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

Building Student Collaboration…in Ten Minutes a Day

As a 6th grade Special Education teacher in my first year at a virtual school, I design and implement up to three Do Now’s a week in math, schedule permitting. I am focusing on using the time to engage the students in collaborative practices, the focus of UDL Guideline 8.3 (“Foster collaboration and community”). I believe this Guideline is particularly critical during these days of COVID-induced isolation, although it should be foundational to instructional practice in a virtual school at all times.

As I have experimented with developing and implementing the Do Now’s, generally built on having the students randomly sorted into Break-Out rooms for the ~10 minutes allotted to the exercise, I have developed some standard practices that I cycle through with different content.

Model One: Combining IXL and Desmos on a single topic

After fighting the Desmos train for years, I have jumped aboard in virtual education/under COVID. I return to the UDL Guidelines and think about how to provision the students (3.3 “Guide information processing, visualization, and manipulation”) with links to definitions, online calculators, etc. to support their application of the material.

Model Two: Four Operations

For each problem, I include a sample of model work (3.1 “Activate or supply background knowledge”); for each collection of options, I include a “write your own option” for students who want something more or different than just doing computation (8.2 “Vary demands and resources to optimize challenge”).

Model Three: Using Student-Created Work

Students had created their own story problems, which I had collected onto a new PearDeck. On the third day, students got to choose from all the problems they and their classmates had created. As with other Do Now’s, I included resource materials to support students as they worked on solving the problems.

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