Here is part of an article Alayne Dolson, Executive Director of VSA Montana, wrote for our next issue of State of the Arts:
Universal Design for Learning What is it? How will it help students and teachers in the classroom?
In April, VSA Montana had the opportunity to take a team of artist/arts educators to Boston to participate in a Universal Design in Learning (UDL) conference, joining international teams of educators, teaching artists, and administrators in a three day learning experience. I was joined by Bobby Tilton – UM Art Education professor, Marlene Schumann – Bozeman art educator, and Cheryl Bannes – Montana teaching artist, to participate in workshops, to visit Boston area schools that use arts- integrated learning and teaching strategies in inclusive classrooms, and to design a work plan that will be implemented in Montana in the fall.
In October members of the Montana team will present an introductory workshop on UDL design for teachers and paraprofessionals at the MEA-MFT conference. Included in the workshop will be hands-on arts activities that model the UDL teaching/learning strategies, along with the UDL checklist to guide lesson development, and an opportunity to engage in discussion of ways to include children with disabilities in meaningful learning activities.
VSA Montana endeavors to achieve the same success in education for all learners, making “special education” an oxymoron. Professional development in UDL can advance our mission.
Here is a link to the UDL Guidelines WordPress blog. http://udlguidelines.wordpress.com/.
You can download a copy of the guidelines there. I suggest starting with the one-page graphic organizer. It is what got me hooked in the first place. It provides a valuable checklist for teaching artists and arts teachers when you are developing a lesson plan.