Putting Understanding by Design into Practice

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Putting Understanding by Design into Practice. Northern Ohio Professional Development February 7, 2014 . Understanding by Design (UbD) Basics. * Start with the end in mind(essential questions, student goals /I-Cans, standards/benchmarks) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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PuttingUnderstanding by Design into PracticeNorthern Ohio Professional DevelopmentFebruary 7, 2014

Understanding by Design (UbD) Basics* Start with the end in mind(essential questions, student goals /I-Cans, standards/benchmarks)* Figure out what tasks/evidence can show that students have understood the concepts* Create your lesson plans/maps

See the Backwards Design Process and Appendix AUbD in a Nutshell pages in the handout for more information

Part I: Giant StepsELA Curriculum Team Workshop, June 2013After learning some basics about UbD and participating in discussions/activities dealing with the material, we each began working on one unit from a course we would be teaching.Since I was beginning a new grade level, I started with one of the unit templates for 10th Grade English IIoriginally titled Unit 4A Troubled Young Nation, written as a 6-week unit based on the essential question How do we decide who is included as an American?Part I: Giant Steps, continuedAfter reviewing the original standards/ benchmarks, essential question, suggested activities, and suggested material, I started with the understanding I wanted students to come away with: Big Ideas, Significant Concepts, and Objectives. What did I want the Enduring Understanding to be for the studentsthe big picture, the general themes, the universal lesson that could stay with them through multiple years/classes/curricular areas?

Part I: Giant StepsIn the template, I listed under Big Ideas: Freedom, Democracy, Acceptance, Fairness, and SystemsUnder Significant Concepts I included: Point of view, Voices of the Oppressed, and Fighting for FreedomUnder Objectives, I included: Explore the concept of freedom, Explore the idea of systems vs. individualsThis led me to the general statement of Enduring Understanding: Regardless of what the law says, if you dont believe you are free, it doesnt matter.

Part I: Giant StepsThese first steps led me to a revised unit title and essential question.Title: The Balance of Freedom and OppressionEssential Question: How do we know we are free?Now that I had a focus, I reviewed the suggested content, narrowed it down, added some of my own ideas, and then re-checked the CCSS Standards for the unit to help guide my activities/assessments.

Part I: Giant StepsNow I was ready to apply the focus of the essential question to specific student skills through assessments and activities.

Using the Unit Requirements as a guideline, here are some examples of activities I plan to use:Structured Discussion: A Seminar focused on reactions to Kate Chopins The Story of an HourOral Presentations: Create a choral reading of The Gettysburg AddressPart I: Giant StepsShort Writing Assignments: Letter writing activity to the President about a restricted freedom, crafting an un-dialected version of a Sojourner Truth passage, creating an original dictionary entry for freedom21st Century Skills: Find a credible online article about one of the historic figures in the unit and cite it correctlyNon-print Texts: Listen to negro spirituals from the period and discuss lyrics/tone, view examples art depicting plantation life and journal about them, view Civil War photography and write a reactionPart II: Baby StepsWorking the Concepts into Your Unit Design NowRealistically, we are mid-year and have existing curriculum. Here are some ways you can work it in:Integrate visual texts/artwork. There are unlimited resources online, and it is an easy way to open a discussion, kick off a paper, or react in a journal

Choose one strategy and work it into your current curriculum. For example, in Unit 1, I tried out Socratic Seminars with a Puritan sermon and The Crucible. In Unit 3, I am focusing on Close Reads and text-dependent questions.

Part II: Baby StepsWorking the Concepts into Your Unit Design NowUse your district assessment data. In the 1st EOC, I saw that delineating arguments and recognizing the function of a part of a document to the whole were weak points for my students. In Unit 2, I focused on these skills while covering historical documents like the Declaration of Independence.

Starting small will help make it less stressful for you, and you can try out a new strategy with existing content.Part III: Insights and Obstacles+ Gathering in Chicago was inspiring and built enthusiasm. It also provided 2 valuable resources: uninterrupted time and access to wonderful resourcescolleagues from across the system.

+ I was starting from scratch with a new class and grade levelI had no emotional attachment to previous content/curriculum, so I was willing to try and to discard ideas.

Part III: Insights and Obstacles- Realistically, I no longer have uninterrupted blocks of time and am at a new school where there is not the support of a department with whom to discuss ideas.

- Everything is trial and error. My plans/ideas and pacing do not always match, and there are so many limitations on our time in class due to testing, days off for weather this winter, etc.

Part III: Insights and ObstaclesWhat is the benefit? Why is it worth the effort?I know that I am a better teacher when I plan with purpose and an end goal in mindthis helps me focus on the big picture of what I want my students to take away from a unit.One of my biggest concerns for high school students is their ability to independently demonstrate the knowledge and skills they will need at college or work, and this helps me plan activities with that idea in mind.

Part III: Insights and Obstaclesthe first question for curriculum writers is not:What will we teach and when should we teach it?Rather the initial question for curriculum development must be goal focused:Having learned key content, what will students be able to do with it?The ultimate aim of a curriculum is independent transfer; i.e., for students to be able to employ their learning, autonomously and thoughtfully, to varied complex situations, inside and outside of school. Lacking the capacity to independently apply their learning, a student will be neither college nor workplace ready.From: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay-mctighe-grant-wiggins

Questions/Discussion?

Thank you for allowing me to share some of my experiences with you!