Emerging America provides resources for educators to make the learning of History and Social Studies accessible for all. Supportive teaching methods and classroom management tools are important parts of this effort. The Universal Design for Learning philosophy incorporates three easy-to-follow aspects of teaching methodology in order to reach all learners in every classroom.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) encourages educators to provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement for all students. There is not just one form of learning that fits all students learning styles. Careful differentiation of instruction and assessment in the History and Social Studies classroom is ideal.
Representation: Educators provide multiple ways to represent concepts to students of differing ability levels. When working with primary sources, teachers use varied media and forms of representation such as a visual, auditory overviews, and hands-on learning experiences.
Model Lesson: See how oral histories and a mix of maps and other documents are used to represent the Pearl Harbor bombing. Pearl Harbor Lesson
Action and Expression: An active and expressive classroom is important for learning History and the Social Sciences. Students should be given the chance to express themselves using written and spoken word, visuals, and technology. Students can use primary sources to create a documentary that details a moment or place in history. Activate a classroom news channel with a podcast to allow student voice to reach a wider audience.
Model Lesson: Students design a brochure of the Monuments of Washington D.C. Monuments in Washington D.C.
Engagement: Allow students to engage with course content in a variety of ways–always with the focus on the needs of your particular learners. Some students require consistent classroom routines. Yet alternating routines offers rewards those students who thrive on novelty. Such students will benefit from self-directed, independent learning. Collaboration and peer support in group assignments can be structured to support both groups. Having students move around the room in teams as they examine primary documents allows students to hear a variety of perspectives in an organized fashion. Tying in course content to the students’ lives is always crucial. When students are able to make personal connections the material comes to life and soon the classroom is full of learners who are motivated and feel purposeful.
Model Lesson: Using primary documents, students examine the assimilation of Puerto Ricans into American culture while preserving their cultural identity. Puerto Rican Identity