Saturday, May 17, 2014

7 Chapters To a Better Understanding of U.D.L

     One of our school goals this year is to purposefully implement the Universal Design for Learning approach to our formal planning. Sometimes referred to as "Backwards by Design", "Understanding by Design", or "Planning With The End in Mind", the Universal Design for Learning is a three-block model designed by Dr. Jennifer Katz at the University of Manitoba.

mRLC backwards by design planning, barb galessiere, greg schettler, understanding by design, backwards planning, planning with the end in mind

Design. (2011). Uploaded to Tach @ Riverdale by Meg Krause. 
Available online at: 

     Being fresh out of my B.Ed, the Backwards-by-Design method is what we were exclusively taught in our Assessment & Evaluation classes and is something that I feel relatively comfortable with in regards to vocabulary, set-up, purpose, and implementation. This isn't the case for everyone on our staff, however, who range from 1-30+ years experience. Throughout the year, our principal has been allowing us leave-time to collaborate with other staff members to develop a formal unit plan that fits the Backwards-by-Design or Understanding-by-Design models. In addition, we also had a formal PD day with representatives from the mRLC in February to help us develop these plans with guided support.

     Approximately a month ago, each staff member was provided with a copy of Dr. Jennifer Katz's book, Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. At around 200 pages, this book:
- introduces the Universal Design for Learning model
- thoroughly covers three-blocks that create this model
     - Social & Emotional Learning
     - Inclusive Instructional Practices
     - Systems & Structures
- addresses Aboriginal education
- includes surveys to use with students
Teaching to Diversity Cover. (Accessed 2014). Uploaded to Amazon; Portage& Main Press.
Available online at:
     After a few multiple false-starts with this book I've decided to formally review each chapter in a similar format to what I completed while at university. I can't help it, when it comes to professional reading I am one of those people that does not comprehend and internalize what I am reading unless I am writing about it!

     So, over the next six weeks (hopefully) I will be posting regularly as I make my way through this book. If you'd like to follow along with this journey I will be labelling these posts with a U.D.L tag that you can access by selecting it from the Labels heading on the right-hand side of the page.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Miss L. It is so good to hear of your interest in Universal Design for Learning. I encourage you to visit CAST ( and the National UDL Center ( to learn about the origins, principles and practices related to UDL. I would also like to encourage you to connect and engage with others around UDL by participating in discussion at If I can be of help to you as you explore, please do not hesitate to contact me at Joy