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Understanding by Design: Thinking about the Key Principles for Your School

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  1. Understanding by Design: Thinking about the Key Principles for Your School Allison Zmuda, Facilitator

  2. Goals for Today’s work • Examine the four big ideas behind Understanding by Design • Identify key challenges in teaching and learning in your school • Student Achievement • Coherence • Preparation for post-graduation • Design a template that meets your needs

  3. Goals for tomorrow’s work • Review template components • Take template for a “test drive” • Use a unit that you currently teach • “Play” with essential questions, enduring understandings,and performance task • Align with established goals • Plan for October rollout

  4. Essential Questions • What is “understanding” as a goal and what does it demand of assessment and instruction? • How can we more likely achieve understanding by design rather than by good fortune?

  5. Plan Adjust Assess Teach CYCLE of teaching and learning

  6. Ubd focuses on the planning piece • A framework to – • Stay focused on the long-term goals • Get the blend of ‘content’ and ‘performance’ right • Engage learners by using questions and tasks

  7. Why UbD? • If too many students… • do not apply their learning unless you ‘hold their hand’ • do not know why they are learning what they are asked to • see their job as passive learners

  8. Learner Metaphors • I learn like a ______________________ because __________________________ Sample response: I learn like a car because when I hop into gear, I accelerate quickly when I get into the swing of things.

  9. What Patterns do you see in student responses? • I learn like a turtle because it takes awhile for me to get something but in the end I understand. • I learn like a lamp; when I’m “on” I do my job well and when I’m “off” I don’t do much. • I learn like a dog because it takes me a while to completely understand things but once I get it, I won’t forget it. • I learn like a digestive system because I take in what I want and take out the rest.

  10. What Patterns do you see in student responses? • I learn like a clock because every second changes. One second I’m listening, the next second I’m not. • I learn like a little kid because everything they see and hear they want to touch and talk about it. • I learn like a CD because in some subjects I just flow freely and in other I skip like a scratched one and in others I need things repeated like the way a favorite song is repeated over and over again.

  11. What Patterns do you see in student responses? • I learn like a tabletop. Things just get piled on top of me and after a while everything gets cluttered. Eventually I discard everything and the process starts all over again. • I learn like meatloaf because my brain is fat in the beginning and then it shrinks up when it is overheated. • I learn like a camera because I am capable of doing great things, but I need motivation. I need to know why. Just like a camera, I need the perfect light and a perfect moment, then everything is in focus. Without these things, the camera has no use. Without inspiration I am like a camera without film.

  12. What Patterns do you see in student responses? • I learn like a dead body because all I do is lay there. • I learn like a ball of clay because teachers can mold my mind into whatever they teach. • I learn like a parrot because after seeing something I can mimic it. • I learn like a sponge because I absorb all of the information that is thrown at me. • I learn like a tunnel because things go in one side and out the other.

  13. What patterns do you see in student responses? • Your thoughts…

  14. Our responsibility • How did learners come to see themselves that way? • Too much “stuff” • Too much “teacher talk” • Not enough student questioning • Not enough student application • Not enough connections

  15. lack of alignment between daily lesson and long-term goals

  16. The big ideas about understanding by design The point of school iseffective understanding, not prompted recall of content & compliance Understanding = using content effectively for transfer & meaning ‘Backward’Design:from engaging work and competent understanding, not ‘coverage’

  17. Idea #1 The point of school iseffective understanding, not prompted recall of content & compliance Understanding = using content effectively for transfer & meaning ‘Backward’Design:from engaging work and effective understanding, not ‘coverage’

  18. i.e. How would you complete these sentences? • By the end of the year, learners should be (better) able, on their own, to effectively use all the ‘content’ learned this year, to...

  19. How would you complete the sentence? (2) • By the end of their formal schooling, learners should be able, on their own, to use all the‘content’learned, to...

  20. i.e. Content isa ‘tool’...

  21. Toward what end?

  22. From dale carnegie • “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.”

  23. The big ideas - #2 The point of school iseffective understanding, not prompted recall of content & compliance Understanding = using content effectively for transfer & meaning ‘Backward’Design:from engaging work and effective understanding, not ‘coverage’

  24. What is real understanding? How does it differ from ‘knows a lot’ • If you know a lot, but don’t really understand, you can only... • If you really understand you can...

  25. Not just Plug in Say why Connect Teach Interpret Support Create Use Figure Out Apply Group the answers • If you really understand you can...

  26. Figure Out Apply One circle feeds the other • If you really understand you can...

  27. Transfer your learning in context Make Meaning via active inferencing Formal langauge • If you really understand you can...

  28. Not New idea — from Bloom • "Application is different from simple comprehension: the student is not prompted to give specific knowledge, nor is the problem old-hat. The tests must involve situations new to the student...” • “Ideally we are seeking a problem which will test the extent to which the individual has learned to apply an abstraction in a practical way."

