do not all learn information the same way, they do not demonstrate mastery of the material in the same exact way, so students should be provided opportunities to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways. The variety of elements utilized in UDL will motivate students to learn and remain engaged in the learning process.
    In my ECSE classroom, I seek to incorporate elements of the thematic unit into every learning center. This provides the students opportunities to explore the topic through various means and mediums. Whole group discussions then focus on helping the students tie together everything they have learned through discovery and play with what they have learned through the unit books and small group instruction.

    • Cecilia Sargent says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I really can’t get over how often UDL experiences are performed. I really believe that preschool teachers do an awesome job at implementing various ways for students to learn. I did not consider the idea of how thematic units can also provide unique learning opportunities in the classroom.

  77. Jowana Wilkins says:

    A real challenge for teachers of today is providing learning opportunities in the general-education curriculum that are inclusive and meet the needs of all children with less supports and more state and federal mandates. ECSE’s, and classroom teachers, use UDL constantly in their practice. Lessons are constantly being individualized daily. ECSE’s and preschool teachers may find that implementing UDL in the preschool classrooms is easier compared to the elementary level. ECSE’s have specific IEP goals in mind, however, they are always tailoring lessons to classroom routines, child strengths, and child interests. They also use an activity-based approach that can easily be accomplished within the preschool setting because it allows for more flexibility and more teachable moments. Smaller class sizes also make preschool classrooms allows for more creativity in how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning. UDL allows all children to access the general education curriculum with the support of ECSE.

    • Ashley Hamand says:

      Jowana,
      I agree with you completely. Hearing the discussion in our weekly whole school meetings a lot of primary teachers feel that they do not have the resources or the time to use UDL to its fullest potential. But as an ECSE teacher it seemed possible and even sounded like things that we were already doing in our classroom. When having a discussion with an experienced fifth grade teacher he likes the idea of UDL and uses it his classroom by just adjusting and adding things to his lesson plan. He mentioned that it wasn’t that much extra work but some teachers feel so overwhelmed and when they are told that they need to apply a new technique they automatically go into defense mode. I wonder how administration can present UDL without teachers feeling overwhelmed but rather feel empowered about giving students a enriched education.

    • Maureen Chapman says:

      UDL is such a natural fit for early childhood classrooms. I have used pictures for all sorts of communication with the entire class. As the children increase their vocabulary skills, they use the pictures when they need to use them. Their demonstrated confidence in using pictures to interpret meaning is a skill that they acquire in addition to using the pictures to make choices, play with peers, and communicate their wants and needs effectively. I’m a big proponent of using UDL throughout the classroom.

  78. Rebecca Burge says:

    Implementing the UDL in the classroom is a must in the realm of ECSE. When I think about how to use it in my classroom, I automatically think about differentiated instruction and being able to reach all my students to ensure each one has an opportunity to learn and grasp concepts. There are many instances where I believe we implement the UDL without even thinking about. When a student doesn’t understand or special modifications need to be made for a student (for example, a student who is visually impaired may need tactile objects to help “see” the pictures of a story), we accommodate their needs by individualizing our instruction even in a large group setting. It is our job to recognize when a student is lost and we need to find ways to ensure they can understand and that is where the UDL is successful. Each student can greatly benefit from the UDL because the classroom content is presented to them in numerous ways. Having multiple opportunities to learn also gives the students a chance to have the material reinforced. The UDL is an incredible strategy to implement!

  79. Emily Gilchrist says:

    I believe Universal Design for Learning should be used as a framework for all educators. It can easily be implemented into any curriculum or instruction and help to accommodate all students. As an educator I am always looking for easy and simple ideas to make a lesson work for all the students. By using UDL guidelines I can make simple changes that can help my students better understand and learn the materials. By simply changing the text color of a document, adding captions to a video, or giving the student options for how to complete an assignment, you can make a lesson better accommodate your students.

    • Jowana Wilkins says:

      Emily,
      I liked how you even realized changing the color of a document can help support learning. I’m sure of we all reflect back on our own schooling, there were teachers that stood out to us because they met our needs for learning. As a strong visual learner, as a child I knew colors appealed to me but was never able to express that I couldn’t read/learn materials printed in red. When teachers are cued in to small accommodations, children’s learning because you are supporting them every step of the way and they realize their own learning styles or strategies to help themselves later.

    • Dawn Schoffstall says:

      I like how you mentioned UDL should be incorporated into the every day curriculum. I think sometimes as teachers we feel that it is easier to plan a lesson and have all the students learn the same way. But as we know, or should know, students all learn in many different ways, which means we need to be creative and find ways to meet each child. Just like you mentioned changing the color on the text or adding a video, allows for variations in your teaching style, but still allows for students to learn and comprehend accordingly. I strongly agree that as teaches we simply need to make accommodations to meet the students, and have they succeed in their form of learning styles. I also think by adding UDL in to our teaching, will make our lessons and activities more exciting as well.

    • Norma Noriega says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. The key word in your post is “easy” UDL should not be difficult thing to implement in a classroom setting. Something as simple as enlarging the font size, color and placement of vocabulary words, the morning message, classroom rules and allowing children to draw pictures, role play, and verbalize comprehension of any or all subject matter.

    • Chelsey Pfost says:

      Emily,
      I appreciate the point you brought up. Incorperating UDL into a classroom can be done in a matter of small simple steps. Each time we accomodate a student’s needs during large group activities, the other students in the class also benefit. These simple steps can make a huge difference for all of our students, not just those needing the extra support. One thing I particularly like about UDL is that a whole group of students in an inclusive setting with a vast variety of abilities and needs can benefit from the accomodations. This way no one student is singled out.
      Thanks for your post!
      Chelsey Pfost

  80. Bryan Porter says:

    Honestly, aside from some ancillary connections to classroom management (as it relates to student engagement), as an ECE teacher, I’m not sure how my idea of applying UDL to instruction is any different than applying it to teaching. I may be missing something. In terms of both questions, therefor: I think the UDL model is about creating a student-centric learning environment, where the instruction is provided in a way that can accommodate all learners. It is, essentially, differentiated instruction in practice. To be honest, I don’t know how teachers can claim to offer truly differentiated instruction, if they are not using a UDL model in their classroom. The beautiful thing about UDL, is that it allows a teacher to teach the same concept or objective, in a variety of ways, and at the same time. This becomes not only incredibly efficient (in terms of providing differentiated instruction), but somewhat more fun for the students. I incorporated the UDL model in one of my remedial 6th grade math classes last year (thanks to my SPED Para), and the difference in student engagement and academic progress were both phenomenal.

    • Rebecca Burge says:

      Bryan, as I was reading your post, I found myself nodding in agreement. Especially when teaching early childhood (as this is my only experience/reference point) I think the only way to successfully teach the students is through the UDL. Each child learns in a different way. By providing various modes of instructions to the students, not only are they learning a concept, but you are also reinforcing the material. Thanks for sharing.

    • harriet langer says:

      I like your explaination of UDL. The UDL allows a teacher to teach the same concept in a variety of wayss at the same time. Efficiency is so important to teachers when they have so much to do and making lessons fun is so important to the students in getting them involved in their learning. I am glad you saw increased engagement and progress using a UDL strategy. It shows how well it works.

    • Tina L. says:

      Bryan,
      I never thought about it before, but you are so right about UDL being so much more efficient! The teacher provides all of the options of engagment, expression, and representation up front and the students can choose what will work best for them or what interests them more and it saves the teacher making multiple explanations and teaching multiple lessons. All the more reason for using UDL!!

  81. Courtney Carmichael says:

    Universal Design is a tool that can benefit all students learning. Students can now have assignments sent to their in box rather than carried home in back packs. This allows students that suffer from ADHD or suffer from poor organization skills easy access to classroom materials. Universal Design can be applied in a physical space to make clasroom more inviting and easy to navigate. Universal design delivers information in a way that is easy to comprehend regardless of ability or skill set. For example, classroom notes placed on website by a teacher can be read via assistive technology in their native language. The goal is inclusion for all students then Universal design is vehicle that is going to get us there.

    • Kelley daSilva says:

      Courtney,
      I love the idea of having notes available online so that a student can access them in another language. What a wonderful tool for English language learners! It is incredible to me how long it takes to acquire the ACADEMIC language that is needed to be successful in the classroom. While the conversational language can come quickly, the academic language can take 5-7 years depending on the age of the student. What a wonderful gift to provide a student with the classroom notes in their strongest language! This is fantastic and makes teaching diverse groups of students seem challenging instead of impossible (I am thinking about a teacher who was describing her fifth grade classroom and she had 5 different home languages). Since we are accountable for showing growth, this could be a tool to help reach all students and obtain better results from our teaching. Wonderful!

      • Kelly Ahern says:

        Courtney and Kelley, I also agree that having notes online is a fantastic tool, especially when it can be translated. I am thinking this would be a great home-school connection for my preschool class. Obviously the students would not be reading the material, but it would allow the family to get involved at home and provide academic support in their home language. Over half my students are English Language Learners and this year it has been difficult to feel that I am communicating successfully with families in order to build a strong home-school relationship. Accessing the UDL tool online in your home language would really help families become more involved with their child’s education.

    • Jowana Wilkins says:

      Courtney,
      What a great and innovative way to help children still stay on top of their schooling without “forgetting” assignments, notes, etc. Using an inbox can also help parents support their child’s learning rather than relying on the child to bring home classroom information. It also incorporates the family’s native language which is often time consuming and not able to be accomplished in a timely manner. Not only does this benefit children’s learning, but it benefits the family component!

    • Emily Gilchrist says:

      Courtney,
      I agree that to some students being able to access things online would be very helpful; however you need to make sure they are also offered in print form. If a student does not have access to a computer, they become singled out.
      I also really like the idea about offering the documents in the student’s home language. That would be a really good tool for reading comprehension. Sometimes students do have good comprehension skill but do not read English well. Allowing them to have the materials in a language they can read well would give a better understanding of their comprehension skills.
      Emily

  82. Ashley Hamand says:

    In ECSE you are using UDL in your classrooms all the time. Some strategies are thoughtful planned by using a backwards planning design, where you start with the standard and objective and then think of multiple ways for students to acquire the information, give many different opportunities for students to demonstrate they have learned the information in interesting and motivating ways. However teachers are constantly using UDL without even thinking about it, it is just second nature for most teachers. Changing the lesson immediately to fit your learners needs can be easily done in EC. This may be due to the smaller class size, more staff assisting, and less pressure from state tests and performance scores. While there is still pressure for your students to show progress EC allows the progress to be more natural and to be able to have the time to easily fit in UDL. In my classroom I would like to use more resources from Center for Applied Special Technology. Technology has increased students ability to independently function in classrooms. I believe that many teachers are afraid of technology and think that it will cost a lot of extra money. Really a lot of programs that can support students are around 50-100 dollars, while some are free and already embedded into your current computer programs. It is easy to be close minded about UDL but I believe every great educator has the ability to embrace UDL for the benefit of their students.

    • harriet langer says:

      Ashley,
      I agree that changing a lesson immediatly to fit the needs of different learners can be easily done in EC but I have seen some teachers who are not so quick to change. For some people, it may be difficult to adjust on the fly. Having ideas in your back pocket to pull out at a moments notice is a skill many but not all teachers have. I like the UDL checklist and was able to put some of those “in my back pocket” ideas down on paper for specific ideas (a means of representation, a means for action or expression, or a means of engagement). It was nice to see where those ideas could be implemented instead of just waiting for the time to use them.
      What a great quote for you to end with “every great educator has the ability to embrace UDL for the benefit of their students”. Sounds good to me!!!

  83. harriet langer says:

    UDL helps educators create a curriculum that will meet the needs of all types of learners. UDL helps to create a curriculum that reduces barriers to learning and provides support to all students. UDL can be applied to an EC/ECSE classroom by allowing all children to learn together. If a teacher is teaching a lesson, the UDL guidelines can help the teacher find ways to teach that lesson to all the students. UDL will allow a teacher to see that assistive technology can help guide the lesson for students who need it. The teacher may see a way to group students that will allow them to get the most out of a lesson. UDL allows teachers to teach a lesson so that each child can learn it in their own unique way. Using the UDL checklist will help plan for individualized instruction for students.
    I think I am using many of the UDL strategies in my EC classroom. We have a classroom picture schedule posted in the room but some students need their own picture schedule to help them stay on track and know what will be happening next. One student has to remove the picture from his schedule when he has completed that part of his day to help him feel less overwhelmed with the day. During group time, some children sit in cube chairs, one sits on a “tippy spot”, and one student holds onto a weighted blanket. This allows for all children to be present and comfortable during a large group meeting. When we talk about letters during school, I believe UDL strategies come into play. We sing the ABC song throughout the day. The teacher points to certain letters when reading a poem or a story. Sometimes the children come up and point to the letters themselves. We have made letters out of our bodies and taken pictures of each “body letter”. We play games using objects and pictures that begin with a certain letter. The children interact with letters on the promethean board or on an I Pad using an alphabet program. We write letters in shaving cream, sand, and on paper. We trace textured letters that have been cut out of sandpaper and trace them in the air. We have put letters into whatever texture is in the sand table. Words and letters are all over the classroom. Throughout the day, the children see letters, hear about letters, interact with letters, say letter names, touch and write letters. I believe these various forms of letter learning allow for all types of learners to get the concept of letters.

  84. Todd Sundeen says:

    Be sure to click on the Principles to see some excellent resources. Look for the links to 2.0 too.

    • harriet langer says:

      UDL helps educators create a curriculum that will meet the needs of all types of learners. UDL helps to create a curriculum that reduces barriers to learning and provides support to all students. UDL can be applied to an EC/ECSE classroom by allowing all children to learn together. If a teacher is teaching a lesson, the UDL guidelines can help the teacher find ways to teach that lesson to all the students. UDL will allow a teacher to see that assistive technology can help guide the lesson for students who need it. The teacher may see a way to group students that will allow them to get the most out of a lesson. UDL allows teachers to teach a lesson so that each child can learn it in their own unique way. Using the UDL checklist will help plan a lesson with individualized instruction for students.
      I think I am using many of the UDL strategies in my EC classroom. We have a classroom picture schedule posted in the room but some students need their own picture schedule to help them stay on track and know what will be happening next. One student has to remove the picture from his schedule when he has completed that part of his day to help him feel less overwhelmed with the day. During group time, some children sit in cube chairs, one sits on a “tippy spot”, and one student holds onto a weighted blanket. This allows for all children to be present and comfortable during a large group meeting. When we talk about letters during school, I believe UDL strategies come into play. We sing the ABC song throughout the day. The teacher points to certain letters when reading a poem or a story. Sometimes the children come up and point to the letters themselves. We have made letters out of our bodies and taken pictures of each “body letter”. We play games using objects and pictures that begin with a certain letter. The children interact with letters on the promethean board or on an I Pad using an alphabet program. We write letters in shaving cream, sand, and on paper. We trace textured letters that have been cut out of sandpaper and trace them in the air. We have put letters into whatever texture is in the sand table. Words and letters are all over the classroom. Throughout the day, the children see letters, hear about letters, interact with letters, say letter names, touch and write letters. I believe these various forms of letter learning allow for all types of learners to get the concept of letters.

  85. Kelley daSilva says:

    Preschool and UDL are a perfect fit because of the diverse learners in a preschool, especially ECSE classroom. The learners are not only diverse, but their exposure and EC backgrounds that they bring to school are varied and diverse. UDL offers ECSE teachers guidelines to set the stage for a successful learning environment. Of all of the guidelines, I would like more ideas and examples for my favorite one – expression.

    Of all of the guidelines, the one that I am most excited about is allowing options for expression. Regardless of the content area or grade, I think it is important to think about differentiating in a new way. In preschool it can sometimes take a while to really observe and understand what the students know. I love the idea of differentiating the options of expression or communication so that the students can express what they know. Teachers need to be creative and allow each student to shine and really show us what they know.

