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 special education teachers who are just beginning to use Unique Learning System to support specially designed instruction. I’ve found that there are some hidden gems within the materials that educators may be missing out on. So, I’m going to share five of them with you here.

1. Courses

Where to find all the math, science, and social studies courses in Unique Learning System

Unique Learning System includes many instructional high‑leverage practices that ensure the needs of each unique learner are met. Did you know that in addition to engaging, on-demand science and social studies courses, ULS also provides foundational math and science of reading-aligned phonics courses? These supplemental, ready‑made, research- and evidence-based lessons are well worth discovering. Regardless of the grade band you teach, you’ll have access to all of the courses and be able 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 supplemental assignments for those in inclusion settings. And with the math and ELA courses, students have even more support with differentiated activities that provide systematic, explicit, skills‑based instruction!

2. Core materials

Examples of core materials: Meeting Procedures organizer, Wash Hands workflow, and differentiated Daily Buzz parent notes

Unique Learning System has numerous core materials and differentiated 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 activities more interactive. There are also task analyses and workflows with visuals to support common self‑care routines, like washing hands. You can even find parent notes differentiated for students with varied skill sets to send home and encourage family involvement.

Core Materials in the Unique Learning System menu

Just choose Core Materials from the menu in Unique Learning System to find these features and more.

3. Teacher reference materials

Reference materials support your daily instruction and your students’ specially designed instruction. These materials are divided into three categories—Instructional Tools, Instructional Guides, and Alignment Tools.

Instructional Tools

Examples of manipulatives, printable templates, and differentiated leveled books included as instructional tools

Instructional Tools include manipulatives and printable templates that support Unique Learning System lessons. These additional tools aid special education professionals in teaching emergent literacy and foundational math across all grade bands. They include:

  • Math, money, and time manipulatives
  • Letters and sounds cards
  • Letter and number tracing templates

Instructional Guides

Instructional Guides support best practices for teaching methods and offer evidence-based teaching strategies. They include:

  • Active participation guidelines and scripts
  • Instructional tips and Implementation guide 
  • Scope and sequence for ELA, math, and phonics
  • Phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, vocabulary, and math guides
  • Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, Physics/Chemistry, US History blueprints for the High School grade band 

Alignment Tools

Examples of alignment tools that connect lessons and materials to state standards

Alignment Tools include alignment documents and instructional targets connecting the lessons and materials to your state’s standards.

Teacher Reference Materials in the Unique Learning System menu

To access the instructional tools, instructional guides, and alignment tools, choose Teacher Reference Materials from the main menu in Unique Learning System.

4. Ability to hide symbols and 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 a button within the lesson, you can hide all the symbols in that book or activity. 

Hiding or showing symbol supports takes just one click within a lesson

In addition, the settings menu allows you to adjust the iDoc settings 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 the right or wrong answer
  • Play incentive audio
  • Adjust answer selection options
  • Target cue for drag‑and‑drop activities

5. n2y Library

Leveled adapted books: Endangered Animals, Olympics Around the World, Rotten Vegetables, Dirty Clothes, and the Rose Parade

Are you looking for books to use during shared or independent reading? Unique Learning System also has a library of over 1,000 leveled adapted books, similar to those found in the thematic units! You can search the database for reading material by the level and/or topic that you need. Once you have selected a book, you can put it on the iDoc reader by clicking the orange touch button on the right side of the book title or download a PDF by clicking the same link. I always recommend that teachers click the blue button on the top right of the library page (next to the question mark) to get the scoop on the leveling system Unique Learning System uses.

Final thoughts

Unique Learning System is such a great tool for planning out your lessons, but there is so much more it can offer to support specially designed instruction in your classroom. You just have to know where to look! With core units and supplemental courses that offer evidence-based strategies, reference materials that enhance instruction, and accessibility and reading options for students, it boosts teaching and learning.

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 <a href="https://autismclassroomresources.com/"> Autism Classroom News and Resources</a>.