I talked about the RD (Respecting Diversity) Program by Jennifer Katz in a prior post, and have been anxious to get started on this program with my students ever since. It is finally happening! In an effort to reflect on, document and share the process, I will be sharing my thoughts on the program and the process here on my blog.
Although the RD Program is pretty well laid out lesson by lesson in Katz’s book Teaching to Diversity – The Three Block Model of Universal Design for Learning, I did some supplemental planning, reading and research ahead of time in order to prepare engaging and age appropriate lessons.
The first part of my planning included reading a bit more about Universal Design for Learning, as well as about Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences. This allowed me to learn more about, and reflect more on the theory of multiple intelligences and valued diversity, and how these relate to Social Role Valorization Theory (the focus of a course I am currently taking). Although this step is not necessary before running with the program, it is nice to have a good understanding of these before getting started.
My next step was to review the specifics of each lesson and choose or create materials that would be age appropriate for the two groups that I would be implementing the program with. Throughout my blog reflections you will here me refer to these groups as Class A (Kindergarten) and Class B (Grade 4).
Because many of the lessons in the program include a journal reflection activity at the end, I decided to create a journal for the students to write in, which would include a summary of each lesson, some “turn and talk” questions, the reflection questions, and a space for them to write down or draw their thoughts and ideas. In an effort to respect many different learning strengths, students would also be given the option of discussing the reflection questions with classmates instead.
Another important part of the planning phase was choosing age appropriate multiple intelligences surveys for both groups. This was easy for Group B. One of the surveys provided in the book was already age appropriate for this group. I typed it up in a bigger font and printed it in booklets for the students. Finding a survey for the Kindergarten group was a bit more challenging. Although there is an early years survey included in the book, I wanted something more visual for the Kindergarten class. Thank goodness for teachers who share! I was able to get my hands on a version that had been used by a Grade 2 teacher. With a few small edits, and collaboration with the Kindergarten teacher (who will be co-teaching the program with me in her class), I was able to pull together something for this group as well.
The final steps in the planning phase consisted mostly of gathering up the other odds and ends that I would need for the lessons, such as plasticine, mini flags, pictures of people in various jobs and occupations, and visuals to create display boards in the classrooms (not necessary, but a nice little addition).
With everything in place, I am finally ready to get started! More to come in the following weeks. Stay tuned!
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.