  86. Jennifer Sundt says:

    UDL is perfect for the ECSE classroom. ECSE classrooms are very diverse and all planning needs to be looked at to plan for the wide range of needs in the classroom. Teachers can use the checklist when they are planning a unit or lesson to help make sure they are planning for all the needs in the classroom. I think making notes on the checklist about what specific kids may benefit from specific strategies may help teachers plan even more. In my own teaching, as a special educator in an elementary school, I can use UDL to help the teachers I work with plan for all students. I think if teachers planned using UDL the practices could be more inclusive. The general education teachers I work with are often worried about meeting the needs of the students on IEP’s. Their solution to meeting needs is that students are pulled out of class. I think if I could get teachers to use this checklist, students could be included in the classroom more.

    • Kelly Ahern says:

      Jennifer, I like your idea about making notes on the checklist for individual children to help individualize instruction. You are absolutely right when you say that using the UDL checklist will help teachers provide a more inclusive environment. I am also an ECSE teacher and we certainly have a diverse group of students. Preschool is a great time to build the foundation for tolerance and acceptance. Using the UDL checklist helps ensure that all children are having their needs met and it also allows children to observe that although we all learn in different ways and some of us perform tasks in different ways, we are all in this learning environment together and we can support each others learning in a safe, fun environment. Thanks for your post!

    • Todd Sundeen says:

      Thank you Jennifer. Making sure that students remain in their inclusive classrooms is an important point. Finding ways to successfully implement a variety of ways to improve accessibility to content and assessments.

      • Bryan Porter says:

        I think this thread is a perfect introduction into a conversation about the perceived differences between special education and RTI. One of the things that upsets me most in today’s educational environment, is the bogus delineation made between serving special education students and students who are simply falling behind academically. UDL is a perfect solution for both groups, because both groups are, in essence, exactly the same. I think it comes down solely to the degree of challenge. Shouldn’t a student with an IQ of 85 be given the same instructional considerations as a student with an IQ of 65; or, an IQ of 135 for that matter? That’s really the magic of using UDL in an inclusive setting — you are finally providing instructional accommodation to EVERYONE (not just those for whom there are federal mandates). Shouldn’t that always be our mission as educators?

      • Jowana Wilkins says:

        Bryan,
        I agree with some of the points you made about UDL being used for all children. We know that it is best practice for teachers to individualize for all learners in our classrooms, but sometimes it becomes a daunting task if “where do I start?” for some educators. Unfortunately, the realization of today is that education is becoming more mandated. Teachers need to constantly be conversing with other professionals on how to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom while continuing to meet the mandates.

    • Courtney Carmichael says:

      Jennifer,
      The UDL is a valuable tool when it comes to meeting the goals and needs of children On IEP’s. Your comment on using the UDL checklist as an instructional tool to help promote collaboration among teachers and service providers is a great way of utilizing that tool. Providing every opportunity in the classroom to be fully inclusive and benefit al students learning ig also a great use of the UDL checklist. Too often children are pulled out of the general education classroom and by better utilizing the tools available to us, such as the UDL checklist, we can minimize the time children re isolated.

    • ydomings says:

      Jennifer, I agree with your attempts to get the general educator to use the checklist as a means of increasing inclusion. However, one down side about making individual accommodations in this way is that it perpetuates the idea that that the individual is the problem and not the inflexible curriculum. Also, by focusing on one student, the accommodations are not provided for all students. Often all students can benefit from reducing barriers in the curriculum.

      The other thing to think about is that the basic premise of UDL is that it is not the individual that ‘needs’ something, but the curriculum needs to be broader and more flexible in order to accommodate all learners. In my opinion, even if one student is being excluded, it is a symptom of a curriculum that is too inflexible. I know this may seem like semantics, but it is really the only way to use UDL to its full potential.

  87. Tracie Swann says:

    Wow! I thought this information and forum was amazing. It has helped me conceptualize what I already know and think of ways to revise lessons for improved classroom instruction. It sparked much creative thought for me as a educator and a parent. This online workshop should be a requirement for teachers in all disciplines. Often teachers don’t have a set of guidelines like these. I will use this over and over to refer back to and have made extensive notes along the way through my reading. I am so thankful I took this course.

    • harriet langer says:

      Tracie,
      Great idea that the online workshop should be a requirement for teachers. That is a great inservice idea. Teachers can always use guidelines that help. I agree that it sparks creative thought. It is nice when the creative thoughts can help in your work and in your home. It makes it mean even more when ideas can be applied universally.

  88. Danielle says:

    Utilizing UDL principles in the classroom doesn’t eliminate the need for accommodations for students. Accommodations will always be in need in the classroom, such as the flexibility in seating for a student with a visual impairment. Applying UDL in the classroom will guarantee full access to the content for most students and reduce the need for specific accommodations. For example, creating web notes in a way that can be accessed as they are created. If a student with a visual impairment were to come to the class, you would not need to re-create any lessons; taking less time in the long run. If you let all students have access to your assignments on a class website can do away with the need for assignments in alternate formats.

    • Sarah Osmonson says:

      Danielle,

      I like the way have explained this. I also see UDL as being a means for developing curriculum accessibility for students. UDL is not something that teachers should do simply because they have students with special needs in their classroom. Applying UDL to planning, which leads to it’s implementation in instruction, is meant to best practice for serving students with diverse learning needs. In reality every classroom is made of students with diverse learning needs because everyone learns differently and at different paces. Thus, UDL best practice for ensuring all students have access to curriculum and can be supported by other accommodations or modifications required by some students needs. As, you pointed out so well in your example of a student with vision impairments.

      Sarah

      • Dawn Schoffstall says:

        Hi Danielle,
        I like your comment on teachers should not just use UDL because they have special needs students. I feel that using the UDL can help all students in the classroom no matter what disability they have. To me using UDL can help with all students since everyone has different learning styles. For example in my classroom I have a boy how is deaf and blind and we still are able to include him in our daily activities. We simply do this by having students sit next to him, touch his hand, help paint with big brushes, use adaptive toys to communicate with him. I feel that this is a learning experience for all.

    • Whitney says:

      Danielle
      I completely agree with you UDL cannot take place of accommodations. Much like you said, UDL allows people to access the curriculum. I like your example too…I find that I have to do similar things within my own classroom, but primarily in a hard copy format. Thanks for sharing!

    • Angela Connelly says:

      Hi Danielle,

      I really appreciate your point about UDL being a way to provide access to all students but not the complete approach to accommodating all needs. It’s not a “golden” ticket, but it does improve student access and is beneficial to all students regardless. I often wonder how many students who remain unidentified would benefit from a teacher who uses UDL practices to facilitate their learning.

    • Kelley daSilva says:

      Danielle,
      When I first heard about UDL I wasn’t sure what I was learning or how it would apply to my preschool classroom. Your point about accommodations is critical to truly understanding UDL. UDL principles are not designed to replace anything, but to provide a better starting point for everyone. They are something to use for EVERYONE from the beginning that most students will find useful for a variety of reasons. Another example that is similar to your web notes example would be visual schedules and other visual aids. These type of items are more common in preschool and lower grades but are useful to English language learners, non-readers, visual learners, and students who may otherwise struggle to stay on task or keep track of the schedule. I personally love seeing illustrations in addition to text. Your example is great! I love it when I have something in place that could eliminate the need for extra work later on!

      • ydomings says:

        Hi Kelley, I agree that visuals help everyone. When I worked with students with Autism, this was a common accommodation and then the gen ed classroom teachers started using the same kinds of things for all of the students. Additionally, I think it is interesting to note that new websites are favoring visuals over text as most people respond to visual representations quicker and, as you point out, they are great for ELLs.

        Yvonne

    • Courtney Carmichael says:

      Danielle,
      Technology has made it easier than ever to more universally design our classrooms and curriculum. Students no longer have to read off a blackboard in the front of the class they can now read text off a computer at the desk. Classroom lectures can be typed up and printed or emailed to all of the students in class. UDL is not going to eliminate the need for accommidations but it should minimize the severity and indescrepency among the type of accommidations.

    • Bryan Porter says:

      Danielle, I would respectfully disagree. I would say, that if you are implementing UDL correctly, that it becomes an accommodation (for every student, according to his or her own need). That’s the wonderful thing about UDL — it accommodates the learning needs of all students (not just those IDEA-eligible disabilities). After all, don’t we all have some type of learning disability or delay, in one way or another?

    • Kelley daSilva says:

      Danielle,
      When I first heard about UDL I wasn’t sure what I was learning or how it would apply to my preschool classroom. Your point about accommodations is critical to truly understanding UDL. UDL principles are not designed to replace anything, but to provide a better starting point for everyone. They are something to use for EVERYONE from the beginning that most students will find useful for a variety of reasons.

      Another example that is similar to your web notes example would be visual schedules and other visual aids. These type of items are more common in preschool and lower grades but are useful to English language learners, non-readers, visual learners, and students who may otherwise struggle to stay on task or keep track of the schedule. I personally love seeing illustrations in addition to text. Your example is great! I love it when I have something in place that could eliminate the need for extra work later on!

      • Norma Noriega says:

        UDL is really a universal application that helps all people. People with and without disabilities, as well as people who are auditory, kinesthetic, or visual learners. Visual aids definitely support young learners and people who speak and understand another language. I am both a visual learner and a second language learner, so UDL is quiet helpful and beneficial for the way I learn. As instructors it is our job and duty to provide the ultimate learning experience for all student despite of disability, background knowledge and experience, or learning style.

  89. Jenn says:

    UDL can be applied many ways in ECSE and EC, especially when working in an inclusive classroom. When planning curriculum and instruction, teachers can implement various opportunities for all children to interact with materials that are being presented in the lessons, having children be able to manipulate objects and experiment with, by also providing background knowledge beforehand. It is also important that there are a variety of instructional strategies that are presentet for all types of learners, including the use of technology.
    I am currently teaching in an inclusive preschool classroom, I have many different programs for children to choose on the computers, including additional programs that have been added by our vision specialist for a child that she works with, these programs can also be accessed by all of the children in the classroom. When I am presenting materials, I make sure to have a variety of techniques for different learners, pictures, using actions, and also allow various ways for children to respons, a unision response, individual responses, a think pair share. It is important to provide visual and auditory information and check for understanding from all students.

    • Denise Hesseltine says:

      Hi Jenn, I also use the unison response, the kids just love saying things in different voices, and I have noticed them using those funny words during center time as well. I like the idea of having the picture cues with the words too. It is a great way to reinforce and supply another mode of learning the vocabulary!

      Thanks,
      Denise H

    • Amy says:

      Jenn-
      I also use many of the same techniques that you do in my inclusive classroom. The children love think pair share and I love it to because it gives all the children a chance to talk whether its in front of everyone or just to a partner. They get to share there ideas either way!!! I also use unison response a lot, however I make sure that I provide an appropriate amount of “think time” so that all children can think about the answer and not always just have the few higher kids responding to me and the others just waiting for the answer.

    • Shannon Koester says:

      I enjoy the flexibiliy that we are able to provide in our classrooms, but I am concerned about what happens next year? In K-12, I do not know how much UDL is corrdinated into the curricilum, I’m more conserned with K-2. I think that it is great the room is equally assessable to the entire population and there is a variety of ways for them to express thier knowledge.

  90. Kim Santaniello says:

    I think that the UDL is perfect for an early childhood classroom. The different modalities are considered daily. Tactile learning happens in the sensory area, auditory when listening to music, visual when reading a picture book. Everything we do all day is incorporated to reach each learning stlye. I have a video that has the alphabet set to separate songs with dance and hand movements. It also has the letter being sung up in the corner being traced for the children to see how to write the letter. I added to the ideas in section three for engagement stating that classroom discussions about what they would like to learn about and using these ideas as a theme for the room. This is something I strive for in my own classroom. It is very difficult and I have not been so successful to date! This is my plan for next year. Once these discussions have taken place I would think that it could be easy to incorporate standards. I do this occasionally when a child expresses something they would like to do. We are making binoculars for our field trip to the zoo. This was an interest expressed by one of my students. I would like to extend this idea.
    Thanks,
    Kim Santaniello

    • Casey says:

      Kim,

      I agree that preschool centers are designed to provide students many different modalities to learning. Just by observing which centers a child is most interested in will give the teacher an idea of how they learn best and what interest them. I am interested to know more about the alphabet video you use, what is it called?

      I too am striving to use child’s interest to lead some of our instruction. As you stated, one of the quickest ways is to listen to their conversations. Also, I use an “I wonder” wall. I often model how a story or event in my life has sparked an “I wonder.” It takes a lot of practice, but students begin to ask more questions. It is still something I am working on too. In the beginning many of my students just want to share what they already know!

      Thanks for sharing!

      Casey

      • Kim says:

        Casey.
        Love that I wonder wall! I will have to steal that idea! I can see how that might be difficult to start, but as soon as they do the shift in their thinking they can do it. The video is from Heidi’s website. It really fun for the kids. Instead of just listening to conversations, I want to initiate a class discussion and come to a consensus on what we would like learn. It’s a Reggio Emilio deal. Hopefully I will have more time to implement next year.
        Kim

  91. Whitney says:

    When looking at EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction in relation to Universal Design, I can really see the value of highlighting background information and enhancing the relevancy of the information being learned. For example, one of the observations that I did in an early childhood classroom had made sock puppets after the teachers observed their students continually putting their hands in their socks. I think the idea of relevancy and background knowledge can also be a great way to link learning back a child’s cultural background/linguistic skills. This can be a helpful way to teach and encourage students who may be bilingual and/or have alternative skill sets that they may implement in attempts to decode new information.

    As for UDL in my own classroom, I am also currently trying to find new ways to make things like Of Mice and Men relevant and important to my students. I teach in an urban high school with 80% Hispanic students and 20% African American. My students are constantly asking about the importance of the books we read, grammar skills, etc. I couldn’t honestly answer their questions with more than a “because I said so” response without UDL.

    • McKenzie Millar says:

      Whitney,
      I like the idea of socket puppets and how this relates to UDL in that they are encouraging engagement through focusing on the children’s interest. It is apparent that the children can learn when they are interacting with something that is relevant to their lives. Also, through varying sensory stimulation you are giving children a chance to relieve their stresses by having a accepting and supportive classroom climate. You are giving children a chance to achieve success rather than failure!

    • Sarah Osmonson says:

      Whitney,

      What you said about building on background knowledge also reflects what Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter, and Pretti-Frontczak (2005) have said about the need to use children’s interests as a guide for activity-based intervention. The sock puppets are not only relevant to where the students are, they also respond to interests of the students. I think the next step of this activity can also use UDL principles. If the teacher has the students use the sock puppets to act out a story they are learning about, or role-play a situation, this activity is also providing the students with multiple means of representation and expression (CAST, 2012).

      As for your questions regarding your own classroom, I think it is important to look at what you get or got out of the books that you are having your students read. Most of those books are supposed to have some underlying lesson that every person will face in their lives. Perhaps it is on morality or right and wrong or justice. Then, you can focus the students on that accept of the reading, giving them a particular lens through which to be looking while they read the books. I hope that helps. As for using UDL with that type of lesson, you could have them create animated versions of the story on the computer or mix up parts of the text and have them figure out how they go in order. Those are just ideas I had as I was thinking about what you wrote. Good luck!
      Sarah

      References
      National Center on Universal Design for Learning at CAST. (2012). Retrieved on April, 12, 2012 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines

      Grisham-Brown, J., Hemmeter, M.L. & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2005). Blended practices for teaching young children in inclusive settings. Baltimore: Brookes.

    • Shannon Koester says:

      I have never worked in such a diverse classroom. That must be very challenging. I do not have enough experinece to offer any advice. I will probably not remember to get back on to check the response, but I would like to know how you managed to make that story relateable. How else do you use UDL in your classroom? Do you provide handouts in Spanish? Are you bilingual?

    • Patty says:

      Whitney, I am reading this posting for the first time as I was searching for an answer to a UDL question. The posting I am reading took place almost a year ago, April 14, 2012. I am hoping that you have had the opportunity to discover ways to use UDL in your classroom. Also, I am hoping that now, you can give your students a better reason why they are reading the books you asked them to read, grammer skills, etc. I was very sad to think that this was the only reason you gave the students. They are important and have a right to explore their educational questions. Would you give this answer if you were working with a different population of students? Your response may have harmed a students growth! I hope things are better for you now!
      God Bless!

