UDL Implementation Rubric

UDL Implementation Rubric by Melissa Toland

If you’ve had a chance to review the UDL Progression Rubric, you probably recognize that UDL isn’t a framework that you can implement overnight. It takes years – not weeks or months – to reach expert level and it’s easy to see how anyone, even the most experienced teachers, could get overwhelmed. For those just getting started, evaluating where you are in the UDL implementation process on a checkpoint by checkpoint basis might simply be too much. When Melissa Toland of Ocean View School District reached out suggesting a simplified version for the time-strapped or overwhelmed teacher, I was totally

UDL Flowchart in Spanish – Flujograma DUA

See in English Translation by Juan Gallardo Proporcionar múltiples medios de motivación; proporcionar múltiples medios de representación; proporcionar múltiples medios de acción y expresión. Con solo un vistazo, es fácil interpretar los tres principios del Diseño Universal para el Aprendizaje (DUA) por lo que son: ofrecer opciones a los estudiantes. Parece fácil. Sin embargo, si todo lo que hacemos es ofrecer opciones apenas estamos rozando la superficie de lo que es la implementación del DUA a escala completa. Cuando el DUA se implementa en todo su potencial, nuestros esfuerzos se traducen en aprendices expertos: estudiantes que tienen un propósito y

Announcing Online Courses

We are so thrilled to announce our first online course, Universally Designing the PreK – Grade 2 Classroom, is open for enrollment. Here at Novak Educational Consulting, we have always believed that educators deserve the same amazing educational experiences as their students. But as a practicing administrator, I also understand and recognize that it’s sometimes hard to provide the level of professional development and support teachers really need to nurture them through the process of implementing new programs, tools, and frameworks in their classrooms. We wanted to do something to supplement the professional development and implementation support teachers have access

UDL Flowchart – Moving Beyond Choice

Provide multiple means of engagement. Provide multiple means of representation. Provide multiple means of action and expression. At a glance, it is easy to interpret the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for what they are: offering options to students. It seems like a simple feat. But offering choice is just skimming the surface of full-scaled UDL implementation. When UDL is done well, its efforts result in expert learners: students who are purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgable, strategic and goal directed. When you examine this – the end goal of UDL – it’s clear that you will

UDL and writing limits: should they co-exist?

The question may seem like a simple one on the surface: How does asking students to write using word counts or paragraph numbers as success criteria support expert learning through the UDL framework? When my colleague, Joni Degner, recently forwarded an email posing this question, it gave me pause. Why do we so regularly impose writing limits on students? 1000 words. 5 paragraphs. 3000 characters. She wanted fellow UDL experts to weigh in, and we did. For starters, none of us found any research that supported the idea of using word counts or other writing limitations when assigning lessons. But

How to Help Children Succeed in School and Life with UDL

UDL Allows Students to Choose Their Own Path

Have you ever hopped in your car, turned on the GPS, mindlessly followed the instructions and arrived at your destination without remembering the drive? There are multiple ways of getting from point A to point B, but so often we allow a machine to tell us which turns to take and which path to follow. We decide it knows best and we should trust it. But in the midst of this trust, we miss the shady hollows, glistening sunsets, and chaotic overgrowth of the backroads. There is beauty in it, and it remains unexplored. If you have witnessed a child

The Magic of Getting in Trouble for Something I Didn’t Do

There was only one teacher in my entire life who yelled at me. Don’t get me wrong, I was no perfect child and you’re welcome to contact my parents to verify that. In school, however, it was a different story. I was a good kid. I behaved myself and was respectful and although I was not a stellar student in the GPA department, I completed my work and participated in class. “Pleasure to have in class,” popped up on my report cards like confetti. That was until I had physical science class in high school. In all fairness, my friends

Inclusion vs. Inclusive Practice in Teaching

“Inclusion” and “Inclusive Practice” are often used interchangeably in the education world, but there is more to inclusive practice than togetherness. Inclusion takes an important step in the right direction by making sure all students, regardless of variability, are present in the same classroom. But in order for inclusion to be effective, you must also implement inclusive practice. Inclusive practice is bigger than getting all students in the same classroom; inclusive practice gives all students the opportunity to learn, be supported, and be challenged, regardless of variability. Implementing inclusive practice requires effective leadership and support, opportunities for professional development, and

A Universally Designed Ride on the Polar Express?

A Universally Designed Ride on the Polar Express?

I experienced something with my six-year-old son last weekend. The incident made me realize that it’s possible… just maybe…that I am nailing this parenting thing. Last weekend, we headed up to North Conway, New Hampshire with my parents, my sister and her family, my husband, and our four kids. In typical Novak fashion, we all purchased matching pajamas, rented a beautiful home called the Tin Mine Lodge lodge and spent hours eating popcorn, M&Ms, and having an epic Christmas movie marathon. On Saturday night, we had tickets to go the Polar Express. On the train car, Christmas music blared through

I’m Thankful for Teachers

I'm Thankful for Teachers

As I sit down at my computer on this Thanksgiving morning, I can’t help but think of how thankful I am for all the teachers in my life. As the daughter of two teachers, my life, from my first breath, was impacted by educators. Now, as I look back, I realize that many of the people who truly mattered to me stood at the front of classrooms. These thoughts are in light of a recent Forbes article which celebrated the “Top 30 Under 30” in education. Not a single classroom teacher made the cut. It would be ridiculous if it