Universal Design for Learning is truly the best way to teach and learn. There are many passionate educators who want to spread the UDL message to their colleagues, but they don’t know how. Below is a fun way to begin the conversation. This simple activity* is great for a staff meeting! If you try it, I’d love to hear how it went.
UDL Activator: The most important principle of UDL is the idea of learner variability, or everyone is different. To provide an analogy, you’re going to complete an activity to prove how different you all are.
Here’s the question to ask your colleagues: What is your favorite shoe and why?
Then ask them to choose one of the following activities to answer the question:
- Write a short paragraph about your favorite shoe.
- Write an ode to your favorite shoe.
- With colored pencils, pens, or pencils, draw a picture of your favorite shoe.
- Create a list of your favorite shoe stores, styles, and/or shoe brands for someone who is looking to buy you a present. Don’t forget to include your size!
- Go online and print off a picture of a shoe you’d love to have (those are my dream Jimmy Choos on the right. Do you think they would ever sponsor a teacher??)
When finished, ask colleagues to share their favorite shoe with the group and note the differences as everyone is collaborating. Ask them to imagine they were all forced to wear the same shoe… how would they feel? As an exemplar, I wrote a previous post about the similarity between UDL and shoes. Read here.
Once you get your colleagues thinking about variability, you can begin to introduce the concept of Universal Design for Learning, or designing lessons that fit everyone.