Flexible & Responsive Classroom Environments
- Class Environment Reflection Tool: This checklist helps classroom teachers access their classroom environment through a Self-Reg lens. It includes consideration for both macro-environments (classroom organization, visual and auditory stimuli, nutrition, hydration) and the adaptations and tools to meet the self-regulation needs of individual students (quiet area, alternative work spaces).
- Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environments that Kids Need: Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them, and help them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.
- Today’s Classrooms Should be About Flexible Teaching – Not Furniture: One teacher’s experience of how changing to flexible seating transformed his teaching practice and created more opportunities to reach individual student needs.
First Week of School Ideas
- Educational Leadership – What To Do In Week One?: Students’ learning is markedly influenced by their connectedness with the adults in charge, classmates, and the larger community. This article outlines way to take advantage of this dynamic to support learning during the first weeks of school.
- Growth Mindset: The Power of Yet: This post outlines an activity that can faciliate a conversation about differences and growth mindset using the book Giraffe’s Can’t Dance. Included in the post are materials to personalize the concept of growth mindset.
- Our Hopes and Dreams for School: Inviting students to name learning goals (hopes and dreams) right away shows them that school is a safe place, that they’re important members of the classroom, and that they can look forward to an engaging, challenging, and fun year of learning. The process of articulating hopes and dreams varies depending on the students’ grade level and the teacher’s style. Included are ideas for various grade ranges.
- I Wish My Teacher Knew: An exercise to get to know your students; To find out what they’re like: what they love, what scares them, what they need help with…etc.
Inclusive Education: Universal Design for Learning
- The Sweeper Van – Creating Supportive Learning Environments to Foster Resilience in Students: Shelley Moore talks about the supports that exist for children. She argues that we need to move away form supports that are designed for specific students and instead create environments of inclusive support that can help all students to take risks and be successful.
- The Difference Between Universal Design (UDL) and Traditional Teaching: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching that aims to give all students equal opportunities to succeed, no matter how they learn. While some teachers in traditional schools may use UDL principles and practices on their own, traditional and UDL approaches to education are very different. The chart included on this page, created with the help of the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), highlights some of the differences between traditional classrooms and UDL classrooms. CAST, an Understood founding partner, developed the UDL framework.
- Listening Isn’t Cheating: How Audio Books Can Help Us Learn: A blog post that highlights one of the foundational concepts of UDL: Start by separating the method from the goal.
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Strategies: UDL strategies are instructional methods and tools used by teachers to ensure that ALL students have an equal opportunity to learn. The strategies are organized by UDL Guideline. These guidelines to select strategies that remove barriers in instruction so that all students can achieve their learning goals.
Mental Health/Wellness: What Survival Looks Like
Inner World Work in UK has created booklets for school staff and parents to help with understanding what survival states look like in home and school environments and what can be done to support children/youth and subsequently improve their learning. The final document on the list allows the student to create a book that reflects their own survival patterns and supports.
- What Survival Looks Like In School (Elementary Level)
- What Surival Looks Like in School (Secondary Level)
- What Survival Looks Like at Home
- What Survival Looks Like for Me