Understanding by design An overview
Two central questions <ul><li>What is good design? </li></ul><ul><li>What is understanding? </li></ul>
Principles of understanding by design <ul><li>It is a way of thinking purposefully about curricular planning. </li></ul><u...
Principles of understanding by design <ul><li>Planning is best done “backward” from the desired results </li></ul><ul><ul>...
Understanding is not the same as knowledge
Understanding vs Knowledge <ul><li>“ She knows how to do math but doesn’t really understand it.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ He kn...
An absence of understanding <ul><li>We see this frequently in student work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual misunderstandi...
An absence of understanding <ul><li>10 th  grade English reading item </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A fellow fourth-grader...
U by D demands a shift in focus <ul><li>From: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach for content mastery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D...
Clarifying Content Priorities <ul><li>Content that is worth being familiar with </li></ul><ul><li>Content that is importan...
What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Provides a conceptual lens for prioritizing content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refers to core con...
What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Serves as an organizer for connecting important facts, skills, and actions </li></ul><ul><ul...
What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Transfer to other contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discrete facts do not transfer. Big ideas e...
What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>They manifest themselves in various ways </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Core concepts - adaptation </...
What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Requires “uncoverage” because it is an abstraction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meanings are not ob...
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Understanding by-design

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Understanding by-design

  1. 1. Understanding by design An overview
  2. 2. Two central questions <ul><li>What is good design? </li></ul><ul><li>What is understanding? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Principles of understanding by design <ul><li>It is a way of thinking purposefully about curricular planning. </li></ul><ul><li>The end goal is learner understanding and the ability to transfer learnings </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of understanding is revealed through performance-when learners transfer knowledge and skills effectively </li></ul>
  4. 4. Principles of understanding by design <ul><li>Planning is best done “backward” from the desired results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 1- Identify Desired Results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 2- Determine Acceptable Evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 3- Plan Learning Experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content standards are transformed into targets based upon “big ideas,” enduring understandings, essential questions, knowledge & Skills </li></ul>
  5. 5. Understanding is not the same as knowledge
  6. 6. Understanding vs Knowledge <ul><li>“ She knows how to do math but doesn’t really understand it.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ He knows the meaning of the words but doesn’t understand the sentence.” </li></ul><ul><li>An understanding is a MENTAL CONSTRUCT , an abstraction made by the human mind to make sense of many distinct pieces of knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if students UNDERSTAND , then they can provide evidence of that understanding by showing that they know and can do certain specific things. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. An absence of understanding <ul><li>We see this frequently in student work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual misunderstandings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rote memorization of facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rote memorization of procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No transfer of learning to “real world” situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NAEP 8 th grade test item </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How many buses does the Army need to transfer 1128 soldiers if each bus holds 36 soldiers? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>40% of test takers answered “31, remainder 12” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. An absence of understanding <ul><li>10 th grade English reading item </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A fellow fourth-grader broke the news to me after she saw my effort on a class assignment involving scissors and construction paper. “You cut out a purple bluebird,” she said. There was no reproach in her voice, just as certain puzzlement. Her observation opened my eyes-not that my eyes particularly helped-to the fact that I am colorblind. In my years since, I’ve been trying to understand what that means. I’m not sure I do… Unlike lefthanders, however, we seem disinclined to rally around this particular deviation from the norm. Thus there is no ready source of information about how many presidents, or military heroes, or rock singers have been colorblind. Based on the law of averages, though, there must have been some. We are everywhere, trying to cope, trying to blend in. Usually we succeed. Until someone spots our purple bluebirds, then the jig is up. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The selection is best described as </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A biography </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A scientific article </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An essay </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An investigative report </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>71% get this item incorrect. Many students said it could not have been an essay because “it was funny” and because it “had more than five paragraphs .” </li></ul>
  9. 9. U by D demands a shift in focus <ul><li>From: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach for content mastery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discrete skills or facts out of context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Linear” superficial coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text as Curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help students learn to use content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Draw on skills in realistic contexts & authentic tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A curriculum based upon reoccurring “big ideas” and core tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text as a resource in support of learning goals </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Clarifying Content Priorities <ul><li>Content that is worth being familiar with </li></ul><ul><li>Content that is important to know and do </li></ul><ul><li>“Big Ideas” </li></ul>
  11. 11. What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Provides a conceptual lens for prioritizing content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refers to core concepts, principles, theories and processes that serve as the focal point for curricula, instruction and assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big ideas reflect expert understanding and anchor discourse, inquiries, discoveries and arguments in a field of study </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Serves as an organizer for connecting important facts, skills, and actions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big ideas are “conceptual velcro” for a topic of study. They connect discrete knowledge and skills into a larger intellectual frame and they serve as a “bridge’ for linking facts and skills. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Transfer to other contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discrete facts do not transfer. Big ideas embody transferable ideas, applicable to other topics, inquires, issues, problems. Big ideas provide the conceptual “posts” that anchor a coherent curriculum and allow us to make important connections. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>They manifest themselves in various ways </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Core concepts - adaptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A focusing theme – man’s inhumanity to man </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An ongoing issue or debate – conservative vs liberal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A puzzling paradox- poverty amidst plenty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An important process- the writing process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An authentic problem- voter apathy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An illuminating theory- manifest destiny </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An underlying assumption- markets are rational </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What is a “Big Idea”? <ul><li>Requires “uncoverage” because it is an abstraction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meanings are not obvious, thus big ideas are open to misinterpretations and misconceptions </li></ul></ul>

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