Conversations Episode 76 - UDL in the Classroom

Post-Show description: 

 For our last show of the season, we discussed Universal Design for Learning and how it works in a classroom.  Ira Socol joined us for this important conversation.  We will be back in September with some great new topics.  See you then!



11:15:55 woodenmask : Morning Lisa

11:16:26 woodenmask : What's the conversation this morning?

11:17:09 Lisa Parisi : UDL in the Classroom

11:18:44 woodenmask : UDL?

11:19:33 woodenmask : Umbrella Dependant Learning?

11:19:50 woodenmask : Ultra Depressing Llamas?

11:20:59 Lisa Parisi : Universal Design for Learning

11:21:17 woodenmask : Ah..

11:21:44 sheila : Hi John!

11:22:25 woodenmask : Hi Sheila. How are you?

11:22:41 woodenmask : Will you be going to Denver?

11:22:57 Lisa Parisi : Not me

11:23:01 Lisa Parisi : No funding this year

11:23:20 sheila : Yes, I'm going to Denver.

11:23:44 woodenmask : I think it will be fun this year.

11:24:55 woodenmask : I might have to go upstairs to listen to the conversation today. I'm watching Padma Lakshmi cooking and, perhaps not surprisingly, I find her more than a bit distracting.

11:25:49 horvathj : Is this the place that I can view the scheduled show "Conversations" today at 11:30am?

11:25:57 sheila : Yes.

11:26:11 sheila : We will start shortly.

11:26:20 sheila : ON ustream today.

11:26:27 Lisa Parisi : Yes horvath.  Thank you for joining.

11:26:32 horvathj : Thanks.  I'm looking forward to it.

11:30:08 sheila : Welcome all!

11:30:41 Rebecca F. : Hello!

11:30:49 Lisa Parisi : Hello Rebecca.  Welcome

11:31:16 Lisa Parisi : Hello all

11:31:30 tarman : Hello

11:31:31 Lisa Parisi : Sound on Ustream today

11:31:58 Lisa Parisi : Refresh ustream window to get audio

11:33:16 jepcke : Wow 76, congrats!

11:34:24 Lisa Parisi : Hello McTeach

11:34:39 McTeach : Good morning, Lisa!!

11:35:40 Ira Socol : Good morning all

11:36:05 psicerwensley : Good Mo-orning Mr Socol...

11:36:33 psicerwensley : That should be spicerwensley BTW - darn typos

11:36:52 hshawjr : Good morning everyone

11:37:20 psicerwensley : Good moring all from sunny Western Australia

11:37:21 sheila : Welcome!

11:38:54 Lisa Parisi : Welcome from Australia.  Thanks for staying up for us.

11:40:20 psicerwensley : Who is where? (City, Country if that's not rude - just curious.)

11:40:34 Lisa Parisi : I am on Long Island, in New York, in the US

11:40:41 Lisa Parisi : Welcome back, John.

11:40:46 psicerwensley : Welcome Woodenmask

11:40:50 Rebecca F. : 5th Grade teacher; Northampton PA USA

11:41:01 Lisa Parisi : I too am 5th grade, Rebecca.

11:41:13 sheila : I'm on the seacost in New Hampshire, US - 7th science

11:41:18 stampergr : Like Ira, I am in West Michigan.

11:41:23 psicerwensley : I teach secondary computing, Perth Australia

11:41:25 horvathj : 4th Grade teacher: Northampton, PA - USA

11:41:35 McTeach : Northern California here...7th grade teacher.

11:41:41 tarman : 4th grade3 teacher central Illinois

11:41:51 McTeach : Good morning, Angela!

11:42:03 jepcke : For info on UDL:

11:42:08 woodenmask : 8th (and now 7th) grade Social Studies Teacher in Southern New Hampshire

11:42:11 psicerwensley : Wow! Lot's of primary teachers - but then MOST teachers ARE...

11:42:20 colleenk : Hi all,

11:42:26 kyteacher (Angela) : Good morning!

11:42:31 Ira Socol :

11:42:35 sheila : HI Colleen

11:42:43 Ira Socol :

11:43:34 Lisa Parisi : Hi Colleen

11:44:00 MariaK : Hello Colleen - glad to see you today!

