“ There's also that belief that we should be so private as to not speak about the needs of the children. Don't embarrass Johnny by telling him to put on his glasses, hearing aids, etc. Don't make Susie feel bad by handing her a fidget toy to play with so she can pay attention.
In our classroom, fidget toys are in a box for all the children, glasses are mentioned frequently, students are encouraged to move to the front of the room, grab a spell checker, use the computer or alphasmart , pull out the E.Z.C. Readers , etc.
The difference? These tools are demonstrated to and available for everyone. (Well, not glasses or hearing aids but you get the point.) So when a lesson begins, up jumps the classified student along with the gifted student. They both gather tools they need to be successful.”
Teachers and others in education tend to be a proactive group of people. They will worry that UDL will hold students back, encourages cheating, makes students who don’t need certain UDL things reliant on those things and that students may use UDL things to misbehave.
However, we need to remember that students will only use tools if that tool works for them, cheating will always be an issue with or without UDL, we all rely on tools that aren’t “necessary” like our Smart Phones and using calculators for math we could do in our head and if students misbehave with a UDL tool you respond the same way you would if he or she misbehaved in any other way.
We all know the student who will loss the work sheet between here and the locker, or will forget to bring it home.
Save a copy of worksheets online so that students only have to worry about the return trip using free online storage programs, this also means that students can do make up work immediately when they are out
Encourage your students to figure out what how to best use technology combined with their learning style to get things done. (Let’s face it after high school very few of us stick with the assignment notebook system.)
At the end of every period insist that all students record the assignment in their assignment notebook but also in some other method which could include:
Using a voice recorder or a voice recorder attachment to an iPod
E-mailing yourself on a Blackberry or iPhone
SMS (texting) yourself on your cellphone
Using calendar software on a Palmpilot, Blackberry or iPhone
Using calendar software online, such as Google’s iCal
Use free to do list programs
Remember the Milk www.rememberthemilk.com
Ta Da List www.tadalist.com
Computer Based Sticky Notes http://www.hottnotes.com/
Use the international “no” sign (red circle with line through it) when something is not an option
Providing “maps” so students can “find their way around” everything from inside their desks, to the building to their papers, to bibliographies
In the lower grades or with non-readers using photographs and picture symbols
Make step by step photographic or picture based instruction for things like science labs or art projects
Consider making The Visual Dictionary (http://visual.merriam-webster.com/index.php) your online dictionary
This will help all visual learners, all multi-modal learners, those on the autism spectrum, those with dysphonetic dyslexia, those with non-verbal learning disabilities, those with Fragile X and Down Syndrome.
Free Photographs and Picture Symbols for Visual Supports
www.do2learn.com – mostly schedule and personal care related line drawings
www.imaginesymbols.com – 4,000 full color drawing for use in schedules, communication and education materials
www.sclera.be/English/index.htm - 14,000 pictograms for education, schedules and communication all are black on white in design
Don’t forget that you can use your digital camera, Google images and website like Flickr as well.