Building a Quality Curriculum Understanding by Design English Language Arts
Consider this scenario • I am working with my social studies counterpart to develop a unit on the following topic: Westward Movement and Pioneer Life.
We have designed the following activities • Read textbook section: “Life on the Prairie.” Answer the end-of-chapter questions. • Read and discuss Sarah Plain and Tall. Complete a word-search puzzle of pioneer vocabulary terms from the story. • Create a pioneer-life memory box with artifacts that reflect what life might be like for a child traveling west or living on the prairie.
We are especially proud of our Pioneer Day activities • Dress in pioneer clothes and complete the following learning stations: • Churn butter • Play 19th-century game • Send letter home with sealing wax • Play “dress the pioneer” computer game • Make a corn husk doll • Make a quilt square • Punch tin
Assessments • Quiz on pioneer vocabulary terms from Sarah Plain and Tall • Answers to end-of-chapter questions on pioneer life • Show and tell for memory-box contents • Completion of seven learning stations during Pioneer Day • Student reflections on the unit
What could be wrong with such an approach? • Discuss in table groups • See Attachment 1 (pg. 19)
Rethink how we write curriculum Rethink how we plan units, develop lessons, design activities, and write assessments Goals for today
What will I understand? I will understand that . . . • student learning occurs when students have access to a quality curriculum built from backward design. I will understand that . . . • teaching and assessing for understanding enhances learning of content standards.
What will I know? • New vocabulary for talking about curriculum • The three stages of backward design
What will I be able to do? • Use a new curriculum template based on Understanding by Design (UbD) to plan my first unit of study
Where do we begin? • We begin with the end in mind and work from there. • In other words . . .
We use backward design Not “What book will we read?” But . . . “What should students walk out the door able to understand, regardless of what activities or texts we use?” “What is evidence of such ability? Not “What activities will we do?” What texts, activities, and methods will best enable such a result? Not “What will we discuss?”
Backward DesignThree Stages of UbD Stage 1: Identify Desired Results What do I want my students to understand, know, and be able to do? What questions do I want them to be able to answer about reading, literature, writing, listening, and speaking? Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence (Design Balanced Assessments) How will I know if my students know it and/or can do it? Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction What learning experiences and instruction will enable students to achieve the desired results?
What does this look like in our new curriculum template? We address the desired results before designing assessments or lessons. We are going to spend the morning talking about Stage 1
The Process of Backward Design: Stage 1 What relevant goals (Big Ideas) will this unit address? GOALS State Standards: TEKS SAT/ACT AP College Readiness-THEA NCTE
The next piece From Goals to Understandings
Enduring Understandings • What do we want students to understand about reading, literature, writing, listening, and speaking? • Is what we want them to understand worth knowing? • Does it have lasting value? • Can it transfer to other contexts? Students will understand THAT . . .
EUs: Bad to Best • Students will understand the Civil War. • Students will understand the causes of the Civil War. • Students will understand that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights issues more than over the morality of slavery.
Bad to Best Order the Enduring Understanding statements from Bad to Best • Students will know how to speak persuasively._____ • Speak persuasively in public._____ • Students will understand principles of persuasive speaking._____ • Students will understand that persuasion often involves an emotional appeal to the particular wishes, needs, hopes, and fears of an audience, regardless of the logic of the argument._____ • Verify ranking with your table group.
Enduring Understandings: Overarching and Topical • Overarching: More abstract and general; relate to many units of study • Students will understandthat word meanings can change, sometimes dramatically. • Topical: More specific; related to a single unit. • Students will understandthat some words have multiple meanings that can vary depending on the context of the sentence.
Checking for Understanding 1 • List common characteristics of properly framed Enduring Understandings. • Check with a partner
Now try this . . . • Use your list of characteristics as criteria to determine which of the following examples are effectively framed as Enduring Understandings. • Authors use specific transitional strategies to organize text. • Why writing style and presentation are determined by audience. • Comprehension strategies. • How to identify symbols. • Conflict drives plot and character development. • Comprehension is an interactive process. Thumbs Up – Thumbs Down
The next piece From Goals to Understandings From Understandings to Questions
Essential Questions What provocative questions will foster inquiry, understanding, and transfer of learning? These types of questions . . . • Often have no simple “right” answer • Raise other important questions • Address various levels of Bloom’s Here’s a tip: Student Expectations can often be turned into Essential Questions!