  92. Christie Sebesta says:

    UDL is used daily within an ECSE classroom. The teacher is always finding ways to modify a lesson plan so it fits the needs of each of the students. They are also looking for equipment, technology, and materials that can help a child understand something better or allow them to participate in the classroom with typical peers. Even students that are typically developing may need adjustments to lesson based on the way they best learn and take in information.
    I will use the understanding of UDL within in my own classroom to make sure each students’ needs are being met. It is important that a teacher set up a classroom so that children are going for success rather than being set up for failure.

    • Danielle says:

      Hey Christie,
      I think teachers use the idea UDL in the classroom everyday without even knowing it. As a teacher, I know I am always looking for ways to make my lessons fit the needs for every child. I would hope that all teachers are doing the same thing. Students deserve this kind of attention from their teacher. As you said, they deserve to be set on the path to success rather than failure.

    • Whitney says:

      Christie,

      I completely agree with you that it is really important that all children feel that they have access to the classroom and the opportunity to be successful. I also think it is extremely important for kids to have the chance to participate in the classroom with their typically developing peers. It is important for children to learn from each other–typically developing or not.

  93. Shannon Koester says:

    I see the UDL process as a way to address the needs of typical and atypical learners within one setting, everyone benefits from the techniques. Every student can learn from a variety of exposure methods in the classroom. UDL provides ways for children to better understand the concepts being introduced by providing a mixture of visuals, textures, and sounds. Movement and physical activities can also provide an important adaption in which all children can connect and relate to. These are ways that children connect not only to the curricula but also the environment in which they live and learn in. When children connect to the environment they are in, they can also become more engaged. By applying representation, expression and engagement strategies, parents, teachers and students themselves can become successful and productive members of the home/classroom. When children feel successful, which UDL provides for them, they feel empowered and encouraged to learn.
    I find the UDL theory in all that I do when teaching in the classroom. Without even realizing it sometimes, I scaffold questions, provide choices, limit possible answers. When reading, I am able to provide picture cards and explicit child friendly definitions that are important to the story. I am able to act out part, point to pictures and tell about unfamiliar words. Students are given the opportunity to chime in, if they wish, and provide experiences or relevant information. When writing, prompts are available. Children are allowed to share their stories. They become excited about “writing” and they own it. Even my students, who are none verbal, stand up and coo and point to their picture. Throughout the classroom, a variety of sizes, shapes, textures and colors are available for all children. Books are available on tape, touch screen are available on the computer and plenty of room is provided from my child with a walker. I have tried to make accommodations for every single child in my classroom. One of the problems that I do find, is not all child are “diagnosed” or “identified.” How do I know what they need? I guess that is where I just assume all need some sort of adaption and I provide whatever I can.

    • Christie Sebesta says:

      Hi Shannon,
      I was curious about your question at the end regarding children being diagnosed or identified and what their needs are. I think UDL is important in that it reaches all students not just those that are developmentally delayed as you mentioned at the top. I think it would benefit most teachers it they looked at all their students as having strengths, areas that need help, and areas of motivation. If you can identify those for each of your students then I think accommodations and UDL will come naturally for each student.

      • Shannon Koester says:

        I think what I meant was how am I suppose to use UDL if I do not know what thier needs are. Here we are in mid-April and I am just beginning to understand what so of my students need. I wish they all just came in with a strengths and weaknesses noted. Wishful thinking and that would take the challenge out of our jobs. I need a little more experience so I can get this quicker.

  94. Denise Hesseltine says:

    UDL is a natural and effective way to educate both ECE and ECSE students. It takes into consideration a child’s interests, it provides multiple ways for a child to explore their world, and gives caregivers, teachers and itinerant staff direction in how to adapt lessons for students that do not learn from typical instruction in the classroom. By applying the representation, expression and engagement guidelines all aspects of a students ability to learn a concept is covered. Scaffolding lessons, creating interest for all students and hands on affective tools can be used to assist in educating all children to the best of our abilities.

    In regards to my own classroom, I am forever learning new ways to educate my students by observing the children themselves. It is a constant adjustment, and as a teacher I have learned that being flexible to move into new directions is a key to success. Activities I thought would be intrumental in promoting interest are modified as I observe students handling of the materials, using the targeted vocabulary and observing which students are interested in which activities; assists me in my daily planning. The most difficult part is making these daily adjustments due to time constraints. UDL is a fabulous set of guidelines to direct instruction. The resources provided not only assists me in my planning, but also gives me insight into how to have effective goal planning and application of activities toward those goals. Technology is a weakness for me. One because the district does not provide internet access for the students in my room and their are so many amazing websites that would provide another mode of learning for my non-verbal students. But even the couple of programs that are available to the students are not utilized as much as I could. So I will try to optimize learning with these programs by observing how the students are interacting with the programs and try to provide opportunities for the best experience they can have in this educational arena.

    • Alyssa Romero says:

      Hi Denise,
      You made some really thoughtful and good points. I also find that in my ECSE classroom, I run out of time. I teach 2 classes and the morning class is shorter than the afternoon class because the afternoon is a Headstart class. I often find that I am running out of time to cover things that need to be covered and I lose time on other days trying to make up for things that were missed. Sometimes, I wish I had one class that went all day instead of 2 separate classes. The guidelines gave some good ideas on ways to implement strategies into the class although some of them cannot be applied in the ECSE class. I was pleased to note that we implement things such as the different textures and text (raised, tactile, larger),presentation, use of technology (timers, smaller mice)visual schedules for class as well as individuals, etc into the class already. Within our ECSE program, we are encouraged to embed these strategies into our daily routines. The UDL strategies stirred up some new thoughts for me and I look forward to utilizing them in my class.

  95. Patty Passarelli says:

    I think that both Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Special Education (ECSE) curriculum and instruction fit very well within the elements of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). They both naturally lend themselves to the principles outlined in the UDL Guidelines. Quality ECE and ECSE curriculum and instruction provide a good foundation for the three principles outlined in UDL. The principles of providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement are all ideas and strategies that are naturally a part of any quality ECE and/or ECSE program. The UDL guidelines offer even more specific ideas and strategies that could easily be implemented and that would benefit all children.
    As I read through the UDL guidelines, I was simultaneously thinking of my own classroom and asking myself, do I do that? Do I offer that to my students? How could I implement that strategy? I found that the principle that I could most improve upon would be Principle III: Providing multiple means of engagement. This principle focuses more on scaffolding the responsibility and ownership of learning on the student through his/her interests, feedback from the adults, and reflection of the student’s learning and how he/she is learning. I think that because of the age of my students, I tend to assume that they are not capable of doing this and I tend to control more of their learning rather than them controlling it. I can see now that because of the age of my students and their natural curiousness and eagerness for learning that this principle would be one to implement, encourage, and foster and that could lead them into years of successful learning by laying a positive foundation of ownership for their learning. It could really empower them at an early age by giving them an understanding, responsibility, and ownership of their own learning and how they learn that would set them up with the tools and strategies that would make them successful for years to come.

    • Kim says:

      Patty,
      My initial post, which hasn’t shown up yet, I wrote about the third principle also. I had big ideas at the beginning of the year in having child driven discussions about what they were interested in . I would then create a theme based on their interests. I have done this on certain occasions, when a child expressed an interest in making binoculars and we are going to make them for our field trip for the zoo. I wanted to extend that to a whole unit though. It is a goal of mine for next year. This child is very excited that she came up with this idea, the ownership is definitely there.
      Thanks,
      Kim

    • Lanee Vansant says:

      Hi Patty, I agree with you on the third principle laying the foundation for the other two. In my classroom, we start off our Learning Time (circle), by saying “it’s a great day to learn something new”!….Whether all my students really know what that means is not as important as embedding an excitement for what comes next. Establishing a love for learning and building little self esteems in the early childhood setting, I believe is the most impactful “content” we can deliver.

  96. Angela Connelly says:

    UDL can be applied well in EC/ECSE classrooms that are inclusive. An inclusive classroom has a diverse group of students, each with their own unique learning needs and styles. By using the three principles of Universal Design for Learning: multiple and flexible methods of representation, expression/action and engagement, an early childhood specialist helps all the children learn information as well demonstrate their knowledge and maintain their enthusiasm and zest for learning in the classroom (CAST, 2008). In an ECSE classroom, teachers spend time planning lessons and content learning in a variety of ways to meet individual language needs, learning outcomes as well as standards and benchmarks and objectives. UDL provides a vast array of strategies, innovations and guiding principles to ensure that individualized or differentiated instruction is meaningful as well as purposeful and intentional.

    In my classroom, I find myself planning lessons and observing my students as much as possible to reflect their unique learning needs and goals and interests. Currently, my students are learning about life cycles of insects. We have ladybugs, caterpillars and a praying mantis all in various stages of metamorphosis. They are also using a variety of means to learn about insects and how life cycles exist in the world—through songs, traditional books, interactive software on the computer, as well as through interactions with a variety of realia, puzzles, manipulatives, posters, graphs and science tools. To better incorporate UDL in my room, I am considering having them go on nature walks outside to collect other insects and make observations. I could provide them each with journals, let them use the camera, share stories and information with puppets and flannel boards to demonstrate what they are learning in this process. To me, UDL goes very much with the recommended practices DEC considers developmentally appropriate.

    • Jenn C says:

      Angela,
      I like how you discussed that the UDL goals go together with the recommended practices that DEC considers developmentally appropriate. Your idea of a nature walk is a great way to incorporate UDL, I recently did something similar, with magnifying glasses and searching for insects, etc and ALL children were able to participate and learn something from this activity and then sharing what they learned or observed outside with the classroom and peers is so great to see each child’s point of view.
      Jenn

  97. Casey Nelson says:

    Early childhood curriculum is designed to be developmental in nature and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all learners. I believe Universal Design for Learning (UDL) supports early childhood curriculums by providing a lens on how to present materials, ideas, and skills in a format that is accessible to all, that is interesting and motivating, as well as allows students various ways to express their knowledge. I think it is encouraging that UDL promotes authentic learning in which values active learning which transfers beyond the classroom. For young children, the best way for them to acquire new knowledge and skills is by having the opportunity to “DO” and practice in multiple settings. UDL enhances instruction by providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement which can be easily implemented in incidental, embedded, or direct instruction (CAST, 2012). Finally, UDL is an advocate for technology. Technology has been a wonderful resource for supporting students with and without disabilities. One area I believe can be improved by using UDL is assessment. Many teachers create one assessment that all students must complete. However, a student may understand a concept, but need a different modality for demonstrating the concept. It is enhancing our understanding of developmentally appropriate practices. When I have shared this information with staff, they agree with its concepts, I think real examples are the best way to understand how to use the guidelines. I found, customizing the display of information, providing background knowledge, providing varied ways to respond/interact, enhancing capacity for monitoring progress, reducing threats/distractions, collaboration, and increasing individual choice and autonomy to be guidelines often discussed in early childhood special education.
    I work in an inclusive preschool classroom within an IB World school. This has given me an opportunity to apply UDL strategies within my own classroom daily. UDL and IB support the use of inquiry based learning which is guided by student interest and choice. Additionally, they both value action and summative assessments in which students have multiple ways to show their understanding of a concept. Being an inclusive classroom also means: I provide a safe and predictable routine and I use various strategies to meet differing learning styles (CAST, 2012). Examples include: graphic organizers, visual schedules or timers, object schedules, video modeling, use of prior knowledge, I think/I wonder chart, assistive technology, choice boards, breaks, and timely feedback. I also use technology to support students, present activities, increase engagement. I often ask myself “how will this student feel comfortable in my classroom?” When I design a unit I make sure the ideas and/or skills are embedded into songs, stories, art, small group lessons, work baskets, cooperative learning, games, or through our language and vocabulary. I think it helps teachers understand the what, how, and why of learning and can promote confidence in learning for students (CAST, 2012).

    • ppassarelli says:

      Hi Casey,

      Nice summarization of how UDL can work for children of all abilities! I agree that the UDL guidelines are a great way to enhance all children’s learning, these are strategies that can work for all students and at all grade levels.

      Thanks,
      Patty

      • Todd Sundeen says:

        Thank you for your response Casey. Regarding UDL for enhancing learning, what you say are some of the best examples?
        Thank you!

  98. McKenzie says:

    I believe that there are many effective ways of applying UDL in early childhood curriculum/instruction. Many teachers are probably not aware that they are already incorporating strategies into their daily lessons. UDL can be applied to curriculum and instruction in that it allows teachers to design learning from the beginning; you are not adding alternatives to their education at a later date when you feel that a particular student is not gaining the necessary skills to become successful. By increasing the learning opportunities for all students, you are providing them with a unique experience that is geared toward their age and ability. Not only in an EC classroom but particularly in an ECSE classroom, you are providing children with multiple ways of learning materials, demonstrating their learning and making/gaining the most out of what has been taught. For example, you may allow your children to learn through music, dance, paper/pencil, iPad, computer, etc. Through the use of manipulatives, picture schedules, written expression, drawings, etc. you are giving every child the opportunity to experience educational success.

    UDL can be tied into my own classroom and teaching in that I try to focus my attention on meeting the needs of all children regardless of their race, age, ability, gender or culture. I believe that all children are learners and deserve the chance to be educated with age-appropriate peers. Right now I am teaching kindergarten and preschool special education with a wide range of abilities, UDL makes it possible to focus on each individual child. I look at each individual child’s goals and think about how I can incorporate them into the lesson that I am teaching.

    In my classroom, I try to create lessons that will meet the needs of all individuals from the beginning. Often times, I will provide information in varying formats (music, tactile, pictures, etc.). I make sure that all information is accessible and comprehensible; this is done through charts, diagrams, ASL, PECS. I pre-teach vocabulary, activate and relate prior knowledge, use KWL charts, build upon concepts (reading and math) and provide children with both examples and non-examples of what it is that I am asking them to complete. After a lesson, I always close with something they learned and provide the children with multiple opportunities for review and practice. Through the use of modifications and adaptations, my paraprofessionals and I use a variety of strategies for children to express their wants, needs and understandings. Multiple opportunities are given to children; we engage in not only teacher directed activities but also student lead activities. I would like to take what I have learned from the guidelines and improve on the suggestions that they recommend in section 3 (engagement). I feel that I do many of these but I think that I could see them being done more effectively.

    • Denise Hesseltine says:

      Hi McKenzie, You are so right, a good teacher naturally applies the UDL strategies even without studying them first, it truly is the natural way to work. What I like is with intentional planning, we can get even more out of our instruction.

      Thanks for your insights.
      Denise H

    • ppassarelli says:

      Hi McKenzie,

      I liked your comment, “By increasing the learning opportunities for all students, you are providing them with a unique experience that is geared toward their age and ability.” It really speaks to that concept that one curriculum and/or type of instruction does not fit for all students and that UDL makes simple and practical yet highly effective changes that really can benefit all of the students in their learning.
      I also agree with you that I would like to take more of the strategies from Principle III-Engagement and utilize them more effectively in my classroom as well.

      Thanks,
      Patty

    • Alyssa Romero says:

      Hi McKenzie,
      I agree that teachers are probably already using some of these strategies and don’t even realize it. It’s confidence-building to see that things I do/use in my class fall within the UDL examples. It encourages me to continue to find things that will support the students’ learning. Within my class, we like to utilize child-directed activities in order for the students to engage with each other and give them a chance to practice what we have been learning during whole group time. I find that the students respond to continuity and the routine. They also appreciate the visual schedules and warnings before a big transition. I also agree with you that applying the ideas from the UDL to all students from the beginning of the year benefits them greatly and creates a more supportive learning environment. I notice that the students feel more comfortable when given choices, accommodations along with clear expectations. I’m still learning about the “how to” and there is always room for improvement but I really love this age group and they are quite an entertaining bunch. The guidelines provided some clear and helpful ideas that I look forward to trying out in my class.

