Chapter 9: Shallow Swim:

Building Skills, Taking Ownership

In Special Education we often talk about transition planning. It usually happens as students move from one school to the next, or graduate from high school. It's carefully designed to prepare the student to make the move successfully.

In reality all our students need a transition plan as they move towards a more student-driven process of learning. Without this plan, some students will struggle, many will just "play the game". As we've noted in the UDL Planning Guide students need to develop many skills - basic subject knowledge, strategies for learning, collaborative processes, and organization and planning skills. But perhaps the most important skills they need, ones that only happen when we intentionally plan to include them, is metacognition and ownership of learning.


But wait. If we are to "pass the baton" of ownership of learning to students, then we too need a transition plan as we let go of our control over the classroom, take risks in front of others, and model a different way of learning: one where we too ask questions, embrace change, understand the power of the room and aren't afraid of failing.

Closeup showing passing of baton. Text reads: UDL - It's time to pass the baton to your learners.

Pause and Reflect

We've compiled the pause and reflect questions from the book into a Google Doc. 


Feel free to make a copy and work inside the document, or record your thoughts using another form of media. 

Chapter 9 - Pause and Reflect

Gradual release of responsibility suggests an "I do, we do, you do" approach. It brings to mind (to my mind anyway) snatching back ownership for each new task. "When I think you're ready THEN I'll let you try it on your own. But only this once."

UDL asks us to fully pass the baton to students. Yes we'll always scaffold, support and guide learning but ultimately ownership means we don't take the baton back each time some new content or concept is introduced. We intentionally design our classrooms and our instruction so students, when they're ready (not when we're ready) can take the baton and run the race on their own.


Kendra's as yet unpublished blog :)

Shallow Swim

Educator: [Your Name]

In this space we want to feature you! 

Coming soon we'll have an example of an educator at the Wade In level sharing how they used the UDL Planning Guide to change their practice. While we focused on K-12, anyone can share how they've changed their instruction!

We'er looking for 1 or 2 minute videos with the following information:

  1. Your name, grade, school and district (if applicable)

  2. Your "swimming" level - Wade In, Shallow Swim or Deep Dive

  3. The high level overview of the lesson - provide a link or PDF copy if available

  4. One or two changes you made (using the UDL Planning Guide as a reference)

  5. The apps or online tools you used

  6. Outcomes - what worked, questions you have, next steps.

Join the conversation on Twitter.

UDL requires the gradual release of responsibility. First, provide ACCESS to learning (external). Next BUILD skills for learning (shared) Then, its time to pass the baton. Help Ss INTERNALIZE their understanding of themselves & take ownership of their learning #DiveIntoUDL