Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Understanding by Design Chapter 1

I first read this book in March 2011, which as some people will know, was when Japan was going through a small crisis. I was living in Sendai at the time, but was not on the coast.

I think I could get more out of it with a second reading.

Note: This website has great information. In fact, there is a ton of UbD information online.

Chapter 1 - Backward Design

Why backward design?
If you don't know where you are going, then any road can get you there. Teaching with the end in sight allows for a focused curriculum.

"Curriculum should lay out the most effective ways of achieving specific results." (14)
"Too many teachers focus on the teaching, and not on the learning." (15)

The Twin Sins of Traditional Design
Hands on without being Minds on + Coverage = No guiding intellectual purpose or clear priorities frame the learning experience. (16)

Students should be able to answer about activities: (17)

  • What they are doing
  • Why they are doing it
  • What it will help them do
  • How it fits with what they previously did
  • How they will show what they have learned

The Three Stages of Backward Design
1) Identify desired results

Consider the goals, identify the standards, review curriculum expectations

2) Determine acceptable evidence

Think like an assessor

3) Plan learning experiences and instruction

  • What enabling knowledge (facts, concepts  principles) and skills (processes, procedures, strategies) will students need in order to perform effectively and achieve desired results?
  • What activities will equip students with the needed knowledge and skills?
  • What will need to be taught and coached, and how should it best be taught, in light of performance goals?
  • What materials and resources are best suited for the learning?

A backward design template
Taken from www.wku.edu/.../designing_lesson_plans_using_backward_design.pdf

Design Standards

Here is another great resource that summarizes some UbD information.

The following was taken from the preceeding.

Enduring Understandings
Enduring Understandings are core generalizations about the big ideas. They are unobvious inferences drawn from the facts. An enduring understanding is an inference that requires inquiry and student-centered construction if it isto be understood. Just stating an Enduring Understanding does not mean that a student will understand it. Enduring Understandings include overarching understandings which focus on transferable, recurring ideas as well as topical
understandings that focus on a very specific idea in a content area or course. They relate to the real world and help to answer the question, “Why do we care?”

Guiding Questions
Guiding Questions direct whatstudentsstudy and investigate about a subject’s enduring concepts, important generalizations, critical content items, and processes and skills. Guiding
Questions are open-ended: there is no “single” answer. Guiding Questions are arguable and require a well-reasoned response. Such questions are generative in nature: they spark
inquiry and raise other questions. They are recurring questions that can and should be revisited. Guiding Questions lead students to the big ideas, or enduring understandings and core
processes. Just asthere are overarching and topical understandings, there are overarching and topical guiding questions. Teachers use guiding questions to organize programs, courses, and units of study.

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