11:44:33 colleenk : Hi Lisa, Maria, Sheila. Glad to be here.

11:45:00 psicerwensley : Thanks for the URLs guys!

11:46:10 horvathj : I agree with that statement as far as allowing students to move about freely.

11:46:40 sr : why not have them sit on fitness balls ..have a few in your classroom

11:46:50 sr : urls???

11:47:17 sr : Hi everyone

11:47:22 horvathj : I like that idea - stability balls would be fun!

11:47:22 Lisa Parisi : Hello

11:47:32 stampergr : Who made the decision that kids have to stay in the seat for 60 consecutiive minutes? ;)

11:47:59 woodenmask : If we gave 8th graders unrestricted freedom to move around at will, I think they'd move down to Mr. Mikes.

11:48:30 Lisa Parisi : They have to stay in the room.  They are responsible for learning the curriculum.

11:48:39 sr : I also need to be near a door as well

11:49:27 Ira Socol : And I tend to not want to look at the speaker, that distracts me, so right here we have opposites

11:49:38 kyteacher (Angela) : I'm a front of the room gal myself.  Definitely a visual learner.

11:49:52 tarman : Very true it is hard to follow when only using audio

11:49:55 sr : they say we should allow kids to doodle ..helps

11:49:58 McTeach : It's very hard for me to learn in any classroom

11:50:01 sr : while we teach

11:50:11 sr : doodle or fiddle

11:50:14 Ira Socol : I'm "too visual" a learner... if I'm watching, I'm seeing too many things

11:50:34 McTeach : Ira...that's part of my problem also

11:50:37 hshawjr : I do not learn well in the classroom, I am too distractible that is why Distance Learning works so well for me...

11:50:41 psicerwensley : I always liked to chat with mates...

11:50:56 psicerwensley : I am easily distracted

11:51:11 jepcke : have been making a conscious decision not to multi-task and be fully present whatever I'm doing

11:51:22 jepcke : it's not easy (for me)

11:51:33 McTeach : Sitting in a room with too much noise can be physically painful for me; keeps me from learning anything

11:51:33 hshawjr : multi-tasking is the norm in the classroom and many of us and our students do not do well multi-tasking

11:51:39 horvathj : I can't imagine how my 4th grade students would handle an environment like this...trying to listen to the conversation, processing the chat room, seeing visuals.  There's a lot of stimulation, but I guess they are use to it...unlike me!

11:51:49 psicerwensley : It helps when the subject (specific to that lesson) is compelling

11:52:00 horvathj : True.

11:52:29 woodenmask : Maria and I can be a bad combination in meetings.

11:52:34 psicerwensley : But it cant always be so - having taught maths and science some bits ARE boring - they're built that way

11:52:47 jepcke : @hshawj just read a blog post about how multi-tasking is not productive, even though we think it is. Not earth-shattering, but had an impact on me to try and not multi-task; particularly at work

11:52:50 hshawjr : Think of how much stimulation teachers provide to each student we move around, talk, show images, use the LCD, talk to students, etc.

11:52:51 McTeach : What if MY needs don't mesh well with my students' needs???

11:53:11 stampergr : I don't think I was even aware there was such a thing as metacognition until I got into my graduate program.....I had always tried to conform to directives by 'experts': keep your desk clear, sit up straight., etc.

11:53:21 MariaK : so true Jonh - we can even send off non verbal comments that feed off each other!

11:53:33 psicerwensley : I like to stimulate with a cool video or demonstration of the skills / knowledge I am trying to convey

11:53:38 hshawjr : @jepcke I think I have seen different arts on that subject and tend to agree we do not multi-task well.

11:53:40 tarman : I think you are correct. Today's students can take in all of these different stimuli better than we can. I watch my own kids listen to music, do their homework, text and whatever else is going on. And they are successful

11:54:21 hshawjr : @tarman is that function of their age vs our age???? Some studies  seem to suggest that

11:54:52 Rebecca F. : Muliti-tasking is a challenge for me; take cleaning for example, I just by cleaning one area. I find something belonging in another area. Soon I find myself at the oposite end of the house tearing something else apart.

