Universal Design–Some Tips and Tools for ELLs

1. Provide Options for Comprehension

  • Sticky Stories–This technique got it’s name from helping content stick in kids’ heads! Tell a story about yourself that has to do with a concept in class. The teacher can model how to use a sticky story to remember a vocabulary word, a character from a story, etc. and then students can try and think of an example on their own. Sticky stories can be added to word walls or posted around the room throughout a unit for students to reference later.
  • Pictures and Video–If there is a concept in a book that students may know about, but need to be reminded of, show it to them. I’ve shown brief videos to my students about events stories such as baby chicks hatching, bee keeping, and how to make compost. More often then not, students made connections to something that they had learned in their other lessons and were able to “bring it with them” to my lesson.

  • Graphic Organizers–There are many quick and easy ways to visually organize information for students. This can be done on the SmartBoard, on a worksheet, in groups, on a poster, or any other way imaginable. Venn Diagrams are a great way to help students compare and contrast concepts, KWLs can help students register what information they’ve learned, cause and effect charts can help establish relationships. Graphic organizers can also be used across curriculum and are good for helping students visually transfer their thinking.
  • Act it Out— A great way to get students to remember what happens in a story is to get them up and doing it. It requires a close reading and re-reading of the text to understand what each character is doing and saying. It’s a great way to reach all types of learners while still engaging their language input and output. Creating the mini dramas in groups can help students teach each other the content and evaluate their own understanding. Bring in costumes, take photos and video and post them on the class website for students to watch at home.

UDL Examples and Resources | National Center On Universal Design for Learning. (2012, August 10). National Center On Universal Design for Learning. Retrieved July 18, 2013, from http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/examples

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