Eureka and Middle School Math · UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Professional Development with a UDL Lens–Broad View

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I will be presenting at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in January about the curriculum work my colleagues and I have been doing to make Eureka Math a more viable curriculum for our students.  I have been fortunate to be able to work closely with DESE to design a presentation that specifically addresses the needs and interests of the particular audience (STEM teachers, curriculum leaders, etc.).  One particular area that I have been asked to discuss is how I approach professional development that addresses using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to strengthen curriculum.  As I thought about how to answer that question, I came up with the following thoughts:

Start by Identifying Areas of Need

recursion-icon-2865934_1280Ask data teams/teachers to identify areas of weakness and trace the weaknesses back to curricular roots–what in the curriculum is setting up a practice that is not meeting student needs?  What in your school practice (schedule, etc.) is setting up a practice that is not meeting student needs? How can the team/teachers implement a practice of options and student self-reflection to assist students in better meeting the curriculum demands?  How can teachers engage in small(er) feedback cycles and/or engage with students more frequently in order to have more real-time/fresh data?  

Teachers might do the following during PD:

  • Choose a Module or content area that has always been “sticky” or difficult or that the data (MCAS, iReady, etc.) indicates is challenging
  • Re-read the Framework(s) that drive or shape this particular area
  • Unpack the Framework(s) and reflect on the actual correlation between the Framework(s) and the curriculum

Work to Address the Need with Augmented Resources

stairs-1131800_1920.jpgHave teachers identify gaps in the curriculum as written and identify/create resources to fill those gaps.  This might mean “surgery,” such replacing sections of Eureka with Illustrative, for example, because Eureka doesn’t use median and IQR which is suggested by the Standard.  It might mean augmenting–adding resources that are missing that might support just a few more students.  I always keep in mind that what is necessary for some can be helpful for all!  

Teachers might do the following during PD:

  • Seek additional and/or replacement resources
  • Ensure that the resources are high-quality, but don’t limit yourself to one or two given curricula–using a structure like the “By the End of” and using UDL allows you to make a wide range of resources available to students
  • Use the UDL Progression Rubric and/or UDL Guidelines to ground your work in UDL–remember to build in opportunities for student self-reflection, student choice, student micro-failure, and student self-assessment, as well as frequent teacher assessment
  • Share work for feedback!

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