When you are starting to think about using the Guidelines for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the biggest bang for your buck in making change is to offer choice. However, as a math teacher, I have struggled to think about adding choice to assessments, which are so standards-driven at the 7th grade level, so I have focused my attention on adding choice to homework, extension work, and instruction.
Choice Assignments for Homework
One way that we bring an element of choice into our work is through choice assignments. Choice Assignments can be used to give students options for homework, especially when it comes to offering extension work. For example, in the Choice HW Percent (Application) assignment shown below, students can use homework time to do some review work and/or practice PARCC-style questions through Google Forms and/or explore extension options. We have also attached these Choice assignments as an extension option for students while they are preparing for assessments–there are students who are fully prepared for the assessment prior the the date we are giving it, so having Choice assignments and extension options allow them to deepen their understanding and remain involved with the material.
Choice Assignments to Review Material
We also use a Choice Assignment approach or format for days when we are reviewing material that is easy for some students and difficult for others, but that is critical to return to in order to ensure all students have opportunities to practice it. This was true with the distributive property, a topic that is important in 7th grade, but that is very difficult for some students. When we decided there was enough need to build in another day dedicated just to the distributive property, we formatted the day to have a lot of choice built into it so that all of our students, even the ones who better understood the topic, would have engaging work.
Thanks, as always, to Irene Witt for allowing me to share our work.
Photo credit: Dai Lygad