  99. Sarah Osmonson says:

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) should facilitate and direct instruction. Teachers must actively plan for students of diverse backgrounds, ability levels, and learning needs. Most teacher recognize this and use differentiated instruction to provide students with multiple means for receiving, understanding, and demonstrating knowledge of information and concepts being taught. UDL incorporates these same ideas through its principles of multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement with curriculum (National Center on Universal Design for Learning at CAST, 2012). UDL’s principles all work together to offer every learner and every learning type with the opportunities they need to learn. CAST (2012) states that UDL provides “a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start” (“UDL Guidelines – Version 2.0”). Teachers should use the principles of UDL to plan instruction. Guided by the curriculum, that is, what students need to learn, teachers can plan how to teach and the context in which to teach the material in order to be most effective. As with differentiated instruction, UDL guides educators to create optimal means of reaching each individual student in all areas of curriculum. Hence, teachers must plan what, how, and when to teach the subject matter in addition to addressing the individual needs of each student. UDL guides such curriculum development and instruction in order to reduce learning barriers, provide challenges, offer instructional support, and meet individual learning needs (National Center on Universal Design for Learning at CAST, 2012). Thus, implementing UDL strategies benefits every student.

    In my experience I have seen some effective implementation of UDL. Advanced organizers, graphic organizers, concept maps, and KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) charts, role playing, demonstrations, computer programs and games, cued responses, and partner sharing are just a few that I use in my classroom. Our typical morning calendar lesson incorporates a variety of UDL techniques as well. As we determine the month, date, year, day of the week, and weather, students are provided a variety of means to receive the information, engage in the tasks, and share their knowledge. Students sing, point, write, read, sign, and share with others throughout the event. In addition, we incorporate Spanish into the activity. The daily repetition of this activity helps my students fully understand the concepts and gives them clear roles in the process, keeping them engaged. Providing other means to incorporate UDL throughout the day exposes students to the diverse ways and mediums of learning. This may be in the context of multimedia presentations, computer programs, story telling, or craft projects which offer representation, expression, and engagement in a variety of forms. I think most teachers use these types UDL within their classrooms.

    Reference
    National Center on Universal Design for Learning at CAST. (2012). Retrieved on April, 12, 2012 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines

    • Jenn Crowley says:

      Sarah.
      I like that you mentioned graphic organizers and charts, KWL charts are a great way to provide or activate background knowledge from children at the beginning of a lesson or unit. It is also a great way to illustrate key concepts, big ideas, and guide information processing for ALL students in the classrom (CAST, 2012). This is something I feel is so important when I am plannign my lessons.
      Jenn C.

    • Angela Connelly says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I appreciate your emphasis on how UDL is a proactive way of instructing and involving and incorporating students in their learning. It cannot be a knee-jerk reaction or a partial attempt at reaching all students and their needs. It is a framework that should guide your practices and instruction so that students are engaged. Fortunately, I see a lot of teachers using UDL practices in their classrooms daily.

  100. Melissa Lauseng says:

    Using UDL to guide lesson planning makes sense. When planning, it is important to note that there will be a variety of learners in a classroom. Creating lessons that, from the very beginning, can meet the needs of all students through a variety of learning opportunities means that the planning only needs to be done once. Creating a one way only lesson means more work to figure out how to modify the lesson to adapt to all learners. The UDL guidelines are helpful to use for planning to make sure all aspects of learning, from the lesson to the assessment and level of engagement are covered. The guidelines are also helpful for me in my lesson planning to make sure I am creating lessons that best meet my students’ needs. It’s a great reminder that not all students will understand a concept right away or in the same way. These guidelines will help me to create open-ended lessons that give children control of their learning. Learning how to learn is as important as what is being learned.

    • Casey says:

      Melissa,

      You mentioned that UDL can support a teacher in creating lessons that meet the needs of all learners from the beginning. I think this is an important point because it implies that the teacher needs to change their environment before deciding that it is the child’s “issue.” Also, I agree that UDL reminds us of prior knowledge. It is important to understand what children know before adding on new skills or ideas.

      Casey

  101. Christina Banfe Sandoval says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    UDL is especially important in the planning of curriculum or instruction for EC/ECSE. Under Principle I: Provide Multiple Means of Representation the use of multisensory techniques can play a significant role is young student’s ability to access the curriculum and be successful. Using auditory information, visual information, tactile objects and pictures are all ways that multisensory techniques can be integrated into a lesson plan. Under Principle 2: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression, allows the students with language delays to express their wants needs and knowledge in multiple modes and formats that best meet their needs. This can be done by the use of assistive technology, multiple ways to indicate answers as well as the opportunity to use storytelling, music and comic strips to express ideas and thoughts. Under Principle 3: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement, provides young students access to the curriculum in an interactive and engaging manner. Keeping children moving and interactive allow for longer engagement and less distractions.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    I am currently working as a speech Language pathologist assistant so I use UDL daily. One of the areas that I work on with many of my students is vocabulary development, during this time I always incorporate the use of visual, auditory, tactile and kenesthetic strategies. For example we start with a PowerPoint that defines the words and presents a visual picture of the word. Then if I have access to the object I will bring it in for the students to touch and explore with their five senses. We use visualization strategies to help for a picture that will remind us of the new vocabulary word and then talk about how it fits into previous experiences we have had to make a personal connections. I also try to incorporate the use of songs, rapping or skits when we are learning new vocabulary. Using these various strategies actively engages the students and motivates them to participate and learn.

    • HillaryL says:

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for sharing how you use UDL as a SLP. It was interesting to read about the UDL concepts you use on a daily basis. It is so important to make UDL a part of all activities, not an afterthought. Hopefully one day it will be the norm and not something we have to strive for!

  102. Shannon DeFelice says:

    I currently teach high school and UDL is very important even at that level. In my teaching now, I am sure to provide for the multiple styles of learning for all of my students. This is sometihng I will do in my Early Childhood Teaching as well. UDL states that options for perception, complehension, physical action, language and symbols, etc. should be prrovided in teaching. I feel that it is incredibly important to provide all of these. In many classrooms I have worked in, physical needs are prevelant. With UDL teachers should ensure that students with these needs are accounted for in lessons. USe of different physical actions throughout lessons is beneficial for all students, not only those with physical needs.

    • Christina Banfe Sandoval says:

      Shannon I am sure that the use of multi-sensory techniques and a variety of physical interactions with the curriculum are very beneficial at the high school level. What is so significant to me about UDL is that it engages students and keeps them from being bored. I cannot imagine a classroom that everyday just came in sat down and read text straight from a book, students would check out the minute they walked in the door. I know that I could never learn like that.
      Christina

    • Melissa Lauseng says:

      Hi Shannon,

      It’s great to hear about the use of UDL at the secondary level. Some of the technology adaptations made me think more of older children (and adults) than it did early childhood. I believe that part of the reasoning for me is that the students with special needs that I have do not have extreme physical limitations like I pictured with some of the examples of providing multiple means of action and expression. I feel like we should be using many of the concepts of UDL in lesson planning, even if we have not called it UDL before. It is important to meet children where they are and help them move forward. Having students take responsibility for their learning gives them additional ownership.

  103. HillaryL says:

    UDL should be a constant part of the curriculum and instruction. When preparing a lesson, all students should be planned for. UDL should be part of that plan, not an afterthought when the lesson isn’t quite working or going right for all of the students. Going into the lesson prepared with multiple ways of presenting the information, engaging the students in the lesson, and showing understanding of the materials helps to insure a successful lesson plan.
    Knowing the students and their strengths and needs goes a long way towards supporting UDL. When you know that a student has a visual impairment, you can customize the display of information to better meet the needs of the student. While in some instances accommodations or modifications may be more suited to one particular student, UDL is for the benefit of all students. I plan to make UDL a habit in my classroom because everyone- not just students with a disability learn in different ways at different rates. One method does not fit everyone. With UDL you know when the student really does not understand something or needs more time on one area because of the material- you eliminate the other variables that may be the cause (e.g. presentation if materials, assessment). This eliminates a lot of confusion and frustration for the teacher and student!

    • Shannon DeFelice says:

      I think that UDL is very important to encourporate into any classroom. I completely agree that with you in that all students and their needs should be planned for ahead of time. I have seen so many instances in which teachers realize too late that they are not meeting the needs of all students in a given lesson. We need to see their styles of learning and interests ahead of time and make sure that is used in all of our lessons.

    • Christina Banfe Sandoval says:

      You are so correct when you said that knowing your students makes a huge difference. The first time I ever worked in a sever and profound classroom was in the summer time, I had never meet the kids before but the other therapist had given me a rundown of abilities and I felt very prepared. I created a lesson that I thought would meet the needs of every child and still be fun and engaging. Well when I arrived at the school I learned that some of the students needs augmentative devices programmed, one had seizures set off by specific smells (and of course I had brought things to smell) and another student was 85% blind and needed actual objects for representations not models or pictures. I thought that I was prepared and able to incorporate my knowledge about UDL into my lesson plan, but without truly knowing these students I was miserably un-successful.

    • Melissa Lauseng says:

      Hi Hillary,

      Your comment about UDL being part of the plan is interesting to me. As I was reading through the information for this week, I felt like I have been using concepts of UDL during my lesson planning and teaching. You also hit a key point. It is important to know students’ strengths and needs. To create a lesson where everyone can be successful, it is important to know how different students are learning and what methods of learning and sharing that knowledge they can be successful at. Quite a bit of our reading seemed to focus on the role technology can play in UDL. Technology is helpful. Much of the use for technology that I read about seems more appropriate for older children. This could be because I have not yet had a child in my classroom who has needs that necessitate the use of assistive technology like that which was mentioned. I believe early childhood does a good job allowing children to learn and explore using a variety of methods and materials.

    • amyh2003@yahoo.com says:

      I don’t think planning for students should happen any other way other than using UDL and meeting the needs of all students. We all know that all students learn differently and therefore we need to make sure that we are teaching in a way that all students have a chance to learn and do their very best. I also think that teaching the same lesson in many different ways or by incoporating different strategies is great for all the students not just ELL or sped kiddos.

  104. Alyssa Romero says:

    Currently, I teach preschool and UDL is encouraged in the program. UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE classroom/instruction in a few ways. Multisensory teaching benefits all students as well as provides a design that is easy to understand. For example, raised letters/numbers, symbols, and various tactile materials. Also, for the computers, mice can be bought that is smaller and has one larger clicker instead of two smaller, separate ones. This type of mouse fits better in the hands of a preschooler. The tools used in the sensory table or play dough area are a combination of smaller and larger sizes to accommodate all students of various abilities and motor skills. Principle seven addresses the environmental set up of the classroom. It is important to display posters, materials, etc at a child’s eye level so it can be accessed at various times throughout the day. Tables and chairs should be at appropriate heights in order to facilitate reaching and manipulation for multiple students. Instructionally, the presentation and demonstration of learning or expression should be flexible. For example, presentation can be done through visuals, simple vocabulary, and minimal steps. Students can demonstrate their learning in various ways as well. In my class, there are a few students who do not speak but we have implemented signing 1-2 words and/or using the PECS system. Both strategies have been working well with the students.

    • HillaryL says:

      Hey Alyssa,
      Thanks for sharing all those great suggestions for incorporating UDL. One thing I took away from your suggestions is that these things can be planned for ahead of time and then constantly made available. If you take the time to really plan for UDL in your classroom, you save time in the future because these accommodations are already in place.

      • Shannon DeFelice says:

        I agree with both of your. Planning ahead is very important. If you are prepared and you plan for different learning styles, then lessons will run more smoothly and students will gain much more.

    • Denise Hesseltine says:

      Hi Alyssa, Great points about not only having your lesson plans fit the students but the equipment as well. I have been sooooo frustrated with the whole mouse thing (multiple buttons) most of these little three year olds just are not getting the difference between the buttons. I am going to check into the one button mouse, wow, that will be a giant frustration saver for all of us!

      Thanks, Denise H.

    • McKenzie Millar says:

      Alyssa,
      I am really drawn to the point that you made about “student’s demonstrating their learning in various ways”. I often think in everyday teaching that we forget that all children learn and respond in different ways. We have to look at meeting the needs of all learners, not what is most convient or easiest for collecting data. What the UDL website and powerpoint made me really think about is how I can continually represent information to my students through a variety of materials. I often forget that I have objects in my classroom that may be beneficial. I need to learn to utilize everything and get it out so that I see it and use it! What strategies have been useful to you when using PECS? I am new to this system and am struggling to feel comfortable and make it work effectively for myself, my students and my paraprofessionals?

  105. Alyssa Romero says:

    Currently, I teach preschool and UDL is encouraged in the program. UDL can be applied to EC/ECSE classroom/instruction in a few ways. Multisensory teaching benefits all students as well as provides a design that is easy to understand. For example, raised letters/numbers, symbols, and various tactile materials. Also, for the computers, mice can be bought that are smaller and has one larger clicker instead of two smaller, separate ones. This type of mouse fits better in the hands of a preschooler. The tools used in the sensory table or play dough area are a combination of smaller and larger sizes to accommodate all students of various abilities and motor skills. Principle seven addresses the environmental set up of the classroom. It is important to display posters, materials, etc at a child’s eye level so it can be accessed at various times throughout the day. Tables and chairs should be at appropriate heights in order to facilitate reaching and manipulation for multiple students. Instructionally, the presentation and demonstration of learning or expression should be flexible. For example, presentation can be done through visuals, simple vocabulary, and minimal steps. Students can demonstrate their learning in various ways as well. In my class, there are a few students who do not speak but we have implemented signing 1-2 words and/or using the PECS system. Both strategies have been working well with the students.

  106. Amy Bush says:

    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?

    According to https://udlguidelines.wordpress.com/iv-share-your-thoughts-with-us/, the UDL guidelines are used to assist those who develop and use curriculum to be able to reduce the barriers to learning and provide a learning that meets the needs of all students and learners. UDL also helps educators to evaluate the curriculum goals, materials, assessments, etc. Therefore using UDL in an ECSE classroom would only provide more opportunities for all the children to get a chance to learn and succeed at their ability. For example when teaching a early childhood special education class a teacher might use visual pictures for all activities such as centers, the schedule of the day, etc. An ECSE teacher might also use actual objects to represent an activity, center or even when reading a book to help support the students who need more visual representation. I believe that UDL has a place in every classroom. Each student is unique and may need something a little different to help support their learning needs.

    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching?

    UDL can be applied multiple ways in my classroom. I teach a very diverse group of kiddos from sped to CPP to ELL. Making all lessons meaningful and appropriate for each age group is challenging and I think that’s were UDL plays a huge part. When teaching lessons I try to use pictures/objects, songs, written language and movement as much as possible during my circle time to try and meet the needs of all my students. I have everything in my classroom labeled with pictures as well as English and Spanish.

    Each week when I introduce a new letter or sound I use multiple strategies to teach the letter or sound. I have them say it many times, use signs or actions as well as songs. When I have the children practice writing we use sand, handwriting without tears, shaving cream, crayons and paper, white boards, etc. This way all the children get to learn the same lesson in multiple ways and they get constant review that meets the needs of all the students somehow or another.

    • Shannon DeFelice says:

      I think it is great that you provide for all learning styles. Having print in both English and Spanish is very beneficial. I work with a lot of students with Spanish Speaking backgrounds. This is very helpful for those students, and I think that other students take from it as well. It even helps English speakers learn some ideas and common words in another language. Great thought!!!

  107. Gavon says:

    Business training can most definitely benefit from these guidelines. The place that I currently work does not have a set regimen of how to develop lessons and train individuals that come into the department. The training is all on the job and the people that do the training admit that they do not have the patience to be a trainer. Only one style is used to teach the trainees. The lack of multiple representations, media, and methods limit learners and force them to alter their learning style. Something needs to change.

  108. Felicia says:

    The guidelines caused me to reflect on the curricula for my class and the ways I can implement a variety of instructional methods that will increase student learning. Most appealing to me were the guidelines for principle #3. With so many technological distractions available, attaining and sustaining student interest in academic information can be a challenge. The guidelines suggested are practical and “doable” for me in my classroom. There are some things that I am already doing, but did not necessarily understand the value, until I read this information.

