Understanding by Design Using Backwards Design Principles to Create Standards-Based Units Welcome! We’re glad you’re here…
Today’s Objectives • Learn and apply Understanding by Design (UbD) elements and principles • Draw connections between UbD elements and Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) • Reflect upon potential expectations for you as an Instructional Coach Lunch Break is anticipated at 11:00-12:00
Text Rendering • Knowing Your Learning Target • Connie M. Moss, Susan M. Brookhart and Beverly A. Long (2011). Educational Leadership. ASCD: 68(6).
Alpha Boxes A B C
Mix – Freeze – Pair – Share Prepare to be Blended
Mix – Freeze – Pair – Share • Where do some of your Big Ideas fit on the RCD map?
Mix – Freeze – Pair – Share • From your perspective where is your building on the START process right now?
Quick Infomercial • April 18 – Elementary Math/Literacy Priorities • April 27 – Middle School Priorities • May 24/25 – Elem Standards Alignment • May 31-June 2 – MS Math/Lit Mapping Inst. • TEN Week Monday Standards Part II • August 31 – High School Course Alignment
Mix – Freeze – Pair – Share • Given where we are headed, what are some of the implications for you as a coach? In your role as leader?
Parking Lot Lingering Questions Thoughts & Ideas
Setting the Purpose • Frontloading what you need to know and be able to do • Developing a strong understanding of the intentional focus on Design • Building your confidence with the varied literature connected to Standards-Based work
Deconstructing a Model • Co-Facilitator Groups • Please move to your pre-assigned groups
Deconstructing a Model • Review Sample Spanish UbD Unit • What do you notice about the structure? • How do the Standards compare to the Understandings and the Essential Questions? • How do the students “will know” and “be able to do” add depth to understanding the Desired Results? • In what ways does the Learning Plan scaffold student understanding?
Deconstructing a Model • Co-Facilitator Shares a level specific example • What similarities do you notice? • What differences do you see?
Deconstructing a Model • Whole Group Share • What are you noticing? • What are the Big Ideas? • What are the implications for you as a coach?
Parking Lot Lingering Questions Thoughts & Ideas
The 3 Stages of Design 1. Identify desired results 2. Determine acceptable evidence • 3. Plan Learning Experiences
Stage 1 – Identify Desired Results KEY: Focus on Big Ideas • Enduring Understandings: What specific insights about Big Ideas do we want students to leave with? • What Essential Questions will frame the teaching and learning, pointing toward key issues and ideas, suggest meaningful and provocative inquiry into content? • What knowledge and skills need to be acquired to understand the Big Ideas?
Stage 1: Establishing Priorities around Big Ideas Nice to Know Foundational Knowledge and skill Big Ideas worth exploring and understanding in depth
Understandings and Essential Questions involve Big Ideas Is it a Big Idea? Does it: • Have lasting value/transfer to other inquiries? • Serve as a key concept for making important facts, skills, and actions more connected and useful? • Summarize key findings/expert insights in a subject or discipline? • Require “uncoverage” (since it is an abstract and/or often misunderstood idea?)
Big Ideas are typically revealed via… • Key concepts • Focusing themes • On-going debates/issues • Insightful perspectives • Illuminating paradox/problem • Organizing theory • Overarching principle • Underlying assumption • Provocative questions
Some Big Ideas by Type • Concepts: migration, function, equity, text • Themes: “Good triumph over evil” • Debates: “Nature vs. Nurture” • Perspective: “youth” as wise or immature • Paradox: freedom involves responsibility • Theory: you are what you eat • Principle: free markets are self-regulating • Assumption: History is written by the “winner”
Some questions for identifying Big Ideas • Does it have many layers and nuances, not obvious to the naïve or inexperienced? • Do you have to dig deep to really understand its meanings and implications even if you have a surface grasp of it? • Is it prone to misunderstanding as well as disagreement? • Are you likely to change your mind about its meaning an importance over a lifetime? • Does it yield optimal depth and breadth of insight into the subject? • Does it reflect the core ideas as judged by experts?
Big Idea Work Time • Regroup with Co-Facilitator by Level • Using Social Studies Placemats • 5th Grade Topic: the Colombian Exchange • 8th Grade Topic: the Civil War • 11th Grade Topic: the Great Depression • Using Poster-size UbD Templates • Established Goals (Standards) • Big Ideas • Alpha Chart Check
Stage 1: Big Ideas to Understandings An understanding is a “moral of the story” about the big ideas: • State understandings as full-sentence generalizations about the desired learning • Ask yourself: What specific insights will students take away about the Big Idea?
