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  • Amy Elston
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    Post count: 114

    Learning about UDL has completely changed the way in which I approach my instruction. There were many little things I was doing that hinted toward UDL, but now I find myself consciously integrating several strategies into instruction. The first changes I made were small and easy. I turned on the audio for all Readworks stories I assigned. I allowed students to choose their group size when we were working in groups. I allowed students to choose whether they wanted to read aloud with others or read independently. I also consistently gave options for students to share their understanding: written, spoken, recorded, or, when appropriate, illustrated.
    I also made bigger changes to the way information was presented by including more Edpuzzles, videos, and audio, and I integrated into blackboard lessons multiple avenues for sharing knowledge: Jamboard, Flipgrid, Google Slides, traditional. I think the biggest mind shift for me was to deliberately look for ways to link the information being taught to my students’ lives. All of this has led to a deeper connection to material, increased student engagement, and a larger sense of community within the class. An added bonus has been an improved retention. (By midterm I usually see enrollment drop by 40% from the original roster. I am at midterm now and I have only lost one student.) I think UDL has many benefits, but for me the greatest benefit is seeing how students are more engaged. The overall spirit of my classes is so much more positive and exciting. Looking through the UDL lens and making a few changes has made a big impact.

    Joy Pak
    Guest
    Post count: 114

    It appears you found the key to retention in class! That’s a Win Win in my book. I liked hearing about the equitable practices that you gradually incorporated in class. No one likes new things thrown at them, it’s sort of like a cold shower. What is even more rewarding is that you have created a community within your classroom. I would want to go to class and feel supported and encouraged too!

    Hilary Johnson
    Guest
    Post count: 114

    I really enjoyed reading about your experiences in this course. I think it is so important to find different ways to connect with each student and engage them. It is awesome that your student drop rate has decreased due to this professional development. I truly believe that when students are engaged and enjoying what they are learning then they will be more willing to stick with it and stay in class. I know from personal experience that when I am learning and the information being taught peeks my attention then I work harder. I am able to retain the knowledge learned and am not just going through the motions. Awesome evaluation!

    Bonnie Juarez
    Guest
    Post count: 114

    Hi Amy.
    Wow…your reflections were so enlightening. I think we all knew going into this training that it was going to be good but now astonished as to how beneficial it was. I’ve been teaching for a long time and a lot of this is just good teaching. In reality, I have forgotten about some of these areas. Maybe we get too busy or things have worked and why changed them. I think your reflections are right on!!!!

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