  109. Jean Hogan says:

    I can certainly agree that making the curriculum more diverse is a good thing. I think it would be highly effective if the instructors modeled what they would like to see come of this. Most teachers are very used to the written word as a communication tool and students should be provided many opportunities to interact with the written text. However, I think more examples of the differentiation would help us to get the picture more clearly.

  110. lori g says:

    I believe that utilizing the UDL in the classroom is preschool at its best, providing opportunities for every child to learn at all abilities. In the classroom, we provide many different strategies to assist our children. Visually, we provide pictures at all centers, all activities and individual booklets or schedule for students who benefit from added support. Choices are often made using these visual supports or actual objects that represent the activities or centers. We provide material from the home setting to accommodate students who have difficulty transitioning from activity to activity. For example, two students trade their toy from home in with toys from school as they transition to centers. Transitions were very difficult for both, now they trade worksheets, carpet squares and crayons as they change activities. It worked not only for them, but for the entire classroom. What is great about UDL, it encompasses all students. What helps one, certainly will help all children. As we create our preschool environment, UDL provides every child with learning opportunities and settings that help children build skills in a variety of ways that are natural to every student.

  111. Louisa Rohrbach says:

    The guidelines help me make appropriate choices in my classroom because they remind me to find a variety of ways to present material. I feel one of the most important guidelines is finding different ways that children can respond or contribute. If children are limited in the ways they interact with their teacher and each other than they are being limited in their expression. In principal II it’s important that children with different needs can express themselves by using several different options. In my classroom I have several students who are second language learners. I think UDL is especially important when you have a diverse group of students who use many forms of communication. It’s important to my students that I allow them to respond in a variety of ways so they can effectively communicate with me and their peers.

  112. Rebecca Renz says:

    Section I.1 Representation-provide options for perceptions. I have a student who has difficulty with his letters and sounds. He was having a hard time focusing on the board when we sang our ABC chant and so I made small ABC chant cards about 5×8 for each student to hold. He is able to see and focus on the card better as well as all of the members of the class. This change in perception has actually helped many of my students increase their letter ID and letter sound knowledge. The funny things was that the main reason I made cards for the entire class was because I didn’t want him to feel singled out nor the other students to feel left out. By including all students in the change, more students have benefited from this idea.

    Section II.4 Expression-provide options for physical action. I have a activity that I do during my opening circle calendar time. When we find out what the date is, we then stand up and do something for the number of the date. The helper gets to choose an action such as hop, jump, clap, etc. I have a student with CP and sometimes he needs assistance with the activity. Sometimes other students offer to help him, sometimes a teacher assists him, and sometime he is able to perform the activity independently. My students who need to have movement time, get a break from sitting and they are all learning one-to-one counting through the movement.

    Section III.9 Engagement-provide options for self-regulation. I have worked very hard to teach my student self-regulation of emotions. We utilize the tucker turtle program from the CSEFEL web site as well as the problem solving kit. We started the year with modeling routines and establishing a cohesive environment. We have slowly worked up to using self regulation kits that each student has in their cubby. They have a tucker turtle and a mad wheel that has 6 positive options that the student could do if/when they are angry/frustrated. We started with a large group of options and the students all picked the 6 options that they felt would work for them. When they are frustrated or angry they can use their mad wheel to help themselves make a positive choice.

  113. Maura Shelden says:

    I feel like UDL could easily be applied to EC/ECSE and in fact should be applied to all EC/ECSE classrooms to foster engagement and learning. After learning more information about UDL from the website I learned that I actually used many of the UDL strategies in my classroom. In my classroom I let the children make choices about what we do. We also provide many different materials in the classroom and during activities so children can use what works best for them. Things and areas in the classroom are labeled in English and Spanish as well as with a picture. Last we use auditory as well as visual learning in our classroom and often include movement for kinesthetic learners. I love how UDL as a flexible approach which accounts for children’s individual learning differences.

    • lori g says:

      We also have similar activities allowing children to make choices and make accomodations that include home languages as well as sign language and body expressions to support children’s understanding of meaning. Most children can add to their expressive language with their body language. Those who are unable see, are provided with auditory cues and touches.

  114. Melissa Balderson says:

    Utilizing UDL in the classroom creates multiple opportunities for ALL children of ALL learning abilities to learn. In my classroom, I have children 12 months-2 1/2 years of age, so we utilize a lot of different teaching strategies, including the use of visual, auditory, and object learning opportunities. We embed these opportunities into all of our activities and group times. One of the new things we have created this year is an object schedule, that we have added in addition to our picture schedule and the written schedule. We created an object schedule for one of our students who has a vision impairment. This helped him become more accustomed to our daily schedule, and I believe helped him become more comfortable in the classroom, as well as exposed him and familiarized him with common objects that he comes in contact with daily. The other children also have been able to use the objects as transition items (for example, bringing a diaper to the changing table to transition from play). What I like about UDL is that it is meant to encompass all of the students in a classroom and their learning experiences and can produce some surprising positive outcomes as well. It is amazing what children are able to pick up and learn when presented with multiple opportunities in which to learn skills. UDL provides opportunities to practice skills in a variety of different ways.

  115. Catherine Gaber says:

    I love UDL because to me it is absolutely universal (hence the name). Adaptations and accommodations are usually limited to a specific child or small group of children, but UDL is set up in a way that all children have the potential to benefit.

    In my preschool classroom I incorporate different visual and auditory cues for new vocabulary or concepts. We use pictures, signs, written words, and sometimes toys or other manipulatives when introducing a new word. For certain words I also included the Spanish word which was the most difficult. I can sign fairly well, but I can’t roll my /R/s and do not always make the right sounds for the Spanish word I am trying to say. There are times where the Spanish speaking kids will laugh at my attempt and teach me the word. Sometimes I get it correct and sometimes I am still off, but we try it and that is something I think the kids need to see, the teacher not being perfect.

    When introducing a new letter/letter sound we use sign, oral language, songs, tactile writing with sand or other options, the sticks from Handwriting Without Tears, chalk, magnetics, Leapfrog, and others. It gives the children different physical, verbal, and oral cues to remember the word or sound and their brains can latch onto the one that works for them.

    UDL is fairly fundamental when designing the classroom for preschool. When I teach a unit on pets I need to have multiple options for children to explore and learn about pets. Perhaps I put pet stuffed animals in the houses (the dramatic play area and dollhouse), create a box for pet play with props and labels (food dish, leash, pet bead and labels of pet, owner, vet), there are multiple books on pets, pet words on cards for the kids to try writing, pictures of pets, cards on how to care for pets, and many other ideas. I also have the kids bring in pictures of their pets if they have one or find a picture of a pet they might like to have. They can draw their pet and what their pet likes to do.

    One word comes up quite a bit when reading about and discussing UDL and that is options. Creating, exploring, and using options is something teachers can and should strive for. However, I must say that some of the best options will come from observing and listening to your students. They can expand the options into areas an adult brain doesn’t think about. I think the hardest part of implementing UDL is the teacher expanding on their base and coming up with the ideas.

  116. Kathy McNelly says:

    In many ways, UDL provides a level playing field for all students, as long as the teacher understands it and agrees with the principles. After all, so much of a child’s success depends on the educational staff, their commitment and knowledge, and willingness to try strategies that are proven to work. School districts need to be educated in UDL, especially the established teachers. Ususally, they are the ones that are unknowingly already applying the UDL principles and networks, they just don’t know the current term perhaps. Experienced teachers, ones that have passion and success, have a full tool box of strategies, methods, motivations, organization, and differentiated modes to address all students they encounter. Great instructors know that students express their learning in many different ways, and that teachers need to be able to accept different acceptable paths. I think that mentors could play an extremely valuable role to bring teachers up to speed with this method. I know that I will welcome suggestions, strategies, and practical ideas into my classroom.

    • MelanieJackson says:

      Kathy –
      What an interesting way to look at UDL, I had not thought of that – but the more I think about it the more I agree with you – it levels the field so that all children have the opportunity to learn and grow to their full potential!

  117. Shannon Wald says:

    I like the idea of UDL because it is a positive effort toward taking into account the diversity of learners in classrooms at all levels, and the need to meet them where they are in order to create an authentic, valuable learning experience that will develop lifelong learners, not just individuals who can successfully accumulate knowledge or regurgitate information. This is in contrast to traditional education, so I am pleased there is recognition of the importance of an approach that makes much more sense intuitively. If the goal of learning is to apply knowledge gained in some meaningful way, students must first truly comprehend what is being taught and see personal value in it in order to do so. Since UDL is more focused on the real interests and learning styles of students, it is possible to see how this may motivate them to take responsibility for their own learning now and in the future.
    I believe UDL can easily be applied to an early childhood curriculum, in particular in a low tech manner, which would usually be the case in an EC/ECSE classroom environment. As we’ve learned, technology does not in itself imply that UDL is being applied successfully, while low tech ways of creating a UDL environment may be very effective. Things such as engaging choice centers that focus on student interests, colorful and vivid visuals, books and materials that are multicultural or multilinguistic in nature, movement and tactile experiences/activities to engage learners, etc., are easily implemented in early childhood classrooms. Assistive technology and computers with age appropriate software and touch screens or mice, etc., may also be used to address varied learner needs.
    The most obvious challenge with UDL that I see may be the need to design the environment before the children are introduced into it. This takes such careful pre-planning and organization to be done correctly, in particular to meet all three basic principles (representation, expression, and engagement) effectively. I imagine there might be some need to remain flexible and continue to make adaptations after the plan is in place, though since that is contradictory to the basic idea of UDL, I’m unclear how that issue should be resolved.

    • Maura Shelden says:

      Shannon you are right about environment. It is very hard to implement UDL if you have not set up the right environment. I find in my classroom pre-planning is a must especially when giving choices. The choices need to be though out so no matter what choice the child makes it will still foster learning. Also it takes a lot of time to get all of the different materials ready so each student can learn in the way that is best for them.

  118. Shannon Wald says:

    I like the idea of UDL because it is a positive effort toward taking into account the diversity of learners in classrooms at all levels, and the need to meet them where they are in order to create an authentic, valuable learning experience that will develop lifelong learners, not just individuals who can successfully accumulate knowledge or regurgitate information. This is in contrast to traditional education, so I am pleased there is recognition of the importance of an approach that makes much more sense intuitively. If the goal of learning is to apply knowledge gained in some meaningful way, students must first truly comprehend what is being taught and see personal value in it in order to do so. Since UDL is more focused on the real interests and learning styles of students, it is possible to see how this may motivate them to take responsibility for their own learning now and in the future.

    I believe UDL can easily be applied to an early childhood curriculum, in particular in a low tech manner, which would usually be the case in an EC/ECSE classroom environment. As we’ve learned, technology does not in itself imply that UDL is being applied successfully, while low tech ways of creating a UDL environment may be very effective. Things such as engaging choice centers that focus on student interests, colorful and vivid visuals, books and materials that are multicultural or multilinguistic in nature, movement and tactile experiences/activities to engage learners, etc., are easily implemented in early childhood classrooms. Assistive technology and computers with age appropriate software and touch screens or mice, etc., may also be used to address varied learner needs.

    The most obvious challenge with UDL that I see may be the need to design the environment before the children are introduced into it. This takes such careful pre-planning and organization to be done correctly, in particular to meet all three basic principles (representation, expression, and engagement) effectively. I imagine there might be some need to remain flexible and continue to make adaptations after the plan is in place, though since that is contradictory to the basic idea of UDL, I’m unclear how that issue should be resolved.

    • Shannon Wald says:

      At the preschool level we are pretty good about implementing some of the UDL principles already, especially those low tech in nature that have already been mentioned here quite a bit. The challenge seems to be using more high tech means of addressing preschool student needs. A computer center with educational software is the most obvious and basic way for me to support student learning at this level with technology. Of course some students may also have AT, but using other high tech ways of helping ALL learners is the question I have- are there ideas for this that would be appropriate and effective?

      • Andrea Beaman says:

        In our program we have had children who used augmentative communication devices to talk and interact with others. Some toys can be adapted so that children with physical impairments might be able to activate the toy. The toy would need to perform some action. For instance a toy dog that would bark. The toy could be adapted by the use of a battery interrupter. It would run from the batteries to a switch that could be activated by the child.

      • Kathy McNelly says:

        I have a coordinator that oversees 6 or so preschools in the district. Her belief is that preschool age children should not have much time at all in front of a computer, especially those children with SL IEPs. I do understand her thoughts on this, as children need to interact with other children. They need conversations, back and forth, learning how to speak their needs, compromise, and cooperate. However, with so much technology available, and with the way that the world is using it, it seems to be a necessity. Maybe a bit later for some students, because they need the social skills more than the technology at this point. However, again, some of the technology and programs are so tempting! I have one three year old student with CP, and she is a whiz on the iPad. Her fine motor skills have definitely improved as a direct result of her iPad. Her mother sends it once a week for her to use in class. In a twist, though, she prefers to play with other students and the sensory table every time, instead of her iPad. I guess it’s all about what is available to students at school vs. home.

      • Todd Sundeen says:

        When at my FL university, I participated in a series of workshops where we took everyday household and classroom items and adapted them for use by children with CP. We made things like laminated placemats with lessons or maps on them. We used a large (big mac) switch to power a rideable electric car rather than the foot switch. You would have loved to see the joy of the child who tested it. Sometimes money is not the answer…sometimes it creativity and ingenuity.

      • Deb Ghan says:

        In our program I could see using many of the aspects of the UDL-as I commented on our discussion board -so many of the parts of UDl are applicable. I especially like how it breaks components down and gives examples.

  119. Elizabeth Owens says:

    Are any of the guidelines more important to you than the others? Why?
    How can UDL be applied to EC/ECSE curriculum and/or instruction?
    How can UDL be applied to your own classroom or teaching? I believe that each of the guidelines are equally important. It would be difficult to create an effective learning situation for students without considering the different ways content is comprehended, how students connect with the content, ways to allow students to express what they know, and the best way for individual students to engage in their learning environment. The guidelines all seem to tie into each other and are related. I believe UDL is very important to consider in the early childhood/ early childhood special education classroom. Preschool aged students, like all other students, come to the classroom with many different skills, experiences, strengths, and weaknesses. It is important to learn each students situation in order to effectively use the guidelines to create learning situations that will meet the needs of individual students. In my classroom, I have students who come to school with many pre academic skills that their parents have worked with them on. Other students come to school without ever holding a crayon or having a book read to them. I also have many students with disabilities that have completely different needs. I like to observe, talk with, and get to know the needs of all of my students in order to create learning experiences that will meet their individual needs. With the UDL guidelines, I believe this will help me in creating a better and more effective learning experience and curriculum for my students.

  120. Andrea Beaman says:

    The use of best practices in EC/ECSE supports the UDL guidelines. Learning opportunities are available for the children using, visuals, auditory impute, through music and movement and hands on activities. What maybe missing in some classrooms is individualizing during small group activities . Materials and activates tend to be presented as one activity fits all.
    In my own work as an itinerant early childhood special educator I plan to do more observation of the children I work with to determine what is the best method of presenting information they are expected to earn. And determine how the children can show what they have learned.

    • Shannon Wald says:

      Hi Andrea,
      I guess I see it like this: if UDL is successfully implemented in the classroom, the principles should be in place to meet diverse needs during every activity presented in that environment. Such that if students are gathered for small or large group time, there will be use of visuals, tactile and movement opportunities, auditory input, and perhaps even some assistive tech, if needed. For example, the teacher may use a mic during group time for voice amplification, which is needed by a hard of hearing student, but it may be helpful for many other learners, as well.

      Thanks,
      Shannon

    • MelanieJackson says:

      Andrea-
      How insightful about the small groups; I have found that this year – that has been my struggle. To individualize my small groups, because I do not ability group, so it is super important to plan for all abilities in my groups (and all the time)!