  29. In short, if you have effective understanding, you are able to – • Efficiently and effectively retrieve and adapt the most appropriate content, in context, to make sense of things and perform effectively

  30. Crucial design implications • Work must require students to – • Learn how to use content in novel situations • Confront endless problems with no obvious answer and various plausible alternatives • Face challenges that require figuring out which prior learning applies here • Handling varied situations: different demands/audiences/purposes/options/constraints

  31. An example of unit design: math • What is fair? How can math help (or not)? • When we say something is ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ what do we mean? How ‘mathematical’ should our evidence be? • Students generate, categorize examples of “That’s fair!” and “That’s not fair!”

  32. “What is Fair? Can math help?” Problem - Four 7th-grade classes had a race of all the students. IN GROUPS: Devise at least 2 different ways to determine a fair ranking of the classes, given the results. Agree on the most fair way, and be prepared to defend your answers… Individual ranking of runners in a race by all 7th-grade classes

  33. Next: further discussions • Jigsaw on fairness • What do we mean when we say that the rules of a game of chance are “not fair”? What role does math play in our judgment? • Why is it fair to have one person cut the cake and the other person to choose the piece? • When is straight majority voting “fair” and when is it “not fair”? • When is it “fair” to consider an “average” in ranking performance (e.g. salaries, home prices, batting average) and when is it “unfair”?

  34. The content is learned - “just in time” • “Guys, mathematicians have a few tools that might help us…” • Lessons on measures of central tendency: • Mean • Median • Mode • Quizzes to check for skill

  35. Final assessment tasks • Propose and defend a “fair” grading system for use in this class. • How should everyone’s grade be calculated? Why is your system more fair than the current system (or: why is the current system most fair?) • A final reflection on the question: What is fair and what isn’t fair? • When should you and shouldn’t you use mean, median, mode?

  36. Question: How does this unit differ from typical units? This unit.... Typical units... • The start: • The assessment: • The textbook: • The EQ: • Building efficacy:

  37. Honors how we naturally learn • Question, story or problem to solve • Just in time teaching related to the concept at the heart of the question, story, or problem • Application to a novel question, story or problem • Connection amongst questions, stories or problems

  38. Acquire Make Meaning Authentic Learning Transfer

  39. Transfer Transfer Goals • Adapt your knowledge, skill, and understanding to specific and realistic situations and contexts • AIM: efficient, effective solutions for real-world challenges, audiences, purposes, settings

  40. Make Meaning Meaning goals • Make connections & generalizations, using the facts and skills – • e.g. interpret, gist, main idea, thesis, empathize, critique, etc. • AIM: independent and defensible student inferences about situations, texts – ‘helpful and insightful understandings’

  41. Acquire Acquisition goals • Learn, with accurate and timely recall, important facts and discrete skills • Aim: automaticity of recall when needed in performance

  42. TMA in French • T: solve a communication problem, on the spot, in which an American cannot make himself understood to a Parisian because the American relies on too many ‘faux amis’ words (sound like ours, different meanings) and is getting tenses wrong • M: Correctly interpret the scene and translate the meanings accurately • A: Acquire skills of accurate conjugation and vocabulary (related to the misleading words)

  43. TMA in Geography • T: Make a map of your school; see if people can read your map and use it to get somewhere • M: Make sense of the spatial relations, so as to interpret three dimensions into two; make sense of other people’s maps • A: Acquire skills of making and reading maps

  44. TMA in Physics • T: Maximize the distance travelled by a CO2 car, roller coaster or catapalted object, using the laws of physics • M: Correctly interpret the acting forces in the situation • A: Acquire skills of analysis of motion and knowledge

  45. TMA in Algebra • T:Solve a non-routine and unfamiliar problem in context in which there may or may not be a linear relationship. • M: Correctly interpret the meaning of data patterns or line of ‘best fit’ of data points • A: Acquire skills of plotting point pairs, accurately drawing the graph of a line from a linear equation, etc.

  46. The big ideas - #3 The point of school iseffective understanding, not prompted recall of content & compliance Understanding = using content for transfer & meaning ‘Backward’Design:from engaging work and competent understanding, not ‘coverage’

  47. Three stages of backward design Stage 1: Identify the long-term desired results Stage 2: Determine appropriate assessment evidence to achieve those results Stage 3: Design learning activities and instruction, given the goals of Stage 1 and evidence in Stage 2

  48. Three stages of backward design Stage 1: GOALS Stage 2: ASSESSMENT Stage 3: LEARNING EVENTS

  49. What we typically (incorrectly) do: Identify the topics and content to be covered Determine instruction for teaching the content When grades are due, assess the learning of the content

  50. Goals for learning? • “I want students to learn to speak in the perfect tense” • “I want students to be able to solve linear equations” • “I want students to identify author purpose” These are two of many skills; what’s the goal? What’s the point of each skill?