11:54:59 psicerwensley : But they don't really multitask - they cooperatively single-task to use a computing term - sort of mind time-share condo-like (poor simile)

11:55:07 tarman : Perhaps age or digital immigrants vs digital natives

11:55:13 hshawjr : The control freak teacher always made me want to leave the classroom and I hated to be in there

11:55:13 horvathj : I feel students today are like learning a second language (technology) whereas as an adult I find it quite difficult and not as fluid since I need to process from one language (non-digital) to another (digital).

11:56:31 psicerwensley : Hey yoo! Yes, yoo behind the bike shed! Stand still laddie... (Pink Floyd - I did middle school in Scotland so it still rings true for me - fear and loathing)

11:56:48 horvathj : But don't many teachers seem to have "control" issues.  Isn't that a lot of the problem...being able to allow students to guide themselves through their learning while the teacher takes on the role of facilitator?

11:56:50 Rebecca F. : So, not the control freak; I like that term Instructional Tolerance. I do not enjoy being observed by administrators who are control freaks!

11:56:50 kyteacher (Angela) : I am slowly learning what parts of my classroom I need control over for my own sanity & what parts I can turn over to my students.  It's a learning process...& I'm finding that with the right structure, I am comfortable turning more & more over to my students.

11:57:14 psicerwensley : That was a poorly written Scots accent for those wondering

11:57:19 Lisa Parisi : I find myself sometimes saying, "You need to do this because I cannot function when you don't."

11:57:30 Lisa Parisi : So it has nothing to do with them but it's all about me.

11:57:45 Lisa Parisi : Like when it gets too loud

11:57:47 hshawjr : Instructional Tolerance is a good much can we and students subject ourselves to in the classroom.

11:57:50 jepcke : @kyteacher Sounds like a nice balance of control and not control. "Gradual relaease" model. :)

11:57:53 psicerwensley : CMS has some cool tools for teachers managing classrooms - to understand what they are doing and why

11:58:43 psicerwensley : Planned ignore for minor misdemeanors, proximity, etc all useful tools in the kitbag

11:59:14 kyteacher (Angela) : I have said something very similar...and there are days when I need more control.  I find that my HS students are generally responsive to my "please work with me" days...based on the relationship we have built in the classroom.

12:00:22 psicerwensley : I need control to be effective all teachers do but building relationships and trust is key

12:00:23 hshawjr : @kyteacher that is the big thing the relationships built between students (each other) and the teachers

12:00:36 Lisa Parisi : Yes, Angela, you're right.

12:01:13 psicerwensley : Indeed - some would say the ONLY thing especially if you are a social constructivist (if you have to have an -ism) like me

12:02:33 kyteacher (Angela) : b/c I'm moving from 9th to 11th grade next year, I will have many students for the 2nd time.  Interested to see how that will impact my classroom.

12:02:39 hshawjr : Learning to learn is important, but that is not what standardized testing is looking for, what you are talking about is not measureable in our measureable environment today?

12:02:45 Lisa Parisi : I looped with my classes twice.

12:02:52 Lisa Parisi : Big difference.

12:02:58 jepcke : It's those intangibles that are not measured by a test

12:03:11 Rebecca F. : SO TRUE!

12:03:29 horvathj : So at what point do students make the academic gains necessary to graduate when each year they are behind?  Why is it that though we as educators can see the progress made each year, though not at the expected level, but the government powers-that-be cannot understand that type of progress?

12:03:31 Ira Socol : on evaluating "that"

12:03:32 hshawjr : I hate it but it is what it is...In SPED we are not subject to some of the bubble requirements, but....we are still expected to show improvement

12:03:40 psicerwensley : Most of my classes are young adults (15 - 17 year olds) doing vocational units in business and computing - very narrow focus compared to primary teachers

12:04:11 Ira Socol : I can't make eye contact. And usually don't

12:04:58 psicerwensley : I often see kids in years 8,9,11 & 12 - not so much in year 10 for some reason - we are an options subject

12:04:59 hshawjr : I was taught in the military that if you do not, that you are considered untrustworthy and it will affect how others view you

12:05:41 Ira Socol : Why I wore mirrored sunglasses as a cop. Why many do. Hiding the fact that we won't look you in the eye

12:05:57 psicerwensley : Can be a cultural no-no wth our indigienous kids - seen as "shame" - we have about 25% of our kids from Australian aboriginal background

12:06:24 jepcke : @ira Is THAT why cops wear mirrored sunglasses! Never knew.