  121. MelanieJackson says:

    I think that these principles are very important; not only do we have a wide range ao abilities but also ages. I know in my classroom I have children that are 2.8 all the way up to six years old. The way that I appraoch my lessons is to have varying ways to represent what I am teaching, I try to provide varying ways for my students to respond, such as providing choices, pictures, etc., and of course we have to be like a magician – having many different tricks up of sleeve – so that all the chidlren can understand and grasp what we are teaching. I think that this website provides a valuable resources to not only teachers, but hopefully administrators who are making the decisions that impact our classrooms.

    • Andrea Beaman says:

      What a wide range of ages you teach. Do all the children have the same disability
      How would you use the gulidlines of UDL to adapt a lesson for a child who is 2.8 and one that is six who may or may not have the same disability?

    • Melissa Balderson says:

      Hi Melanie!

      I have a range (not quite as broad as yours) in my classroom as well (12 months to 2 1/2 years). We also use a variety of teaching strategies so that we can reach each and every one of our children without catering directly to one, individual learning style. I believe this creates more opportunities for children to learn and practice skills than if a Universal Design for Learning was not being used. For example, instead of children learning a word solely by hearing it spoken, children are given the opportunity to learn by hearing the word, seeing the word, seeing a picture/object, and given a sign to pair along with it. Then, children are provided with opportunities to say the word, sign the word, point to a picture, make a choice picking an object, etc.

  122. Mei says:

    The UDL guidelines are just excellent. I wish all teachers have an opportunity to give this a read. The first paragraph expresses what education should be so beautifully. Very inspiring. I enlarged it and pinned it up in our faculty area.

    “The goal of education in the 21st century is not simply the mastery of knowledge. It is the mastery of learning. Education should turn novice learners into expert learners– individuals who know how to learn, who want to learn, and who, in their highly individual ways, are well prepared for a lifetime of learning.”

    Thank you for this!

    • Kathy McNelly says:

      I agree! I’ll be putting this up too, and advocating for it in the teacher handbook, district paperwork, and parent handbooks. It should be reassuring to parents, and inspiring to teachers, and a requirement of administration.

  123. Robby Dovel says:

    Thanks for the great skating tricks!

  124. Judy H. says:

    Here is what I came with after reading about UDL and reading the responses of most of the participants.

    UDL is necessary to implement in a class where there is multiple diversities. I agree with Howard Garner theory (1983), that there are nine (9) ‘multiple intelligence’ styles in which we learn. Marc Gold (1974) presented in institutions and sheltered workshops internationally in his theory of ” Try Another Way”, that individuals who are challenged can learn, if you try another was of teaching the skills. My grandfather was a ‘one room’ teacher and principal teaching multiple learning in a “Little House on the Prairie” setting in which all students were accommodated in one global learning environment. Even though, I am a mature adult student, I did not come up under a curriculum in which my grandfather taught or the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ curriculum, (I am not that old, yet), I did experience learning under a curriculum in Mississippi School called, CBOK, (Common Body of Knowledge), a curriculum developed and supplanted on the Memphis school curriculum which was needed because our achievement in Mississippi was extremely below national average in the 1980. Until we elected the youngest governor in the nation, (36 years old, Ray Maybus) to present a plan to correct this problem we knew that there was hope. His plan was in congruent with the state board of curriculum to implement the ‘straight jacket’ curriculum in which the entire state school district had to teach the ‘basic’ (reading, writing, arithmetic and other basic facts). Goals and Objectives were basic and not much ‘wiggler room’ for creativity and ‘exploratory’ because it was felt that we had missed ‘the basics’. Mississippians were not ready for the abrupt CHANGE, but after one term in services, Governor Ray Maybus concept lives on with added changes of considering the diverse learner.
    UDL will work because there is an opportunity to include diverse learning styles, strategies, monitoring and evaluation of all learners at their own unique levels. (We do have more diversities,now, and probably will in the future.) I know that when I start teaching in public education, I would have foundational knowledge of successful implementation of teaching for the ‘new breed’. I have only four (4) years of teaching experience using the Abekka Curriculum with Christian Children who had less diverse learning styles. I look for to the preparation and challenge.

    Here is what I came with after reading about UDL and reading the responses of most of the participants.

    UDL is necessary to implement in a class where there is multiple diversities. I agree with Howard Garner theory (1983), that there are nine (9) ‘multiple intelligence’ styles in which we learn. Marc Gold (1974) presented in institutions and sheltered workshops internationally in his theory of ” Try Another Way”, that individuals who are challenged can learn, if you try another was of teaching the skills. My grandfather was a ‘one room’ teacher and principal teaching multiple learning in a “Little House on the Prairie” setting in which all students were accommodated in one global learning environment. Even though, I am a mature adult student, I did not come up under a curriculum in which my grandfather taught or the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ curriculum, (I am not that old, yet), I did experience learning under a curriculum in Mississippi School called, CBOK, (Common Body of Knowledge), a curriculum developed and supplanted on the Memphis school curriculum which was needed because our achievement in Mississippi was extremely below national average in the 1980. Until we elected the youngest governor in the nation, (36 years old, Ray Maybus) to present a plan to correct this problem we knew that there was hope. His plan was in congruent with the state board of curriculum to implement the ‘straight jacket’ curriculum in which the entire state school district had to teach the ‘basic’ (reading, writing, arithmetic and other basic facts). Goals and Objectives were basic and not much ‘wiggler room’ for creativity and ‘exploratory’ because it was felt that we had missed ‘the basics’. Mississippians were not ready for the abrupt CHANGE, but after one term in services, Governor Ray Maybus concept lives on with added changes of considering the diverse learner.
    UDL will work because there is an opportunity to include diverse learning styles, strategies, monitoring and evaluation of all learners at their own unique levels. (We do have more diversities,now, and probably will in the future.) I know that when I start teaching in public education, I would have foundational knowledge of successful implementation of teaching for the ‘new breed’. I have only four (4) years of teaching experience using the Abekka Curriculum with Christian Children who had less diverse learning styles. I look for to the preparation and challenge.

    Here is what I came with after reading about UDL and reading the responses of most of the participants.

    UDL is necessary to implement in a class where there is multiple diversities. I agree with Howard Garner theory (1983), that there are nine (9) ‘multiple intelligence’ styles in which we learn. Marc Gold (1974) presented in institutions and sheltered workshops internationally in his theory of ” Try Another Way”, that individuals who are challenged can learn, if you try another was of teaching the skills. My grandfather was a ‘one room’ teacher and principal teaching multiple learning in a “Little House on the Prairie” setting in which all students were accommodated in one global learning environment. Even though, I am a mature adult student, I did not come up under a curriculum in which my grandfather taught or the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ curriculum, (I am not that old, yet), I did experience learning under a curriculum in Mississippi School called, CBOK, (Common Body of Knowledge), a curriculum developed and supplanted on the Memphis school curriculum which was needed because our achievement in Mississippi was extremely below national average in the 1980. Until we elected the youngest governor in the nation, (36 years old, Ray Maybus) to present a plan to correct this problem we knew that there was hope. His plan was in congruent with the state board of curriculum to implement the ‘straight jacket’ curriculum in which the entire state school district had to teach the ‘basic’ (reading, writing, arithmetic and other basic facts). Goals and Objectives were basic and not much ‘wiggler room’ for creativity and ‘exploratory’ because it was felt that we had missed ‘the basics’. Mississippians were not ready for the abrupt CHANGE, but after one term in services, Governor Ray Maybus concept lives on with added changes of considering the diverse learner.
    UDL will work because there is an opportunity to include diverse learning styles, strategies, monitoring and evaluation of all learners at their own unique levels. (We do have more diversities,now, and probably will in the future.) I know that when I start teaching in public education, I would have foundational knowledge of successful implementation of teaching for the ‘new breed’. I have only four (4) years of teaching experience using the Abekka Curriculum with Christian Children who had less diverse learning styles. I look for to the preparation and challenge.

  125. Karin Alvarez says:

    One of the guidelines that really caught my eye is guideline eight (“Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence”). I am a para right now in a resource room at an elementary school, and keeping students energized and willing to try has been a challenge for me at times. I notice that I use options that increase mastery oriented feedback, as affiliated with guideline eight (https://udlguidelines.wordpress.com/principle-iii/guideline-8-provide-options-for-sustaining-effort-and-persistence/). One of the examples provided suggests that educators provide feedback that is “substantive and informative,” as opposed to “comparative or competitive.” It seems to me that when I provide students with genuine feedback that highlights what they did well, and what they can improve upon, they are more willing to listen. I think this can be true for younger children as well.

    • Mei says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more– “substantive and informative” feedback. Makes a huge difference when teachers genuinely care.

    • Maura Shelden says:

      Karin, keeping students energized and on task is a challenge. When children feel like they are doing a good job they are more likely to be interested and stay engaged for a longer period. I find that in my classroom of preschoolers it also works to praise others for good work. For example I have a boy who does not like to come to circle but if I start telling all of the other children “you are a boy who knows what to do a circle time” the child who was not wanting to come before over usually does. I immediately praise him and it seems to be working well.

  126. I agree that it is important to pass on the UDL guidelines we use in our preschool classroom. It will help create a smooth transition for our preschool students continuing to kindergarten. It will also be great information for the kindergarten teachers to implement with all of their students. When preschool and kindergarten teachers communicate about transitions they should make sure to discuss the UDL guidelines and what has been successful with the preschool students to help ensure their success in kindergarten.

    • Shannon Wald says:

      Hi Rachel,
      I also think it’s important for early childhood instructors to share what has worked best for their students with kindergarten staff at their schools, with regard to UDL. But to really do so effectively, it seems like training sessions with staff from both levels might be important, as well as the opportunity for kindergarten staff to actually observe in the preschool classrooms. Gaining a firthand view of something in practice is probably going to be most useful (next to using it yourself), rather than just hearing about it.

  127. Linda Kasprzyk says:

    Although I agree with some of the previous posts that UDL is utilized on a daily basis within many EC/ECSE classrooms, it is important for it to continue into the elementary grades as well. I believe it is crucial for early childhood teachers to pay close attention to all interventions we use (sometimes we do things without even realizing we are doing it because it is so easy to embed it into the PK curriculum) and pass these interventions on to the elementary teachers. By using the UDL Guidelines we can do this very easily and primary teachers do not have to feel like they are recreating the wheel.
    As far as my own classroom, I would like to incorporate more in the area of technology especially for second language learners. This site will assist me in researching what is available and relevant to the needs of my classroom.

    • Tracy says:

      Linda,
      That’s a very good point. I completely agree with you that we often are doing things automatically to accommodate children, and forget to let future teachers know all of the things that worked. The checklist would be a good reminder- even a way to record what you are doing in numerous areas and pass that on with the student.

  128. Early Childhood Special Educators use Universal Design for Learning Guidelines throughout the preschool day. At our district we have special education, Colorado Preschool Program, and tuition students. The students range in age from 2 1/2 to 6 years old. There is several opportunities for them to have different means of representation, expression, and engagement. The differentiation is vital for the student involved in the preschool program because they are all at different stages of development. UDL and Creative Curriculum support each other because they identify the individual child and where they are at as a learner. Students have their unique interests, needs and wants. We use UDL with our strategies, interventions, accommodations and modifications for students.

    • Mia Herrera says:

      Rachel,

      I like how you pointed out that UDL and creative curriculum support each other to identify the individual learner. I think that’s an important point to make, because sometimes, even though something makes sense and is the right thing to do, like UDL, some might feel like it’s one more thing to add to the long list of things that need to be done. Instead we should be able to see it an asset to our curriculum and the children that we teach.

  129. Julie Scott says:

    I think the UDL guidelines will be very helpful to me as a teacher. Working as part of a team of professionals, we put our heads together and try to plan for activities that will consider the needs of all learners. I like that UDL suggests taking the best practices of early childhood education and planning activities so that all children will be successful in their learning. The number of children with disabilities and English-language learners seems to be growing in our program, creating even more of a need for flexibility to accomodate learner differences.

    I can apply UDL in my own classroom in many ways. To help all children participate successfully in group activities I can: provide cube chairs for children who have difficulty sitting on the floor; use visual cues along with verbal cues; and use props to engage children in music and stories. I can vary the expectations for participation and performance. For example, some children may respond by pointing, others may express single words, and some may use complete sentences. I can present information in a variety of ways, including verbal, print, gestures, and concrete objects. I can offer language models for children to imitate. Something very important I have learned this year is to provide extra time for certain children to process information when I ask them a question. I always look forward to learning more about how I can best meet the children right where they’re at!

    • Mia Herrera says:

      Hi Julie,
      Our program is also seeing a growing number of children with severe special needs, and the UDL checklist is a great tool for us to be able to make sure that the teaching that occur in the classroom is individualized as well as geared towards the group. I also like the fact that the check list makes it possible for all team member to participate and put in their thoughts and comments. This way everyone on the team has the same checklist and can implement different strategies when working with the child.

    • Linda Kasprzyk says:

      Julie,
      Your ideas of how to apply UDL in your classroom are right on and great examples. As early childhood educators and usually a child and family’s first school experience we need to be aware of each individual child and how they best learn. I also believe in teaching or making the child and family aware of this process so they are able to advocate for themselves in years to come.

      Linda

  130. Catherine Abrego says:

    UDL is such a wonderful concept. It makes perfect sense to provide different modes of learning and expressing what has been learned because classrooms do not have robotic students that all learn the same way. I also like how it provides all students with multiples means for learning which helps with the understanding of concepts.
    Providing young children with different ways to understand concepts that are being taught is very important. Teachers must be very attentive to how their students are responding to what is being taught and if they are really understanding the concepts. Young children are just beginning their understanding of learning so it is very important the teachers are planning out UDL as well as reviewing and making changes to their plans when needed so that the students are learning through multiple means of receiving and expressing information.
    Catherine

    • Sarah B says:

      You make really good points about exposing students lots of different types of learning. I remember form my school experiences the assignments that were hands-on, creative, and visual. There are a hand full of lessons that I remember and they were all extremely motivating when you were aloud to express what you have learned through creative outlets.

    • Mia Herrera says:

      Cathrine,
      I like how you pointed out the importance of reviewing and changing the plans and the UDL checklist to make sure that the what we taught actually worked for the child.

    • Mia Herrera says:

      Catherine,

      I like how you pointed out the importance of reviewing the UDL checklist as well as making changes to it. Just filling out the checklist won’t be enough if what we planned did not work for that child. Being flexible and making sure to review and make changes to fit the needs and learning style of the child is very important.

    • Linda Kasprzyk says:

      Catherine,
      Thanks for pointing out how UDL works for all children. I have always believed that everyone could benefit from an IEP of some sort or another whether a disability has been identified or not. It is best practice to look at strengths and needs of individuals and use these to develop a plan of action for learning.

      Linda

    • Catherine,
      It is important to remember that our students are young learners! It is important for us as teachers to reflect and change what is needed with our UDL in the classroom. It will create a better learning environment for the students!

    • Britney Parmenter says:

      Catherine,
      I like how you brought out the teachers need to pay attention to how their students learn. I believe that using the UDL checklist allows for a teacher to individualize her lesson plans, without creating a lesson plan for each student.

  131. Britney Parmenter says:

    As an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher I have noticed that a lot of the Universal Design for Learning occurs in our Preschool classrooms. I know this may not be the case in other areas. Yet I believe a lot of early childhood educators apply these principle and guidelines without even knowing it. The Universal Design for Learning is necessary for success in Early Childhood Curriculum. In areas of high populations of English Second Language Speakers; Preschool is often a child’s first exposure to English. Preschool classes are full of students who are non-verbal. Many Preschool classes are created by the state to support children with disabilities. These reasons and more present the need for Universal Design for Learning in the Early Childhood Curriculum.
    I don’t see any guidelines as being more important than another. When creating lesson plans, these guidelines are a great resource to ensure that you are meeting the needs of each individual student. While this principle may not be more important than the other principles, I love the principle of “multiple means of engagement” I believe we really focus on this in Early Childhood Education, by providing choices whenever possible and creating theme units and discovery learning centers based on interests. We use interest and level of engagement to encourage participation and urge children to come out of their shell. I feel like this principle gets watered down in the upper grades.

