UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

A new year….

fireworks-574739_1920For much of the world, “new year” is a phrase associated with January 1st and fireworks or perhaps with a religious holiday not on our Western calendar.  Being teachers, of course, we always have to do things just a bit differently.  And so I find myself thinking about starting a new year, thinking about reflection, thinking about setting intentions, all in the warmth of a blessedly non-rainy Saturday afternoon in August.  (I’m also in full denial that we are going back to school in less than 48 hours, but I’m working on holding both ideas in my mind simultaneously!)

I have never had a job other than being a teacher, ever.  I transitioned from 12 years of education directly into teaching, despite my protests that I would never, ever be a teacher.  Yet, here I am, and I find that I love the fact that I get a do-over, a redo, a revision, every 180 school days, every time the calendar ticks around again.  Fall is Rational Numbers and Ratios…..Algebra frames the winter months….Geometry takes us into the long stretch between February and April vacations….Statistics carries us pell-mell into state testing and saying goodbye to another year.  And we start thinking about how we will do things differently next year.


So, what’s on my to-do list for this new year?

  • More work using the “By the end of class” documents to organize and plan instruction in a way that empowers my students to own their own engagement
  • An attempt to bring more choice into our very traditional math assessments without going crazy with grading
  • A renewed commitment to doing my best for every student, every day
  • Chipping away at reading the pile of professional books I bought–for the first time ever–that have been decorating my desk since May
  • Continuing to support my colleagues in experiencing the joy and challenge of Universal Design for Learning


My personal to-do list includes making a deliberate effort to nurture the professional and personal relationships that developed from this summer of teaching graduate courses, teaching summer school to adults and elementary school students, and making the choice to share this blog with a wider audience of colleagues.  I hope to continue finding time to exercise and to get outside more often, to move my body through space and breathe the air, to watch the leaves change and fall.  I depend on my colleague Irene to chase us all out of work at 6:29 on Friday afternoons, piles of copies balanced precariously on our desks for Monday morning filing.  And I hope to remember to always seek a more balanced schedule than the one I usually default to once kids and work are more than names in SchoolBrains and Google Drive.

What are your intentions for this new year?

One thought on “A new year….

  1. Thea, I like your idea that as teachers we get to redo everything we do every 180 days a year! This is the reason I tool the UDL class. I want to improve my practice with fourth graders and keep learning about better ways to organize my lessons so that the students are excited about learning and are more engaged!
    Thank you!


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