Overarching Literature What makes a great story? How do effective writers hook and hold their readers? TOPICAL Unit on Mysteries What is unique about the mystery genre? How do great mystery writers hook and hold their readers? Types of Questions
Checking for Understanding 2 • From Understandings to Questions Students will understand that persuasion often involves an emotional appeal to the particular wishes, needs, hopes, and fears of an audience, regardless of how logical and rational the argument. Your Essential Questions? Table Share
Design Tool with Prompts Topics and Big Ideas What essential questions are raised by this idea or topic? What, specifically, about reading, literature, writing, listening, or speaking do you want students to come to understand? Why study ___? So what? What makes the study of ___universal? What’s the Big Idea implied in the skill or process of ___? What larger concept, issue, or problem underlies ___? What couldn’t we do if we didn’t understand ___? How is ___ used and applied in the larger world? What is a real-world insight about___? What is the value of studying ___? Understandings: Questions:
Let’s Practice Use the template (Attachment 2, pg. 20) to write Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions for studying grammar.
The next piece From Goals to Understandings From Understandings to Questions From Questions to Knowledge and Skills
Knowledge and Skills Facts Concepts Vocabulary What key knowledge (vocabulary, facts, concepts) and skills will students acquire? Skills Processes Procedures What should students eventually be able to do as a result of such knowledge? KNOWLEDGE (declarative) SKILLS (procedural)
Example • Enduring Understandings: • Conflict drives plot and character development. • Conflict crosses time and culture. • Readers engage actively and strategically with text to understand conflict and its effects.
Knowledge Conflicts that motivate characters and those that serve to drive the plot. Literary elements: plot, character, setting, conflict, point of view After-reading strategies: summarizing, comparing, contrasting, synthesizing. Skills consider plot, character, setting, conflict, and point of view when constructing the meaning of a text. extend meaning by explaining the implications of the text for the reader or contemporary society. use after-reading strategies appropriate to both the text and the purpose for reading. Example
Knowledge Skills (What will students be able to do with the knowledge?) Let’s Practice Generate a list of Knowledge and Skills that reflect the Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions you developed for studying grammar.
Revisiting Westward Movement and Pioneer Life • Compare and contrast Westward Movement and Pioneer Life before backward design and after backward design. • (see attachment 3 and 4, pgs. 22-23)
Now that we’ve put the Stage 1 pieces together, what have we learned about backward design?
Instructional Planning Standards-based Practice Traditional Practice Select standards from among those students need to know and identify desired results Design an assessment through which students will have an opportunity to demonstrate those things Decide what learning opportunities students will need to learn those things and plan appropriate instruction to assure that each student has adequate opportunities to learn Use data from assessment to give feedback, reteach or move to next level Select a topic from the curriculum Design instructional activities Design and give an assessment Give grade or feedback Move on to a new topic
Lunch 11:30 – 12:45
Meet in grade-level teams by campus • Work through Stage 1 of the UbD template for a unit of study (Attachment 5, pg. 24) • Use the Identifying Essential Questions and Understandings Design Tool (Attachment 6, pg. 25 ) to get you started • Sample EUs & EQs can be found at the end of your handout (pgs. 36-44) Work from 1:00 – 2:00 Meet back with whole group at 2:10
Backward DesignStage 2 Stage 1: Identify Desired Results What do I want my students to understand, know, and be able to do? What questions do I want them to be able to answer about reading, literature, writing, listening, and speaking? Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence (Design Balanced Assessments) How will I know if my students know it and/or can do it?
Curricular Priorities and Assessment Methods • Assessment Methods • Traditional Quizzes and tests • Paper-and pencil • Selected-response • Constructed response • Performance tasks and projects • Complex • Open-ended • Authentic worth being familiar with important to know and do Big Ideas Enduring Understandings
Diverse Evidence informal observations tests academic performance checks for and and prompts tasks understanding dialogues quizzes
Jigsaw • See Attachment 7 (pg. 26) • Table groups: number 1-4, read section, report out to the group. Provide a specific classroom example to illustrate the type of evidence being addressed.
Collecting Acceptable and Sufficient Evidence • Use the design tool (Attachment 8, pg. 27) to help you think through effective assessments.
Backward DesignStage 3 Stage 1: Identify Desired Results What do I want my students to understand, know, and be able to do? What questions do I want them to be able to answer about reading, literature, writing, listening, and speaking? Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence (Design Balanced Assessments) How will I know if my students know it and/or can do it? Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction What learning experiences and instruction will enable students to achieve the desired results?
Stage 3 What learning experiences and instruction will enable students to achieve the desired results? How will the design W = Ensure that students understand WHERE the unit is headed and WHY. H = HOOK students in the beginning and HOLD their attention throughout. E = EQUIP students with necessary experiences, tools, knowledge, and know-how to meet performance goals. R = Provide students with numerous opportunities to RETHINK big ideas, REFLECT on progress, and REVISE their work. E = Build in opportunities for students to EVALUATE progress and self-assess. T = Be TAILORED to reflect individual talents, interests, styles, and needs. O – Be ORGANIZED to optimize deep understanding as opposed to superficial coverage.