    • Tracy says:

      Britney,
      I agree with you that the focus on UDL seems to lessen as the grade levels increase.
      I feel very lucky that my children attend a project based learning elementary school (in Fort Collins) where the lessons are frequently based on student interest, and there is an emphasis on working together as teams to complete real world projects. It is so nice to see each student bringing their own strengths and preferences to a group project, and the students learning from each other. I wish they could stay in such a school throughout their schooling!

  132. Luella Thiessen says:

    I believe that many preschool teachers use Universal Design for Learning without even realizing it. When integrated classrooms consist of young three year-olds to five-year-olds, the teachers must come up with strategies to help children with different developmental levels understand the information, allow children options for expressing knowledge, and provide opportunities for children to sustain or regulate their own interests. A well planned activity will individualize each child’s participation level without disruptions. I believe that the key is that the teacher is open to letting the children take the lead instead of having very narrow ideas of what the end goal of the activity should be. This checklist is useful because although each of the three principles do not have to be present in every activity, teachers can refer to the items and vary their teaching to accommodate the needs of all of the children.

    • Todd Sundeen says:

      Thank you for your thoughts Luella. Two thoughts come to mind from your post. I am glad that your school is currently using UDL. Wouldn’t it be great if they knew about the resources here at CAST to help them with their planning?

      Also, I am very glad that the UDL checklist may be helpful for planning. I think that having hyperlinks for each line helps when you run out of ideas.

      • Britney Parmenter says:

        This website easily made it to the Favorites list. What a great resource for lesson planning and Professional Development!

    • Catherine Gaber says:

      Luella,
      I like how you mentioned that many preschool teachers use UDL already. I find it comforting to have a label or name to a practice that I have been using for some time. It seems to almost validate what has been done in the past by these teachers.

      Having UDL guidelines and checklists to share with other teachers and administrators is a gift for preschool teachers. We can show them that there is a reason behind the practices we use and can show them how it benefits the children. I look forward to sharing this information.

      Cathy

  133. Candace Briggs says:

    This was fun learning about UDL. As I was reading, part of me thought, “I see some teachers use this design, while others do not”. But their are many benefits to bringing it into the classroom. First, as Howard Gardner states, “everyone has differnt learning styles”. Not everyone retains information the same. One child may be able to absorb information by reading a book sitting at their desk. While others, may need to read while lying on their stomach. Secondly, by using UDL in an inclusive classroom, the teacher will have a better chance keeping all her students engaged. By teaching only one way, the teacher may only reach 10% of his/her class. By using UDL, the teacher will be able to reach 90-98% of his/her class at a time.

    I can apply UDL in my own classroom by allowing children to express their knowledge in different ways. For example, some children may learn how to write the letters of their name with paper and pencil. But others may need a more sensory approach, they may need to already see their name on a board and trace their name in sand, shaving cream, or jello. For children who don’t want to jump or hop in a game, will have another chance during music and movement.

    • Catherine Abrego says:

      Candace
      Tapping into sensory approaches in early childhood classrooms is very important. Young children are continuously exploring the world and seem to be stimulated by sensory activities. Various sensory activities are great to include in UDL planning since there will be students that respond to it.

    • Karin Alvarez says:

      Candace-

      It’s interesting that you mention Howard Gardner; his theory of multiple intelligences (http://www.tecweb.org/styles/gardner.html)came to mind for me when reading the sites on UDL. While some may be skeptical of Gardner’s ideas, I think they are well worth considering, especially when working with younger children. I also think his different intelligences could mesh quite harmoniously with some of the concepts of UDL.

  134. Mia Herrera says:

    The UDL guidelines fit in with the early childhood special education curriculum that we use at our school in a way that all children are included in the classroom, but need to be taught differently. The education is individualized to fit the needs of the individual child as well as group. I like the fact that using UDL means that the plan is designed this way from the beginning. This reduces the barriers for learning as well as increases the opportunities the children have for learning throughout the day. All children learn differently and it’s important to take into account everyone’s learning style.
    In my classroom we individualize the curriculum as much as we can. For example when teaching the letter Y, there are pictures of the letter, words and pictures of objects that start with the letter y. The children get to make the letter with their body, write it with chalk, crayon, marker etc, make it out of playdough, sing songs about the letter y, and look for the letter in books. We try to make the materials that we use as diverse, varied and flexible as we can. Although we have individualized the curriculum before, I was not familiar with the UDL checklist until now. I think it would be a great tool for us to use when going over our lesson plans, to make sure that we are using as many teaching strategies possible to make sense of learning for the children in our classroom.
    I like the fact that UDL recognizes that diversity is the norm, not the exception in today’s classroom, and the fact that it’s important for us educators to remember that sometimes it is the curriculum that needs fixing – not the students.

    • Luella Thiessen says:

      Mia,
      I agree that it is important to plan using UDL principles from the beginning. When teachers prepare lessons with the student’s learning differences in mind, it prevents having to try to accommodate the few children who didn’t understand and by then are most likely frustrated. Trying to catch those students up then only frustrates the ones who have to wait.
      I too had not seen this checklist before. As a ECSE teacher who mostly provides indirect services by collaborating with the preschool teachers in each classroom, I feel that this checklist will be a tool I will be able to share to help support all the students and not appear as though I’m just looking out for my own.

  135. Beth says:

    While UDL was “born” out of architecture, it very well could have been “born” out of EC/ECSE. Just as in architecture there was a need to make buildings and other structures useable for all, regardless of ability, so to in EC/ECSE we as teachers know of the great need to provide useable instruction for all, regardless of ability. In architecture, the burden of adaptation fell upon the designer of the structure, not on the user. In EC/ECSE the burden of adaptaion must be placed upon the designer of the curriculum and not on the student.

    I have heard it said that preschool is the place where children are learning how to learn. Students must also want to learn and be prepared to be learners their whole life long. These goals can be accomplished when following the CAST Universal Design guidelines by providing multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. There is no one way. Options must be built in to the curriculum.

    Today we had a special day. A woman from CU came and gave a presentation on polar animals to the afternoon pre-k and kindergarten students. She began the presentation with visuals which included two of the students dressing up in a polar bear and penguin costume. Alex, an almost four year old with profound developmental delays became scared when his classmate donned the penguin costume. I had pulled the book, “Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear?” by Eric Carle before the presentation in anticpiation of something like this happening. The assistant wheeled Alex in his wheelchair to a corner of the room and read the book with him. He was comforted by the familiar activity with a familiar person and was later able to join the students and observe as they rotated from station to station learning about how blubber keeps animals warm, which fabrics keep you protected from wind and cold, different animal furs, and rocks that come from Polar Regions.

    Alex was supported through the provision of multiple means of engagement of UDL. He was still particpating in the topic of polar animals by reading the book. He was comforted and able to rejoin the other students when he was ready.

    • Todd Sundeen says:

      Thank you Beth for sharing Alex’s story with us. You were wise to anticipate and provide multiple means of engagement for him. Well done!

    • Judy H. says:

      To Beth,
      Good point! Even though I do not know fully the answer to your question, “How do you determine the students’ interest in developing a new plan continually?” All I know from experience is that learning is a ‘lifelong’ journey. This lifelong learning must become a voluntary self-motivated lifestyle for the rest of our lives.

      On the conveyor belt of learning,
      Judy

      • lori g says:

        I believe that children will guide the classroom towards a continuous journey that is self fulfilling. I too believe that we as preschool teachers are the doors that open childrens curiosity and love for learning. We must provide that them with a variety of learning opportunities that help teach them to love to learn.

  136. Liz Gustafson says:

    I feel that all three principles can be applied to an early childhood special education setting. As all children learn differently, UDL allows children to be more successful if they are provided multiple means learning the information, expressing knowledge, and engaging in the learning process.

    My preschool program has very young three-year-olds all the way up to children almost six years old. As a result, my class needs varying levels of activities so that children can learn how they learn best. Very young children may benefit more from playing in the sand table while older children may be appropriately challenged at the writing center. I feel that ECSE curriculum needs to be flexible and varied to meet the wide range of our children’s needs!

    • Karin Alvarez says:

      Liz-

      That was one of the things I noticed in my third observation (in the 3-5 setting); the teacher keeps her activities fairly open ended, so as to accommodate different skill levels and needs. It seems like the trick is finding a balance between keeping things structured, yet flexible enough to make these accommodations possible. I think UDL provides some specifics which can help us with that.

  137. Kari Kalogerson says:

    I think that UDL can be a great tool to use to help teach to the individual child. Every child comes into ECE with such different backgrounds and levels of exposure.

  138. Todd Sundeen says:

    Thank you for your thoughts Tracy. How might you see yourself using CAST’s Universal Design for Learning Guidelines – Educator Checklist in your own classroom? How could it be valuable if at all?

    • Tracy says:

      Dr. Sundeen,

      I think as educators we are often great at differentiating at some areas, but tend to get stuck in a rut and forget just how many areas there are for us to adapt our plans. The checklist would be a great reminder to look at all possible areas, as well as a way to make sure we are meeting the needs of all learners while creating lesson plans. It would be a useful planning tool.

      • Candace says:

        Tracy:

        I agree, that the UDL is a great way to guide lesson plans. One question that I have is: how would you (as the teacher) convince the rest of the staff you work with, that the UDL is the best way to make creative and engaging lesson plans?

        I don’t know about you, but I find myself learning about a new tool and immediately wanting to practice that tool with the preschool children I work with. But others are not so ethusiastic.
        How would you build ethusiam?

        I would love your ideas.

        Candace

      • Judy says:

        To Tracy,
        Your comment to Sarah B. has been established by many past theoretical ‘giants’ that ‘one size fits all’ is so true as you stated and is NOT practical: Lev Vygotsky (1925) primary essence of his theory of 10 years study reveals that ,’child development, and education were extremely diverse’, Benjamin Bloom (1956), introduced ‘Mastery Learning’ as a method that assumes that all children can learn if the appropriate learning condiitions are made available; ‘The Little Red School House’, originally founded in 1835 in New Port, New Hampshire was also a method of teaching then, but it will be nonfunctioning now. Thanks for your comment and revelations.

        Don’t forget the Basics,
        Judy

      • Tracy says:

        Candace,
        I am lucky in the sense that I work in a small school district, which means all of us on the preschool team are able to communicate often and share ideas with each other regularly. It is also a very enthusiastic team.
        I would imagine, though, that if some of my team was less excited about a new tool such as this one, I might try using it for a period of time, and then sharing my good results with them. I think most educators welcome tools that will help them- we just tend to be wary with all of the many new ideas and programs we constantly encounter! 🙂

  139. Melissa S says:

    I believe that it is important to use the UDL guidelines as a resource for differentiating your instruction to meet all the needs of your students. Considering the use of different representation, expression, and engagement is not only a consideration that is needed to be made by the teacher for student with disabilities but is needed for all students. Children all learn differently and it is important to consider the child’s individual strength, needs, and interest when educating them. Using the UDL provides the framework for really considering the individual child. The UDL guidelines can be applied in the EC/ECSE curriculum by referencing different areas that need differentiation. For example with building on comprehension in the curriculum, the ULD guidelines provide examples of interventions to support the concept, like ;guiding information processing and providing background knowledge.

    • Todd Sundeen says:

      Melissa you make excellent points about the power and flexibility of UDL for meeting the needs of all students.

      How can you see using UDL in your own classroom?

  140. Ashley says:

    Principal I, guideline 2 is a great guideline however, depending on your teaching situation it could be very difficult to make sure you communicate to your student’s families in their primary language. I’m very lucky to have a paraprofessional that speaks spanish and English, so we get to have all of our newsletters and any information we send home translated into spansih. I couldn’t imnagine teaching without UDL. Every class is full of individuals who learn completely different than the next. Especially in ECSE preschool when 50% of your students are on IEP’s it very important to make sure you are teaching your students individually. In my classroom I have 14 out of my 32 students on IEP’s and it is clear that they have individual needs when you’re looking at their IEP goals. I have not seen one IEP with the same goal. So, in my classroom I use UDL everyday. Making sure there are multiple ways for the children to undertand the information (auditory, visually, physically) and multiple explanations to be sure they really understand what they learned. Scaffolding is also a big part of teaching, which is also seen in my classroom everyday.

    • Sarah B. says:

      Ashley,
      I completely understand the need for UDL in preschool classrooms especially when it comes to having such a high number of ESS students (exceptional student services). We currently have 18 on IEP’s out of 28 students. There is no way to meet the students needs and IEP goals and objectives without using UDL. I am just amazed when I meet people that still have the old mind set and think that the student needs to conform to them and that we don’t have to figure out what the student needs.

    • Candace Briggs says:

      Ashley:

      I completly understand. I also work with some remarkable little ones. I can’t imagine doing the same goal or teach in the same way for every child. It is awesome that you have a para that is spanish and English speaking. How do you explain UDL to parents? What is their response?

      Candace

    • Catherine Abrego says:

      Ashley
      I like that you pointed out the challenges that language barriers con pose. It may be very difficult to connect to a family and the student if we do not speak the language. Working as a team with individuals that do speak the language is a must in creating a UDL environment.
      Catherine

  141. Tracy says:

    UDL seems like such a natural fit with inclusive early childhood education classrooms. It should be what we as teachers all strive for- differentiating all areas of the curriculum to meet the varied needs of our students.
    In my own classroom, I like to use a project based learning approach based on the interests of the students. It means having to come up with new plans each year as the interests of the students change, but it also means the students are engaged and excited to learn about the things they are most interested in.

    The checklist is a nice reminder of just how much differentiating we should be doing in our classrooms.

    • Sarah B. says:

      Tracy,
      I like your approach to UDL in your classroom. I find it hard to base all lessons on student interest. Not because I don’t want to but because our curriculum mandates what we teach. There is a little wiggle room but the major lessons and themes are set.
      I agree that it is the teachers job to differenciate lessons and use UDL to meet the needs of all students. I think that the old way of teaching was that one method fit all and if it didn’t, they were referred for special education. I think that RtI also fits into UDL. It is a formalized way to meet the needs of students before refering the student for special education services. I have seen it work and have had great sucess with it this year in the preschool setting.

      • Tracy says:

        Sarah,
        Having a set curriculum would definitely make it more difficult to utilize student interest based units. I am grateful that is not the case at my school. However, I do think that even when students are presented with a basic theme, their questions and ideas naturally lead us to explore areas of the topic we may not have had planned.

        You make a good point regarding RTI being a natural fit with UDL. With RTI being implemented in Colorado this year, the UDL checklist seems like a timely tool, looking at a variety of ways to meet the needs of an individual student.

    • Beth says:

      Hi Tracy –

      It’s great that you strive to differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. How do you determine the students’ interests to develop new plans continually?

      Beth

      • Tracy says:

        Hi Beth,
        Mainly through observation and interaction. Frequently as we are exploring one unit, questions and ideas will come up that lead us to a new unit to study. There do seem to be some perpetual ones, so I always have units put together on things like dinosaurs, farms, vet clinics, grocery store, community workers. We often start the year with one of those, and then see where we go…!

    • Britney Parmenter says:

      Tracy,
      I like how you stated that your lesson plans would have to change based on student interest. I agree that some teachers get in a rut with teaching, and use the same themes over and over again. While it may be true that three and four year olds tend to like animals, trucks, ect… student interest can change. I think it is important to get to know your families and students, instead of assuming a three year old boy has to love trucks.

    • Catherine Gaber says:

      Tracy,
      I have tried to come up with different units each year based on the students’ interests, but I find that in many cases there is not much of an agreement outside of the units I have done previously. I wonder how much your units change or is it more the delivery and the activities that change?

      For instance, I’ve done a unit on vehicles and transportation every year as it always seems that students (especially the boys) like cars, trucks, planes…do you continue to do the vehicles and just change it up a bit or are you finding that each group has vastly different interests than the ones before?

