I have another question for you, Ms. Novak, regarding standards. I really like your rubric for students to evaluate you on the standards. Consider posting a sample.
Someone else just posted a similar question. I will share the answer I wrote:
Learn all you can about Universal Design for Learning. It's a framework for planning instruction when you teach a wide variability of students. The great thing about the Common Core in ELA is that all the standards are vertically aligned, so you can focus on an anchor standard and explain to students what typical expectations are for each grade and help them work up from where they are to where they need to be. Then, students can choose assignments from varying levels of challenge to meet the standards.
The same can be true for your other subjects. If you find ways to align the curriculum vertically, you can provide scaffolding and choices to help all students work in their zone of proximal development.
There are a number of amazing books and web sites about UDL which you can look into to learn about all the research that supports its use in learning environments like your own. Most of this research comes out of CAST, the Center for Applied Science and Technology. You can learn about UDL on their site, here: http://www.cast.org/udl/
I also just published a book on UDL specifically for teachers who want to implement it now. It's called UDL Now and you can pick it up from various booksellers. Here is a link to Amazon where you can read some pages for free. http://www.amazon.com/UDL-Now-Monday-Morning-Implementing-Standards/dp/0989867439
Regardless of the resource you explore, I'm fully confident that UDL will help you make this year a success.
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