5 Hidden Gems of Unique Learning System

Christine Reeve

Special Education Consultant

Reeve Autism Consulting

As a consultant to schools, I work with a number of teachers who are just beginning to use Unique Learning System. As I’ve spent time with them showing them how to navigate the program, I’ve found that there are some hidden gems within all the materials that many educators may be missing out on. So, I’m going to share a few of my favorite hidden gems with you here.

1. Science and Social Studies Courses

Did you know that there is a database of on-demand science and social studies courses in addition to the monthly lessons? This is a pretty recent addition to the program that is well worth discovering. If you teach the intermediate grade band you’ll have access to the science and social studies courses and if you’re a middle school or high school teacher, you get both the science and social studies courses. You’ll have the ability to search for the topics you need by keywords, tags, subjects or categories. One reason I love this content is that it allows you to pull parallel science assignments for students who are also included in general education science.

2. Core Materials

Unique Learning System has numerous core materials and lessons that can help you with routine and daily instructional tasks in your classroom. Specifically, there are some great materials for organizing and running morning meetings and calendar time that can help to make these activities more interactive. There are also task analyses and workflows with visuals to support common self-care routines, like washing hands. There are even parent notes differentiated for students with varied skill sets to send home and encourage family involvement. Just choose “Core Materials” from the menu to find these features and more.

Sample a lesson from Unique Learning System to see for yourself its usability and abundance of material.

3. Teacher Reference Materials

In addition to the core materials, reference materials are also available to subscribers. These materials are divided into two categories—Instructional Tools and Instructional Guides.

The Instructional Tools include manipulatives and printable templates designed to support Unique Learning System monthly lessons. Materials available here include:

  • Math and money manipulatives
  • Communication board strips
  • Word lists and other printable templates
  • Letter and number tracing templates

The Instructional Guides offer teachers support in presenting various reading and math concepts in alternate ways.

Materials available here include:

  • Active participation guidelines and scripts
  • Instructional tips
  • Phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, vocabulary and math guides

To access the Instructional Tools and Instructional Guides, choose “Teacher Reference Materials” from the main menu.

4. Ability to Hide Symbols & Settings

When you are using the interactive document (iDoc) reader, many of the books and materials include symbol supports. But what if your student doesn’t need symbols or you don’t want to use symbols with a specific group? Well, with one click of the button on the left-hand menu, you can hide all of the symbols in that book or activity. But that’s not all—the preference menu allows you to adjust the iDoc setting based on the needs of individual students. You can:

  • Enable text to speech
  • Change text to speech highlight color
  • Change text to speech rate of speed
  • Highlight right or wrong answer
  • Play incentive audio
  • Adjust answer selection options

5. n2y Library

Unique Learning System also has an entire library of leveled adapted books, similar to those found in the monthly units. You can search the database for reading material by the level and/or topic that you need. You can put them on the iDoc reader by clicking the orange touch button on the right side of the book title, or you can download a PDF by clicking the same link. Oh, and if you want to know more about the leveling system Unique Learning System uses, click the blue button on the top right of the library page (next to the question mark) to get the scoop.

Unique Learning System is such a great tool for planning monthly lessons, but there is so much more it can offer to support your classroom. You just have to know where to look!

About the Author

Christine Reeve provides technical assistance and professional development to schools around the U.S. After working in higher education for 13 years, she founded Reeve Autism Consulting. Christine has authored several books for special education, including <em>Taming the Data Monster</em> and <em>Setting Up Classroom Spaces for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder</em>. She is also the author of the website Autism Classroom News and Resources.