      Cathy

  142. Sarah B. says:

    Universal Design for Learning seems like it was created out of early childhood and best practices. It seems unnatural to teach any other way. All children learn differently and it is our job as teachers to figure out how to reach them and provide them with the materials they need to be able to respond back to us. Early childhood education and early childhood special education really involve a lot of different types of experiences. They touch visual, auditory and kinetic styles when teaching to help students learn and absorb as much as they can.
    In my own classroom, we provide a wide variety of learning opportunities for students. If we are learning about growing and changing there will be books in the library area about growing and changing. There might be a garden shop in the dramatic play area and have science posters up about how flowers grow and change. There would be books on tape related to growing and changing. Materials would be available in the art area for students to express what they have learned through art. We can go on a walk around the neighborhood to see who things are growing and changing outside. With multiple experiences for the students and the use of different types of activities, students will find several ways to explore and learn.

    • Beth says:

      Sarah –
      Your last sentence says it all. When there are multiple experiences for children with different activities, they will have ways to explore and learn. It sounds like you provide multiple experiences and activities that allow your students to learn how to learn, want to learn and become prepared to be lifelong learners.
      Beth

      • Todd Sundeen says:

        Sarah and Beth…Isn’t it wonderful when we are ‘fixing’ the curriculum instead of the learner?

    • Candace Briggs says:

      I also like your last sentence. It should be posted some where on the UNCO website for education. The education system should be about providing multi-sensory activities that build every child’s strengths, not just a few. Guess what, that is UDL. Talk about circular continuum.

      Candace

  143. Brindle Darden says:

    I am an inclusion teacher and I believe that the UDL guidelines are very useful when it comes to engagement and also expression. Not all students learn in the same manner and not all students are able to express themselves the same as well. By allowing multiple means of expressions to gather understanding and to keep engagement allows for students to be more focused. Also using materials in diverse ways is very helpful. For example, after reading our book of the week, some of my students may write in their binders, some decide to use the computer to gather materials and create items from story; some students even prepare presentations to class. We also sometimes do readers theater, they really enjoy that.

  144. Laura Barr says:

    The UDL guidelines are essential in an early childhood classroom because all the children come in at different levels with different experiences and different interest. It only makes sense that as teachers we need to present the content in a variety of ways, allow children to show us what they have learned in different ways and to use strategies that encourage active engagement. This can be done in early childhood by manipulating the play environment, engaging children in circle time activities by using a variety of modalities, and facilitating play that is children directed. For example, if the content is around community helpers, the teacher can; supply community helper clothes and hats in the dramatic area, conduct circle time with visuals and songs around community helpers, as well as having the children take the lead in playing opportunities by choosing to play with community helper puzzles, or taking on a pretend role along with children.

  145. Cassie Tapia says:

    I really enjoyed using the checklist. The checklist was a nice tool to use when trying to engage the children within the classroom. Engaging the children is one thing, keeping them focused is another thing. Keeping them engaged and focused at the same time is one of the hardest things to do. As teachers we are looking for ideas on how to change things or enhances materials and equipment through out the classroom. It’s important as teachers to remember that we work with special needs children and typical children therefore trying to reach everyone’e learning ability is hard. Everyone learns differently. Therefore, no two students should be treated the same. However, by enhancing, modifying and adding to the materials makes all the difference!
    Cassie Tapia

    • Ashley says:

      Using the checklist in your classroom is a great idea. I guess I didn’t even think of taking it to the classroom. It is a challenge to keep your students engaged and focused but having a checklist to kind of keep you on track is a great way to make sure your students get the best education you can give them.

  146. Kendrea Valdez says:

    Universal design for learning creates an environment that uses flexible goals, methods, uses various materials, and assessments in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. When looking at how UDL works in the classroom, as far as the curriculum, one must look at the “what”, the “how”, and the “why” of learning. There are three brain networks that need to be customized in order to teach individual differences. They are multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement. Let’s look at these three area for early childhood education.

    The multiple means of representation is used to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge. This is integrated into the lesson plans by providing options for perception, visually and/or auditorily. When implementing an activity such as introducing a letter Aa, the teacher would introduce the sound of the letter as well as what the letter looks like. This can be done by singing songs, reading poems or stories, instruction, displaying the letter, and/or finger plays. Another way a teacher can use the means of representation is through language and symbols. It is important to have a language enriched environment. This can be done by using both symbols and words/letters throughout the environment. Comprehension, another way to use the means of representation, can also be used throughout the classroom environment. For example, if you read the story The Three Little Pigs, you should incorporate the story in all of the areas in the classroom: brick blocks in the block area, twigs and straw in the art area, flannel boards in the library area, worksheet in the writing area, pig and wolf manipulatives in the math area, and pig and wolf costumes in the house area.

    The multiple means of Action and Expression is used to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know. This can be done through physical action, which should be an everyday activity for the students through music and movement and outside/gym opportunities. Music and movement is a great way for students to communicate, problem solve, and the opportunity to perform. There are many different songs and finger plays that can give children the opportunity to express them. Whenever an activity is introduced to the students, the teacher must explain the goals and objectives for the activity. This gives the students a reason to do the activity. If the teacher gives an assignment without explaining what they want the child to learn, how and why would the student want to do it?

    The multiple means of engagement will tap into the learner’s interest, offer appropriate challenges and increase motivation. It is very important for the teacher to understand and know the capabilities of each student within their class. Then he/she must set goal for each student to achieve a certain success. The lesson plans, curriculum, and instruction must then help the students reach their individual goals. The teacher must teach coping skills and strategies to the students so they can reach the goal. Teachers must not only evaluate and observe the students, but must also develop a way to assess themselves and reflect upon what works and does not work.

    Kendy

  147. Janelle Talaasen says:

    I think UDL is easy to apply to early childhood programs because most programs are multi-sensory and flexible. In addition, early childhood special education teachers are required by the nature of their job duties to be able to teach, engage and encourage children in multiple ways.

    I currently work in a before/after school program. My students range in age from preschool to fifth grade. Using UDL I am able to meet a larger variety of students’ needs. I must know my students well enough to know how they learn best, their interests, and how to modify and accommodate the classroom environment and their activities to maintain their attention. The corporation has ideas on how to operate the program which I appreciate, but I also want the flexibility to customize my own program to meet the student’s needs, interests and provoke their learning within the framework of their individuality.

  148. Brittani Sauer says:

    As a first grade teacher, I find the UDL guidelines very helpful to structure teaching in a way that reaches all my learners. I have many students who are at a variety of different levels and learn in so many different ways. My student’s learning styles are, in fact, as unique as their fingerprints!

    Young children are active and generally do not maintain focus on any one thing for more than a couple of minutes. Therefore, holding their engagement is particularly challenging. I always try to remember that giving young children (both with and without disabilities) choices or options for learning is a great way to establish engagement from the start. If my first graders finish work early, they have a list of options to choose from for what learning they can do next. I have also found that differentiation is a large part of active engagement. If the child is bored or frustrated, engagement is lost. I have worked hard this year to differentiate seatwork for my students during guided reading rotations. Young children want to succeed, so providing ongoing descriptive feedback and giving time for reflection is very important. I try to conference with each of the children in my class by walking through the checklist/rubric I provide them with for complete sentences. I provide direct feedback during these conversations to help the child improve and/or maintain his/her writing.

    • Janelle Talaasen says:

      Brittani, you are so right that giving children choices and options really helps children with engagement. It also sounds like you are allowing your students to work at their pace. With “cookie cutter” education many children are bored because they have no interest in the topic or already have mastered a particular skill that they become disengaged in school. As teachers we need to reflect on our teaching styles and how things are going in the classroom to determine what is working and what is not.

    • Kendrea Valdez says:

      Brittani,
      I really like the idea about the checklist/rubric. It is so important for the students to understand what is expected of them. It is also important for them to understand the goals and objectives of a particular activity. If they understand what they are suppose to be getting out of an assignment, they will be more willing to participate.
      Kendy

      • Cassie Tapia says:

        Kendra,
        I couldn’t agree with you more when talked about what is expected of the children. And the best way to do this is go through a rubric/ guidelines that way the children can refer back to it as often as they need!The guidline checklist was an appropraite way to make sure all learners in the classroom will benefit!
        Cassie

  149. Marisa says:

    From working in an educational setting for about 2 years now, (which I recognize is probably very minimal for some of you) I found myself agreeing with many of the guidelines presented. I feel as though we could sum up several of them by simply addressing why the students are learning certain things.

    In a math class for instance, we are focusing on teaching the students how to make change. But why do they need to make change? Because at one point, the student will go into a convenience store and purchase a bag of chips, or a soda, and it is up to them to recognize if they have received the correct amount back. If the soda costs 1.25$ and they pay with a 20 dollar bill, what should they expect to receive? Recognize the importance of learning how to correctly make change and also, what other doors being able to count back and receive change can open. What types of jobs and situations will they run into as adults where they are required to count back money, and write out checks and so on and so forth. If we simply stick them on a computer and have recognize the difference between 5 cents and 50 cents, what are they really learning?

    • Brittani Sauer says:

      Hi Marisa,
      I completely agree with you about providing real-life experiences for children so they see relevance. I also teach children to make change in my class. We practice the skill in our “store” that is created using real empty food boxes with labeled prices. The children have a money pouch with real and play money that they bring to the register to “buy” their food. I am able to monitor their progress as they check out as well as give direct instruction when needed.

      Brittani

    • Kendrea Valdez says:

      Marisa,

      I agree with you in the fact that we need to put these children in real life situations. I do not know what grade you are teaching, but as a preschool special education teacher, all of the classes that I go into have play money and we will role play how to spend it. If we want to wear clothes, we need to pay for the dress. If we want to eat at a restaurant, we need to pay for the food. Many times the students will charge $100 for a cookie or something small, but the amount does not matter at this age. The concept of money is what is important so when they get older, they will be able to use the play experiences for real life opportunities.

      Kendy

    • Denise Hesseltine says:

      Hi Marisa, Isn’t it exciting to think about all the different ways we can make learning real, fun and applicable to our students. This also makes teaching more fun as well. UDL provides the best education for all students for sure!
      Denise H.

  150. Katie Matthews says:

    As a pre-service teacher graduating in December, I found this UDL presentation highly applicable to my future teaching practice. I love technology and appreciate and marvel at the wonder of it all. I find that many teachers today are disconnected and that students like technology but maybe don’t know how to use it to their advantage.

    I implemented as much technology as I could in my last practicum (secondary). I created WebQuests, used PowerPoint and online videos, and created sites for the students to direct them in their learning. The feedback I got was positive from the students, not only because we were going to go on the computers but also because the resources they had were appropriate for them and they didn’t need to waste time searching this vast information network to find something they could understand.

    I realize there are more tools out there and I am just getting started, but I look forward to implementing and utilizing more technology as I further my career. Lifelong learning is what it is about!

    • Brittani Sauer says:

      Katie,
      I have found technology to be an outstanding aid in teaching and the UDL guidelines really support this idea. I currently use a class website as a communication and teaching tool. I post weekly newsletters, photos, calendars, and any important announcements on it. I have just recently found a way to post videos. My assistant principal is working closely with me to create visual instructional plans from Fred Jones Tools for Teaching. She takes video of me explaining the visual and each step. I can then post this video online for parents and students to refer to. This assists students in transferring skills learned in class from short-term memory to long term memory! It is fantastic!

      Brittani

  151. April says:

    I am a student teacher and very new to the concept of UDL. Thank you for the informative articles. I have been working with several students who have great difficulty in processing language onto paper and one with oral processing difficulties. And very recently, my grandson has been diagnosed with ASD. Hence, the opportunity for so many options to be incorporated into the strategies for learning is amazing. I have already used quite a few, but I am excited to explore the many new options you have illustrated in Windows, Thank you and I will be investigating further.

  152. If you want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this article for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed bits. Thank you, anyway!

  153. Cam Caldwell says:

    I care passionately about teaching and am enjoying this review. I work at a university that seems so uncommitted to teaching excellence. My students tell me, “Dr. Caldwell, I have never been asked to write research papers in my business classes. I don’t know how to do research.”

    I help them succeed and require them to work closely with our Writing Center. I review provided rubrics carefully. But it seems so ironic that most of our faculty do not demonstrate that they care a hoot! Forty percent of our graduating MBA students failed to meet our writing requirements last spring.

  154. jgronneberg says:

    Hi Kerry,
    Funny you should mention your wish for ways to transfer UDL principles into sensible policies to improve access to learning….join us on October 6th for a kick-off webinar on this very topic!

    Your voice can be heard in Washington beginning on Monday, October 6th

    Calling all Educators, SPED Directors, and School, District, and State Administrators interested in shaping policy related to UDL Implementation

    We want to hear from those of you out in the field working to implement UDL

    Participate in a Virtual Forum to discuss challenges to the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with colleagues at the federal, state, district and school levels across the nation. Your conversations will inform a small core team’s work at a future face-to-face forum as they develop UDL policy recommendations.

    CAST and Project Forum at NASDSE (National Association of State Directors of Special Education) are pleased to host a free webinar on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a kick-off event for a month-long online policy forum on UDL implementation. The webinar will provide you with background on UDL and start the conversation on issues related to UDL implementation in schools, districts and states.

    Date: Monday, October 6th
    Time: 2:00-4:00PM Eastern Standard Time
    Presenter: David H. Rose, Co-Founder and Chief Education Officer of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and a pioneer of the field of UDL.

    Link to the webinar: Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Policy Issues http://www.projectforum.org/
    No pre-registration required. You will need to perform a systems check on your PC prior to 2:00PM. For technical assistance prior to 2pm, email jgronneberg@cast.org.

  155. Kerry Armstrong says:

    As I work to implement the principles of UDL in my district, I wish there was policy (law,even) in place just as there is in architecture.

    Learners need protection from long-held biases of our classrooms, systems and governements.

    Are you doing work to transfer these principles to policy?

    The part that stands out for me is that these principles are for all learners and that the adaptations to curricula must be for everyone so that no one feels singled out and feels bad for needing them. We don’t send someone in a wheelchair to the back of the building; however, we send our learning disabled to the computer to access text differently.

    Thoughts?

    • Britney Parmenter says:

      If only we were all lucky enough to have administrators that would encourage and require UDL. In past years teaching I have been very frustrated when I was encouraged to follow curriculum word for word, that only reached less than 1/3 of my learners.

  156. Shih-hua says:

    I very much appreciate these guidelines, which help me to use different ways to reach students. I find myself needing to do a lot of imagination work, while reading through the guidelines. I am wandering if it is possible to put some real life application movie or snapshot clips along these guidelines. It will help visual thinker like myself much easier to grasp the concepts. Just a thought!

    • Ashley says:

      I completely agree with you. It would be very helpful to have some real life situations or examples to go along with the guidelines. It’s easy if you just so happen to have a real life situation in your own class, but if you don’t it would be great to get a better understanding of the guidelines.

      • jgronneberg says:

        Have you all had a chance to check out the videos we have recently added to the National Center on UDL website? They may help you get a flavor for what UDL guidelines look like when put into practice in the classroom. Here’s the link: http://www.udlcenter.org/

        Hope this helps!
        Best,
        Janet

        Janet Gronneberg, Ed.M.
        CAST
        40 Harvard Square
        Wakefield, MA 01880
        phone: 781-245-2212
        fax: 781-245-5212
        http://www.cast.org

  157. Wanda Malave says:

    I think in my lesson plans Principle I & II, guidelines 1-6, are relatively easy to apply, once I have recognized what the student needs to learn best. I believe all still have motivation to learn and once I as the teacher have found what motivates them best and provide materials accordingly using all and any multimedia available, especially digital technology. Principle III becomes a bit more challenging. What I have found is that usually, (there have been occasions – depending on the student) if I as the teacher haven’t found a medium to address the emotional concerns of the students, it becomes more challenging to apply principles I and II, although the student will try, but there will be days/ups and downs.

    • Taryn W says:

      Of all the Principles I agree that Principle I & II are easier for me to apply to my lesson planning, for me as a new teacher, I am learning how to incorporate Principle III and successfully support and meet the needs of all the learners in the classroom. Currently I am focusing on Principle I & II, and utilizing Powerpoint, Video Clips, and Audio and Television.
      I have also found using WebQuests, to outline online research helps direct research efforts. I am trilled to see all of the Word tools, and Digital Text book tools to support learning- these are tools I would like to incorporate into my lessons!

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