Universal Design Daily

365 Ways to Teach, Support & Challenge All Learners

Universal Design Daily by Paula Kluth

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The UDL guidelines are complex, but implementing universal design for learning should not be.

Understand & start using powerful UDL strategies today! Get 365 ideas in this easy-to-use guide. In these pages, you will find classroom games, collaborative activities, engagement strategies, teaching and tech tips, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about universal design but finding the UDL guidelines or the entire concept of learning a new model overwhelming, this book is for you! If you are unsure of how to “highlight patterns and critical features” in daily practice or “maximize generalization” in lessons, this resource will help. Universal Design Daily translates the UDL principles, guidelines and checkpoints for you and provides ideas that are appropriate for both elementary and secondary classrooms.

This teacher-friendly guide was created to help educators learn more about universal design by exploring the practices associated with it. The book features:

  • dozens of ideas for providing multiple methods of engagement (e.g., creating personalized learning plans, using movement/brain breaks, engaging in community building, making “moments”)
  • innovative ways to encourage multiple methods of action and expression (e.g., providing assessment choices, encouraging doodling, introducing assistive technology)
  • unique suggestions for using multiple methods of representation (e.g., teaching with powerful visuals, introducing films and podcasts, creating costumes)
  • suggestions to help teachers and teams “set up” for universally-designed curriculum, instruction, and learning environments

This second edition differs from the first in that all of the teaching ideas are organized around CAST’s Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. There are ideas for every single guideline and checkpoint. This edition is also unique in that it includes new material including several suggestions for virtual classrooms and e-learning.

This book is designed to support any educator who may not have the time to spend hours on the web, attend a series of workshops, or read a multi-chapter book cover-to-cover in order to plan effective and appropriately challenging lessons for the students in his or her diverse classroom. With 365 ideas to explore, you can focus on just one idea per day, flip through the pages at your own pace, or read the entire book in one sitting. You can use the book as a tool for weekly inspiration or you can keep it on your desktop as a lesson-planning reference tool.

No matter how you read it or use it, Universal Design Daily is sure to provide you with important universal design know-how and a wide range of creative and inspiring ideas for your diverse K-12 school or classroom.

Begin your journey to become a UDL expert today!

peek inside

Day 11: Include

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UDL is about supporting all students as we create lessons, teach, and assess learning. Schools committed to “all,” therefore, will link conversations about UDL with conversations about inclusive education.

Although strides have been made in the last few decades, many students with disabilities remain on the margins in U.S. schools. Too often, the “curricular adaption” offered to learners is…

Day 19: Focus on fair

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In a UDL classroom, some learners may get materials or experiences that others do not. Some students will point out these perceived inequities and declare them unfair. For this reason, it is important to start the year by emphasizing that equal does not mean fair and that no learner in the classroom will get …

Day 27: Prep & Plan

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Some tools and materials needed by students with unique learning profiles are readily available in the classroom. Others can be slapped together on the fly. Still others, however, need to be designed and …

Day 30: Be a professional

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If you are a teacher who learns best in and with a group, you may want to seek out a Professional Learning Community (PLC) to support your work in your UDL classroom. A PLC provides a structure for collaboration with colleagues, along with professional growth and development. These groups are formed for the specific purpose of improving classroom …

Day 37: Create a book club

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Does your UDL model need improvement? Start a school-wide book club. Read books about diversity, inclusion, or differentiated instruction. Look for titles on teaching supports and techniques related to UDL (e.g., co-teaching, collaboration, community building, learning menus, classroom technology, Professional Learning Communities).

The following are a few texts that make good book club…

Day 38: Create an article club

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Don’t have time to devote to a book club? Start an article or blog club. Have teachers find provocative journal articles and internet newsletters and discuss them during a designated meeting time (e.g., every Friday during the potluck breakfast in the staff lounge).

Want ideas for getting started? Try these free …

Day 39: Create a tech club

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Don’t have time to devote to a book club or even an article club? How about a tech tool club? Choose an app, website, or other tech tool to explore with colleagues. Study it, read about it, experiment with it as a group, and then try it with your students. Reconvene every week or so to provide …

Day 42: Pick Pineapple

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Many educators feel that growing their UDL model means learning more, but sometimes, teaching others in the community (or even those far from your community) can be even more helpful than reading another book or attending another seminar.

One way to teach others is to open your doors and invite visitors to …

Day 54: Share the Spotlight

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There are so many benefits to co-teaching. Students typically experience a wider range of lesson formats in the co-taught classroom, and they get to learn from two different perspectives. In addition, teachers gain on-the-spot professional development as they observe their colleague’s …

Day 56: Observation

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Ask a trusted colleague to observe a lesson and provide feedback on your teaching. Have them focus specifically on one aspect of your instruction, such as an element of UDL. Possible observation targets include …

Day 175: Focus On Feedback

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Feedback is an essential part of learning, so be sure your students are getting as much as possible from your guidance, comments, and support (Wiggins, 2012). Start by connecting …

Day 187: Take A Break

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Engage your learners by integrating brain breaks into daily instruction. A brain break is an energizing activity that lasts less than five minutes, but helps students wake up, focus, and have a little fun. Breaks can be connected to content, but don’t necessarily have to …

Day 201: Use AAC For All

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If some of your students use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), why not ask all students to use it at some point? Give everyone the option to either speak or write a response during a group sharing activity. Incorporate a few American Sign Language words into your lessons. Have all students hold up communication cards instead of …

Day 248: Take a Minute

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Today, try an exercise that will allow students to respond to a prompt in their own way and at their own level. After a lesson or mini-lecture, give them one minute to write an essay. Here are some sample prompts…

Day 262: Doodle Away

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In years past, students caught doodling may have been reprimanded or even punished. At the very least, they were likely told to “stop drawing and pay attention.” Well, that was then and this is now. Today, a growing body of research (Ainsworth, Prain & Tytler, 2011; Andrade, 2010) suggests that doodling can actually help learners …

Day 290: Add Captions

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PowerPoint has added a live captioning feature and it is a powerful accessibility tool for the diverse, inclusive classroom. It transcribes words in real time and displays them on the screen and can do so in several different languages.

There are many uses for live captions…

Day 323: Show This & That

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In years past, students learned primarily by listening to teachers and accessing textbooks. Today, we have so many other resources to complement lessons and to give support to learners who might struggle to follow a discussion or read from a book or website.

When possible, concepts should be illustrated in more than one way (CAST, 2018). You can have students read…

Day 339: Show The Shark & The Sunflower

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A picture can be used to inspire a discussion, build background knowledge, hook students on a new area of content, or encourage the development of questions. A picture of a breaching great white shark, …