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Understanding by design


Introduce and discuss the 3 stages of Understanding by Design (also known as Backward Design because you begin with the end in mind) Practice creating Enduring ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding by design

Understanding by design
  • CNG, September 27, 2010

Goals / Objectives
  • Introduce and discuss the 3 stages of
    Understanding by Design (also known as
    Backward Design because you begin with the end in
  • Practice creating Enduring Understandings and
    Essential Questions

Activating Prior Knowledge
  • In your groups, please generate a list in two
    minutes or less that encapsulates what you know
    about the topic you are given

Differentiation of Instruction
  • ContentWhat you teach
  • ProcessHow you teach it
  • ProductHow you assess what you taught
  • Student Interest
  • Student Readiness
  • Student Interest

Assessment FOR Learning
  • Balanced approach to assessment
  • Formativeongoing with consistent, specific
    feedback informs future teaching
  • Summativeculminating with specific feedback and
    guidance for future learning
  • Using a variety of assessment practices
  • Performance Assessments
  • Authentic experiences that require application of
    learning in meaningful ways for a particular

CNG Assessment Beliefs
  • Assessment takes a variety of forms
  • including self assessment, informal observation,
    projects, performance tasks and portfolios, oral
    responses and reports, short constructed
    responses, essays, forced choice items, amongst
  • Teachers should inform students in advance of
    content, concepts and skills that will be
    addressed in assessments.

CNG Assessment Beliefs
  • The type of test/assessment used to assess
    learning should be developmentally appropriate
    and determined by the nature of the learning
    outcomes and the types of learners being
  • In order to maximize learning, feedback on
    assessments is both specific and timely.

CNG Assessment Beliefs
  • It is invaluable for educators to collaboratively
    reflect on students work/learning in order to
    reflect upon instructional decisions and
  • Assessment is inseparably linked to instruction.
    Everything that is assessed is taught and is in
    the curriculum.
  • Effective assessment improves student learning,
    and the more we know about our students, the
    better teachers we become.

New Information
Understanding by Design Backward Design Process
  • Stage One Identifying Desired Results
  • Enduring Understandings
  • Essential Questions
  • Standards and Benchmarks
  • Stage Two Determining Acceptable Evidence of
  • Assessment-Formative and Summative
  • Valid, reliable, sufficient, and feasible
  • Stage Three Planning Learning Experiences and
  • Activities
  • Resources

Understanding by Design Connection to
Differentiation of Instruction
  • Stage One
  • Content (and Skills)What we teach
  • Stage Two
  • Product (Assessment)How we know students have
    learned what weve taught
  • Stage Three
  • ProcessHow we teachinstructional strategies and

Applying New Information
Unit Plans and UbD
  • Consider a unit/theme that you will do this year
    and identifying the Stages One (Desired
    Results), Two (Acceptable Evidence) and Three
    (Instructional Plan).
  • Is anything missing? If so, what?
  • How might you address or augment?

Stage One
  • Identifying Desired Results

Enduring Understandings
  • What do you think this means? Spend a minute
    thinking independently or talking with a
    neighbor. Jot down your ideas

Enduring Understandings
  • Jay McTighe Think about the words enduring
    understanding. Enduring What do you want to
    last and why? Five years from now after the kids
    forget all the details, after the quiz or the
    test, what do you hope they will still
    understand? Eight years from now, what do you
    want them to be able to do with knowledge and
    skills that you have taught? That is the idea of

Enduring Understandings
  • Transferable big ideas
  • Phrased as declarative sentences
  • Designed to promote student connections,
    insights, and applications
  • Specific enough to guide teaching and assessing
  • Framed by provocative Essential and Unit
  • Students will understand that

Sample Enduring Understandings
  • Scientific knowledge develops through carefully
    controlled investigations
  • Authors do not always say exactly what they mean
    and mean exactly what they say
  • Great artists often break with established
    traditions, conventions and techniques to better
    express what they see and feel
  • A president is not above the law

Applying New Information
Enduring Understandings Your TurnConsider a unit
and develop a few
  1. Represent enduring and transferable big ideas
    that have value beyond the classroom.
  2. Express big ideas and core processes at the heart
    of a discipline or content area.
  3. Help unpack abstract, counterintuitive, often or
    easily misunderstood ideas requiring uncoverage. 
  4. Help reveal the big ideas embedded in facts,
    skills, and activities.

Essential Questions
  • What do you think this means? Spend a minute
    thinking independently or talking with a
    neighbor. Jot down your ideas

Essential Questions
  • Jay McTighe We like to frame big ideas around
    essential questions. An essential question is a
    question that serves as a doorway for exploring a
    big idea, for uncovering the content. And,
    therefore, a good essential question typically
    doesnt have a single correct answer, and is a
    question that is debated and discussed in the
    field today, a question that can be fruitfully
    revisited again and again. And as we revisit the
    question, often we go deeper and develop a
    refined understanding of the topic.

