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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Favorite Unique Learning Systems Lists and Lessons for Students with Significant Disabilities

I just finished my second year of teaching. I have learned so much over the past two years. I have found so many wonderful Teachers Pay Teachers products, have become familiar with common reading and math curriculums such as, Edmark, SRA, and Touch Math, and have created many of my own supplemental materials. With that said, my absolute favorite resource that I have access to in my classroom (and at home) is Unique Learning System (ULS) and News 2 You (n2y).  I have found that when used together, the two curriculums are entertaining and engaging, aligned to Common Core State Standards, easy to use, comprehensive, and appropriate for a variety of learners. When I first started using ULS/n2y I was a bit overwhelmed because of how much content there is on the website. I am still learning more and more about the curriculum and discovering new activities and resources, but I have become very familiar with some activities and lessons. I am teaching ESY and I am using it as a time to try out new lessons and activities with my students. For those of you that would like to do the same, the summer units are FREE. Check them out here.


Before I Begin Planning: 

1) I print out the Suggested Monthly Plan ONCE for the entire year. This is a monthly plan that was created by the company. Because each classroom is unique, you will need to adjust the plan as needed for your classroom. My classroom is composed of Level 1 Learners. I take that into consideration when planning. I can use this Monthly Plan for my entire year. I currently use the curriculum for whole group instruction, but hope to begin using it for small group instruction as well this upcoming school year. We use ULS on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and n2Y on Wednesday and Fridays. The Suggested Monthly Plan includes a blank planning page for you to use as you would like. 



2) I print out the Supply List each month. This a "cheat sheet" of all the supplies that I will need to complete the lessons and activities for the entire month. This saves me from making multiple trips to the store each month. Hey! I can even order from Amazon and be done with one click of a button. 


3) I print out Supplemental Reading List each month. This is a great go to sheet for books to read during Morning Meeting (my calendar time) or during those random transition times that you need something to do. All of the books are leveled and relate to the monthly theme. Some of them require a subscription, but some are free! 


4) I print out the Printing Guide each month. This is my favorite sheet. I actually do not print out many of my ULS lessons and activities. Most of the activities we do using the computer and projector or an iPad, but I love this sheet because it allows me to see all of the activities for the entire month. I can check off the activities as we do them and color coat the activities we will be doing by month. 


My Favorite Lessons on Unique Learning Systems: 

Lessons 1&2: These lessons are sweet and simple. We read a book as a class and then answer five comprehension questions. We do these lessons several times throughout the month. We work on predicting what the book is going to be about before we read, identifying the author and illustrator, and reviewing the book. The level 1 comprehensions questions in Lesson 3 are absolutely perfect for my students. We project the questions, have the computer read them to us, and I call one student at a time to the board to answer a question. I prompt them to answer as needed.

 
Lesson 7-9: We read the words together. I review the initial letter and the sound that the initial letter makes. Because none of my students can write (the lesson below is far too difficult for the majority of my class), I am hoping to practice typing the words and stamping the words by modifying some of the worksheets and activities in Lesson 8 & 9.



Lesson 11: BINGO. Lesson 11 contains vocabulary word cards (calling cards) that I am planning on putting up on my pocket chart each month and simple bingo cards that can be used over and over again to review the vocabulary words for each month.


Lesson 16a: We practice counting objects that relate to the theme. We match the number and then talk about concepts such as, less, more, and same. 




Lesson 24: I appreciate the patterning worksheets on ULS, but I like the patterning worksheets on n2y even better. My students have gotten so great at patterning over this past year that I am going to have to move on to the more difficult lessons.

Those are my favorite lessons and activities. I have heard several people mention that unique is just too difficult for their students. I agree that some activities are difficult, but they can easily be implemented with modification. I have students of all levels in my classroom and all of them can interact with this curriculum in some way. If you have several Level 1 learners and non-verbal students, be sure to check out Active Participation Guidelines and Active Participation Scripts. After reading those instructional guides and reflecting on my own classroom, I developed this AT Checklist as a way for me to remember what I need to do to make each monthly unit accessible to my non-verbal/more impacted students. My iPad communication application of choice is Dynavox Compass, but you can use whatever device that you have access to. 


You can download my assistive technology to-do list here. 

How do you use ULS/n2y in you classroom?











9 comments:

  1. I use unique as well as news 2 you. I love How they both have the same worksheet format for each theme or article. I saw each week I'll better plan but I haven't yet. I am blessed that one of my PDs this summer will be on both 20th a representative from the company. Looking forward to seeing how to better use them next year!

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    1. Be sure to share what you learn with others about using the program. It sounds like a good opportunity!

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  2. Hi! I am teaching esy and using this for the first time. I have 6- first graders that are intellectually disabled. I am extremely overwhelmed with how much there is to offer with this program but I definitely like it! I'm struggling with how to structure my room if I should do centers or whole group? Do you do ULS as centers and news2you as whole group? Thank you! -Sarah

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    1. Currently, I use other supplemental materials for centers and use ULS for whole group. We do ULS Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and n2y Tuesday and Thursday. I am hoping to use ULS/n2y for both small and whole group instruction next year.

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  3. This was SO HELPFUL!!! My district also purchased a subscription to ULS last year and I could never seem to get my head around it. Lots of information...almost too much information! I am going to follow your suggestions because I am determined to use this curriculum to its fullest this year. Been using News2You for a few years and love it. Can't wait to use both resources together. Thanks for sharing!!! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I just added a few pictures and points to it in hopes of making it more helpful.

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  4. Hi! I just signed up for this for the free summer program. I am teaching ESY this summer and would like to use this program to give it a try. Do you do news2you AND unique learning system separately? Also, I cannot find the supply list on the free trial. It is definitely a little overwhelming because there's just so much that you can do. How long would you say you spend on this program...just trying to figure out a schedule for my kiddos.

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    1. Currently, I use other supplemental materials for centers and use ULS for whole group. We do ULS Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and n2y Tuesday and Thursday. I am hoping to use ULS/n2y for both small and whole group instruction next year. We use it for at least 30 minutes a day currently, but that could easily be more.

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  5. Which grade band do you use for your class? I am a k-2 class and I was using elementary, but found that some of the unit themes were far too difficult and abstract for my students. So I switched it to Preschool.

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