Understandings • Great artists often break with conventions to better express what they see and feel • Price is a function of supply and demand • Friendships can be deepened or undone by hard times • History is the story told by winners • F≠ms (weight is not mass) • Math models simplify physical relations and even sometimes distort relationships to deepen our understanding of them • The storyteller rarely tells the meaning of the story
Understandings Avoid truisms, definitions, and vague generalizations • What genuine, unobvious, and important insights do you want students to leave with about the subject – it’s big ideas and key knowledge and skills? Mutual Respect Goes Both Ways What goes up, must come down. War is hell.
Scope of Understandings Overarching Course (Program) Understanding • Artists constantly break rules to help us see and feel anew. Topical (Unit) Understanding • The Impressionists broke the rules of the Academy to make us see the real play of light on objects and people. • Hip hop music rip song melodies to make the words more rhythmic and memorable.
Misconception Alert “Objectives” “Evidence Outcomes” “Standards” are rarely stated as Understandings • Typical learning objectives and goals are written to covey the specific insights we expect students to know and comprehend • The following are NOT Understandings • Students will understand the Civil War and its causes • Students will understand ratios and proportions • Students will understand and read a variety of materials
Skills to Understandings Skill – Swimming Students will understand that: • The most effective and efficient stroke mechanics involve pulling and pushing the maximum amount of water directly backward • A flat (vs. cupped) palm offers the maximum surface area.
Design Tips - Understandings • Most units will contain a mixture of topical and conceptual understandings • Sometimes the understandings is that there is no one understanding • Declarative knowledge concerns facts, statements that are true/unproblematic/sensible on the face of it, but understandings are not really meaningful until played with and understood
Check for Understanding on Understandings Buzz with a neighbor… • Articulate the meaning you have constructed relative to the idea of Understandings in this framework
Essential Questions • Are arguable – and important to argue about? • Are at the heart of the subject? • Recur – and should recur – in professional work, adult life, as well as in classroom inquiry? • Raise more questions, provoking and sustaining engaged inquiry? • Often raise important conceptual or philosophical issues? • Can provide purpose for learning?
Sample Essential Questions • Is the market “rational”? • Does a good read differ from a Great Book? • To what extent is geography destiny? • How important is the past? • Is a scientific theory more than a plausible opinion? • What is the government’s proper role?
Scope of Essential Questions Overarching (Program) • In nature, do only the strong survive? • Why leave home? Topical (Unit) • How strong are insects? • Why did the easterners leave their homes for the West?
Provoking vs. Guiding • A provoking question looks for opening up thinking, varied and divergent answers – “uncoverage” of important issues • The question is more important than any answer • A guiding question focuses inquiry and may coverage on an unobvious understanding • A guiding question ≠ a leading question: a leading question points to an unarguable fact
Types of Essential Questions Technical Philosophical Is an author or artist a privileged interpreter of his/her own work? Is it fair to let the market dictate the costs of all vital goods and services? What shall be our ultimate goal: efficiency or excellence? • How precise must the math be here? • What constitutes “appropriate supporting evidence”? • What strategy is best when you are winning a game early?
Design Tips • Most units will contain a mixture of topical and overarching questions • Most units will contain a mixture of provoking and guiding questions • Don’t try to edit questions while developing them. Work on maximal provocative value and kid-friendly language after you clarify the question from the teacher’s perspective • Student questions belong in Stage 3 (and perhaps Stage 2) after you have clarified the point of the unit.
Understandings & Essential Learning Design Time • Use Poster-sized Templates • Develop Unit Understandings • Develop Unit Essential Questions
Know and Be Able to Do • Specific Knowledge • Including vocabulary • Specific Skills • These are often found in the Grade Level Expectations and Evidence Outcomes of the new Colorado Standards • Continue working with Groups –
Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence Judicial Analogy • What “preponderance of evidence” would show that students have achieved the desired understanding, knowledge and skill?
Backwards Design A mantra: “Think like an assessor, not an activity designer.” The goal is valid and reliable evidence for Stage 1: What do the standards and desired results imply for evidence?