Best Practices in Universal Design for Learning

Learn about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to help ensure that any lesson you teach is accessible and equitable to a wide variety of learners.

Best Practices in Universal Design for Learning
  • Getting Started
  • Practical Tips & Accommodations

Best Practices in Universal Design for Learning

Try

Take a lesson plan that you have already created, and use the UDL checklist at the end of this resource to see how you could adjust it.

Try

Present information and provide students the option to respond using multiple forms of communication: visual, oral, written, and with technology.

Remember

To learn more about UDL on the go, check out links at the end of this resource.

A humorous cartoon of a gray elephant, tall blue bird, green and brown turtle, and green snake standing in front of the "One Size Fits All Store" which has a Sale sign in the window.

Image credit: Jack Corbett

UDL is an approach used by a broad range of educators to reach all types of learners. GIVE has chosen to incorporate this framework into the design of this guide because of the ways it can support Teaching Artists in giving all students various ways to learn, express their learning, and succeed in the classroom. UDL is NOT one size fits all, nor is it the only way to approach creating inclusive classrooms.

As an arts-based Teaching Artist you are already inherently doing so much! UDL is a framework to help you reflect upon the great practices you already have and/or the gap areas in which you might want to grow.

Remote Teaching and Learning Tip:

Learn more about UDL and how it can support remote teaching and learning.

Sample Activity

ACTIVITY #1: I Am A Tree

Time: 10 min (i.e. Introduction, Opening Ritual, Warm Up)

  • Right now we are in a classroom! Let’s explore a different environment, or place, and imagine that we are in a park. Let’s use our bodies and voices to create a frozen image (a tableau) of a park.
  • One person will enter into the playing space and will say I am a ____. For example, I am a tree. And they will strike a pose as a tree. You will have to hold this pose for an extended period of time, so make a choice that is comfortable for your body to hold. You can be a person, place, or thing. Make big, bold choices!
  • The next person will build off of the tree and add another frozen pose into our park tableau.
  • You are also encouraged to add a sound, dialogue, levels, dynamics (i.e. super speed, slow motion, etc.).
  • Reflection – Let’s reflect on how you made choices about using your bodies, voices, and imaginations and how you felt in the tableau.

  • Students can participate by adding a pose, a sound, or by directing the tableau from the outside.
  • Students who are less verbal or non-verbal can fill in the blank by striking a pose without naming what they are.
  • Group brainstorming, printed or digital images, and videos of parks can support students in their decision making.
  • Side coaching and narrating throughout can support engagement.

  • Can participate in the tableau.
  • Can support decision making by sharing images.

  • Transitioning into the activity with imagination: “The classroom is fading away, and we’re imagining we’re in a park.”
  • Transitioning out of the activity with movement: “Travel back to your desk as your favorite living thing we found in the park.”

Art Form: Theater

Age Range: K-2, 3-5

Key Words: Environment, Tableau, Levels

Goal: To introduce students to theater vocabulary: environment, tableau, levels. To activate actors’ tools of voice, body, and imagination.

Classroom Arrangement: Audience/Playing Space

External Resources