The workshop started with this video that explains UDL:
UDL is about facilitating multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression for learners.
The speaker shared these 3 things that specialists from her district would like student-teachers to consider:
- Sensory needs (sensory tools, movement, environment), and
- Clear, positive communication.
VisualsThese are some of the reasons visuals are important:
- Provide consistent cues about students' daily activities and routines,
- Reduce anxiety,
- Help students with language processing difficulties,
- Provide a permanent reminder, and
- Build independence.
- Visual schedule,
- Volume meter,
- Word wall, and
- Time timer.
- Promotes ability to judge how much time is left,
- Makes transitions smoother, and
- Builds independence.
Some resources to consult include:
- Special Education Technology British Columbia (SET BC) website, and
- Boardmaker for symbol-based learning materials.
Sensory NeedsWe each have a unique "sensory diet" that dictates what we need to make sure we're calm, alert, and ready to learn. I have seen some educators tweeting this quote that expresses this:
"In teaching, you can't do the Bloom stuff until you take care of the Maslow stuff." -Alan E. BeckThe importance of movement breaks was emphasized, and we got to share and try out a bunch of strategies. Having movement breaks built in really helped me to keep focused and learning throughout the three-hour workshop! Here are some reasons why movement breaks are important:
- They increase alertness and decrease anxiety,
- Kids get stressed when they don't move enough,
- Movement and sensory experience is necessary to strengthen connections between neurons,
- Promote self-regulation, and
- Help students stay on task.
- Keep fingers and feet busy, minds focused, and bodies relaxed,
- Work for some students some students and not for others,
- Work on some days and not others,
- Should be demonstrated and practiced.
- Should be discussed as being tools, not toys.
- Fidget tools,
- Stress ball,
- Velcro strips,
- Thinking putty,
- Yarn sections,
- Tension elastics on chairs,
- Juggling balls,
- Pencil grips,
- Resistance bands, and
- Foot rests.
MindfulnessMindfulness has become a very trendy topic in education lately. It is about paying attention to the present moment without judgement. The speaker said that it means "paying kind and curious attention to how you're feeling, and then making a kind choice."
These books on mindfulness were suggested:
- Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda,
- 10 Mindful Minutes,
- Whole Brain Child,
- Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids,
- Still Quiet Place, and
- My Gratitude Jar.
Here are some gentle brain breaks that were suggested:
- Take 5,
- Hoberman sphere breathing,
- Tone bar, and
- Mindful eating (have students try paying special attention to their first bite of snack/lunch - how does it feel/taste?).
Clear, Positive CommunicationWe were advised to reduce language and increase wait time. On average, we give children 1-2 seconds to respond to instructions. For all learners, it is important to chunk information (break it into smaller pieces) appropriately.
Peter Johnson has written two books on empowering language: Choice Words and Opening Minds. Those books contain these phrases that could be used by teachers:
- We readers like too...,
- I bet you're proud of yourself,
- Thanks for coming today,
- What if...?, and
- That's not like you...
Dianne Gossen's Restitution suggests these phrases:
- What's your job now?,
- What can I do to help you so you can...?, and
- When will you be ready to start?