Unit Questions Please choose one to answer on
your own
  1. What is the definition of history?
  2. What artists are culturally significant in
    Colombia (or any country you choose) this decade?
  3. How does the partial products algorithm work?
  4. What are the main ideas of the story The Princess
    and the Pea?
  5. What are the three most commonly broken laws?
  6. What are Newtons laws of gravity?
  7. What traits did you inherit from your parents?

Moving from Unit Questions to Essential Questions
  • Essential Questions are
  • Open-ended, interpretive questions
  • Go to the heart of your content
  • Promote student inquiry, investigation, and debate

Essential Questions
  1. Is history a history of progress?
  2. Does art reflect culture or shape it?
  3. Are mathematical ideas inventions or discoveries?
  4. Must a story have a beginning, middle, and end?
  5. When is a law unjust?
  6. Is gravity a fact or a theory?
  7. Is biology destiny?

Unit vs. Essential Questions
  • Provide subject and topic specific doorways to
    Essential Questions
  • Frame particular content and inquiry
  • Should provoke and sustain engagement of students
  • Often lead to the essential questions
  • Are open ended with a variety of possible answers
  • Provoke thought, discussion and often raise other
    important questions
  • Should provoke and sustain engagement of students
  • Lead students to the enduring understanding of
    the unit

Essential Qs Unit Qs
What is light? How do cats see in the dark? Is light a particle or a wave?
Is U.S. history a history of progress? Is the gap between rich and poor any better now than it was 100 years ago? Do new technologies always lead to progress?
Who is a friend? Are Frog and Toad true friends? Has it been true in recent U.S. history that the enemy of my enemy is my friend?
Must a story have a moral, heroes, and villains? What is the moral of the story of the Holocaust? Is Huck Finn a hero?
Applying New Information
Your turn Essential Questions
  1. They have no one obvious right answer.
  2. They raise other important questions, often
    across subject-area boundaries.
  3. They address the philosophical or conceptual
    foundations of a discipline.
  4. They recur naturally.
  5. They are framed to provoke and sustain student

Essential Questions Other thoughts
  • Use a reasonable number of questions per unit
    (two to four). Make less be more. Prioritize
    content for students to make the work clearly
    focus on a few key questions.
  • Edit the questions to make them as engaging and
    provocative as possible for the particular age
    group. Frame the questions in "kid language" as
  • Through a survey or informal check, ensure that
    every child understands the questions and sees
    their value.
  • Derive and design specific concrete exploratory
    activities and inquiries for each question.

Essential Questions Other thoughts
  • Post the overarching questions in the classroom,
    and encourage students to organize notebooks
    around them to emphasize their importance for
    study and note taking.
  • Help students personalize the questions.
    Encourage them to share examples, personal
    stories, and hunches, and to bring clippings and
    artifacts to class to help the questions come

Standards and Benchmarks
Standards and Benchmarks
  • CNG curriculum revision process has generated
    Standards and Benchmarks for all core curriculum
  • In ES we selected 3-6 per subject - to focus on
    in our planning, teaching, assessments and
    reporting out for trimester 1.
  • Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions
    flesh out deepen St/Bm content/concepts/skills.

Stage Two
  • Determining Acceptable Evidence

Stage Two Determining Acceptable Evidence aka
  • Valid and reliable measures of targeted
  • Sufficient information to support inferences
    about each students learning
  • Opportunities for students to exhibit their
    understandings through authentic performance
  • Atlas Rubicon provides a drop down menu that
    attaches each assessment to standards and
    benchmarks already chosen for the unit

Stage Three
  • Planning Learning Experiences and Instruction

Your instructional plans
  • Students know where they are going and why
    (knowledge of unit goals, performance
    requirements and evaluative criteria)
  • Students are engaged in digging into the big
    ideas of the unit (through inquiry, research,
    problem solving, and experimentation)
  • Students receive explicit instruction on the
    knowledge and skills needed to equip them for the
    required performances
  • Students have opportunities to rehearse, revise,
    and refine their work based on feedback
  • Students self-assess and set goals prior to the
    conclusion of the unit

  • Textbooks Teacher Editions
  • Handouts
  • Websites
  • Student exemplars
  • Teacher exemplars
  • Rubrics
  • List of materials

A final thought
  • A key challenge in teaching for understanding is
    to make the student's view of knowledge and
    coming-to-know more sophisticated by revealing
    the problems, controversies, and assumptions that
    lie behind much given and seemingly unproblematic
    knowledge. The work that teachers design should
    demonstrate to students that there is always a
    need to make sense of content knowledge through
    inquiries and applicationsto get beyond dutiful
    assimilation to active reflection, testing, and
    meaning making.

Exit Slip
  • Please reflect on what youve learned just now
    specifically related to Enduring Understandings
    and Essential Questions.
  • Share one or two big ideas you are leaving with
  • Share one question you still have.
  • -Understanding by Design PD-
  • Julie Hunt
  • ES Principal
  • Sept. 27/10
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