12:06:46 Ira Socol : yup. It covers up our eye gaze deficits

12:06:51 psicerwensley : Can be very confronting to "eyeball" indigenous youth - seen as a confrontation - can easily escalate

12:07:09 hshawjr : In America we do not have a great deal of cultural sensitivity to other cultures,we require them to conform to our culture or consider them a "different" and look down at them.

12:07:35 psicerwensley : I think EVERYBODY does that - everywhere - other is seen as inferior

12:08:11 hshawjr : @spicerwensley unfortunately true

12:08:53 psicerwensley : It needn't be a problem if we acknowledge this common human frailty (sp.?)

12:10:00 psicerwensley : I think that cultural difference is great - I visited the USA last December and loved the diversity of cultures I saw. Made for great eating - thanks to Yelp!

12:10:01 hshawjr : Ira great point

12:11:30 psicerwensley : How do US schools cope with diversity in the classroom?

12:12:18 Ira Socol : usually badly. Current "fashion" in charter schools beloved by Obama Admin, is to "train kids to be white" (my term)

12:12:23 horvathj : At times it seems to be a taboo subject.  I think the more exposure students have to developing an appreciation to other cultures the better.

12:12:42 Ira Socol : So you see this heavy behavioural training in KIPP schools, etc

12:13:19 Ira Socol : luckily, web involvement is really helping among this generation

12:13:39 psicerwensley : Here we try and be incluse but it is hard to reflect the backgrounds of students - usually they don't want the attention but I think it important to expose them to other points of view

12:13:48 colleenk : This is may be a little off-topic but can Ira briefly discuss ways that web sites (specifically math sites) can support UDL practices?

12:14:03 horvathj : Absolutely.  I think kids today are more tolerant and accepting of diverse cultures than adults.

12:14:10 Ira Socol : colleenk, I'll do that in a moment

12:14:18 colleenk : Thanks, Ira!

12:14:54 hshawjr : I think that as we are exposed to more and more cultures via the web, our consciousness about other cultures increases.

12:16:04 psicerwensley : That's probably true - I grew up in a very "white bread" neighborhood but now (thankfully) live in a more interesting part of town.

12:16:33 hshawjr : When teachers are allowed to do their job, which a part of is to evaluate the student's progress and be trusted to do it correctly then we will be considered professionals.

12:16:40 jepcke : HOw Diversity in the US classroom is handled depends on the classroom. Not all US classrooms are diverse.

12:17:00 McTeach : Is anyone else having audio issues? Everyone keeps cutting in and out

12:17:01 Rebecca F. : You're doing it to get ready for state testing? lol

12:18:06 kyteacher (Angela) : @jepcke Very true.  My classroom is not very diverse in the obvious ways.

12:19:09 kyteacher (Angela) : In many ways, that makes teaching tolerance (for lack of a better word) even more important.

12:19:12 spicerwensley : Back - trying to get the audio feed working - talk louder (just kidding...)

12:19:55 hshawjr : @spicerwensley you just wanted your name spelled correctly :)

12:20:11 spicerwensley : Tolerance and Kindness are such important civil values that aren't explicitly taught in many classrooms (mine included)

12:20:24 colleenk : @Ira So would more open-ended activities be helpful?

12:20:38 spicerwensley : True (I did miss the hyphen out but I usually do online)

12:20:50 jepcke : Is the goal "tolerance" or "acceptance" or "acknowledgement"?

12:21:33 horvathj : I think the goal is multi-layered and should start with knowledge of various cultures and then build to acceptance.

12:22:03 jepcke : I just have an issue with "tolerance" in my opinion, a more negative connotation

12:22:12 kyteacher (Angela) : I try very hard to teach all of those explicitly in my classroom.

