Understanding by Design Units in relation to Program: the big picture of UbD
UbD and the design of the Exchange • Units are Building Blocks • The entire K - 12 curriculum is ultimately built out of all the units • To build and map a curriculum, then, group units into larger entities • To share effectively, we need to be able to mix and match units
The unit is the “unit of analysis” in the Exchange • What is a “unit”? • Unit = a coherent set of lessons, organized around a theme, a performance, an idea, or a text • A Unit is big enough to help us avoid - • micro-managing our lessons • overlooking complex performance goals • A Unit is small enough to help us avoid - • vague and unhelpful planning, typically ending in “coverage”
The Program Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3... The Subject Area The Course Units are the building blocks of a complete curriculum...
Program: History & Social Studies Subject: US History Course: US History 1860 - present Unit on the 60’s Here’s an example from History & Social Studies
Program Title Subject Title Course Title Unit Title So, when you create a unit... • You are first asked to place the new unit in its larger context
“But I teach 5th grade! We don’t have courses!” • There is still an implied hierarchy at work: • Think of a “course” as the year-long content-area strand found in almost every day of work • Poetry • The 4 basic operations • Local geography • Civics
“Program”: Language Arts “Subject”: 5th - grade language arts “Course”: 5th - grade writing “Unit”: The essay Here’s an example from a 5th grade unit on writing:
With such a structure, powerful functions are possible • 1. A Curriculum map for a whole school or district is automatically built as units are designed by individuals • 2. Overarching design elements can be assigned at the program, subject, and course level by local teams - then visible in each relevant unit, for possible attachment to that unit by each individual unit designer
1. What is a map? • A map offers a calendar of designs in a school or district, unit by unit, over the course of the year • Maps can be as simple or complex as you like: simply select the template fields you wish to see “mapped” over time • Maps can be viewed or downloaded as a spreadsheet • Maps can be works in progress - e.g. local work only on essential questions done so far: see map of all essential questions, by date, grade level, etc.
Why map? • Maps help local educators - • Ensure that key state standards are not falling through the cracks • Know what the big ideas are in units and courses across the system • Find natural ways to link their work with that of other teachers, to make the student’s experience more rich and coherent • Identify unhelpful redundancies or gaps in program that happen from isolated design
2. What are Overarching Elements? • The design elements that cut across units, courses, subjects, and/or Programs: Overarching - • Essential Questions • Enduring Understandings • Performance Tasks • Rubrics
Whose “story” is it? Who is an American? Who says? WW II 60’s 80’s Is “all fair” in war (internment)? Who should get Green cards? How much does race matter? Here’s an example for Essential Questions in History
Subject: How does an author use irony to make us understand? Course: Who sees? Who doesn’t? Why? Why not? Winnie the Pooh Oedipus Plato Here’s an example for English/ Language Arts Why can’t they see they aren’t tracking Woozles but seeing their own steps? Why doesn’t Oedipus “see”? How does someone ever leave the Cave?
School-wide: What does it mean? Program: What’s the Pattern? Course: What’s the graph? Subject: What is the “best fit”? Unit: Is this a linear or non-linear relationship? Here is an example in Mathematics