12:22:17 horvathj : Plus, acceptance will always be dependant upon student's family views and beliefs.

12:22:30 kyteacher (Angela) : Civilty is a big word in my room.

12:22:36 hshawjr : Seeing the board or images in the front of the classroom for students who need glasses who don't wear or don't have them is a huge problem in the pre-computer math class.

12:22:50 spicerwensley : I think the goal should be understanding but tolerance does have some baggage - though I would like to think of myself as "tolerant".

12:22:58 Ira Socol : Open ended works, Colleen, the goal can't be fixed. Some kids will be there with no effort, others might not get there for years

12:23:19 javer : k

12:23:28 Ira Socol : I don't want to be "tolerated," I want us all to be accepted for who we are

12:24:06 Rebecca F. : Dad-divide, Mom-multiply, sister-subtract, Brother-bring down

12:24:16 horvathj : I agree Ira, but isn't that a utopian view in nature?  Hasn't there been thousands of years of intolerance throughout our world? 

12:24:22 Lisa Parisi : Relatives - repeat  dog-decimal

12:24:23 jepcke : @ira exactly...I tolerate mosquitoes when I want to be outside in the summer...

12:24:31 spicerwensley : I think High School IS different - more focus / less support / less friendly (can be)

12:24:53 Lisa Parisi : @horvath Shouldn't we always be working toward a utopian view?

12:25:17 colleenk : Thanks everyone. Have to leave a little early. Enjoy your Sunday.

12:25:37 horvathj : We should.  I can only hope I will be around when it is one day reached.

12:25:43 spicerwensley : We need a better word to reflect the positive of "I am tolerant of others" but not the negative of "I am tolerating your behaviour"

12:25:46 hshawjr : @Lisa - utopian views are great...but they have to be based on reality of the situation.

12:25:50 kyteacher (Angela) : @Ira I agree with the connotations of the word tolerance...but for some, even tolerating those who are different is a big step.  We focus on civility...treating one another with respect, etc.

12:25:54 Lisa Parisi : If we all strive for it, it will happen.

12:26:02 jepcke : @horvathj Always room for improvement...will be ever "be there"?

12:26:57 horvathj : I honestly don't know, especially after watching world news.

12:27:33 kyteacher (Angela) : Some rooms have windows?   I wish there was enough space, etc. in my room to allow for changes in learning environments.

12:27:44 jepcke : so sad that kids have to be "classified" for teachers to feel comfortable meeting their needs

12:28:07 jepcke : but know that is the reality for most

12:28:07 kyteacher (Angela) : I can barely fit enough desks into the space.

12:28:10 Lisa Parisi : That's why I said I would like to remove classifications.

12:28:13 spicerwensley : Civility and understanding are key but as a minimum students need to follow the "no put downs" "no disrespect" "no personal attacks" that tolerance captures.

12:28:25 Lisa Parisi : Let's just give everyone what they need.

12:28:30 stampergr : @Lisa, I have my own personal "kid is not classified" stories; maddingly frustrating for a parent.

12:28:32 hshawjr : @jepcke sometimes it is more about the teacher having to change how they are in the classroom than accommodating for the student

12:28:57 jepcke : and s many worry about "being classified" as a stamp on the forehead forever

12:29:23 jepcke : IS that how you grade? First ones done get As, next group gets Bs, etc. (snarky)

12:29:41 kyteacher (Angela) : @spicer I use these as a starting point in my classroom:

12:29:46 horvathj : @jepcke, That is true.  It seems as though once you get "labeled" you wear it for life.  Getting unlabled is difficult.

12:30:03 spicerwensley : I don't like to classify kids per se - in my view kids are kids - I try to deal with the individual not the "tribe" be it gang / fashion group (e.g. goth / bogan ) or religion etc (which isn't usually an issue in Australia as we are a godless lot)

12:30:05 jepcke : @hshawjr exactly! and how their administration views accomodations for "non-classified" students

12:30:26 hshawjr : Unfort as we all know that lable is necessary other student doesn't get what they need to be successful in our present system.

12:30:32 McTeach : Angela...I love those!!!! Seriously, can I come sit in your classroom for a month???

12:30:38 jepcke : @spicerwensley...what's a bogan?

12:31:17 spicerwensley : Cool - thx for those dialogue tips they look genuinely useful. I hink kids need to know that there is life after school...

12:31:44 jepcke : Like Cornell College in Iowa is the "one class at a time" school

12:31:57 kyteacher (Angela) : Looking forward to seeing how many students remember them from their freshman year.

12:31:58 jepcke : that model works well for so many

12:32:40 horvathj : I absolutely agree!  I haven't found many classes I've taken at during my bachelor classes and graduate courses that differentiate the learning for their students.

12:32:41 spicerwensley : Slow is not the same as stupid - careful studious kids can do REALLY well in life.

12:32:58 McTeach : It's so true!!!!!

12:33:05 McTeach : How did I wind up teaching middle school???

12:33:07 hshawjr : I think that we have to show our students that there are several different ways of teaching and that they have to learn to differentiate their learning sometimes to be successful in other classes.  Just like after school there are different types of bosses and they have to learn to work for them too

12:33:26 spicerwensley : Dante's Inferno in the classrooms of high school...

12:34:30 MariaK : I have never liked being in school - ever! But I love to be a learner - love learning. Hmmmm

12:34:49 spicerwensley : I think focus on one or two areas of interest can help students survive. A close circle of friends can really help too - esp. if they want to succeed at school.

12:34:54 McTeach : Maria...I feel the same way!!!

12:35:15 hshawjr : @MariaK  I hated school with a passion, but here I am a teacher, trying to show my students how to succeed inspite of being in school is important to me.

12:35:23 Ira Socol : Project-based learning allows interests to lead into "standardized" curricula

12:36:00 Ira Socol : I can study almost every topic, for example, via The Titanic, or space exploration, or flowers, or anything

12:36:06 spicerwensley : I was what we call a squib - I enjoyed school except for English - I always found english a challenge but now I love to write - including poetry and kid's books - go figure.

12:36:23 hshawjr : But cutting and pasting is an important skill, just throw in attributing correctly.

12:36:24 MariaK : I even get frustrated about working in a school - sometimes it just doesn't fit with what i feel.

12:36:25 Ira Socol : harold: me too, another school hater

12:36:31 spicerwensley : Cutting and pasting - sounds like university research methodology :-)

12:36:53 stampergr : Can I share something with the group real quickly?

12:36:56 sheila : :)

12:37:08 McTeach : I love being here on Sundays!

12:37:10 horvathj : This was my first experience with EdTech and a show like this.  I've enjoyed the conversation.  Thanks for doing this!  Have a great summer.

12:37:16 hshawjr : I read most of the book that  you linked with me, it did reasonate with some my experiences. 

12:37:18 spicerwensley : Have a nice summer holiday... (we have nice winters though - sunny and too dry)

12:37:19 McTeach : Any of you going to be at ISTE?

12:37:37 MariaK : yes - sheila and I will be there

12:37:46 hshawjr : No to ISTE, but going to MLTI in Castine Maine end of July

12:37:49 Rebecca F. : Thank you everyone for taking the time! Much appreciated!

12:37:51 McTeach : YAY! Will look forward to seeing you there!

12:37:52 tarman : Thank you

12:37:53 kyteacher (Angela) : I enjoy stopping in as often as possible.

12:37:58 hshawjr : Thank you :)

12:38:06 Ira Socol :

12:38:06 sr : I am inspired by your chats..thanks

12:38:08 MariaK : anyone going to building learning communities - BLC in Boston?

12:38:16 spicerwensley : I am new to UDL =- lots of reading to do...

12:38:18 Ira Socol :

12:38:24 McTeach : Wish I could, Maria...just too expensive

12:38:33 MariaK : I agree

12:38:35 Lisa Parisi :

12:38:41 sr : every second year ..was there last year

12:38:43 MariaK : I'm going as a presenter

12:38:51 Lisa Parisi : Thank you for coming.

12:38:57 McTeach : That's what I hear! Teryl told me she'd see you there

12:39:01 McTeach : Thank you ladies!!!

12:39:15 spicerwensley : Thanks bye folks - ciao for niao! PeterSW


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