Archive for the 'Understanding by Design' Category

Consistency in learning

Do we have consistency in learning in our classes?  Do we translate our ending goals into daily learning?    Do our tests, quizzes, and daily classroom activities reflect that same learning?  This backward planning follows the Understanding by Design model. For example, if a social studies curriculum wants students to  answer  the universal questions of Why is there war?,  How do people fight wars? and What are the consequences of wars?, then social studies book tests should  not have  students memorize the names and dates of battles for a particular war in a specific country.  That microscopic view does not help students answer the essential questions.

Likewise, if modern language teachers want their students to be able to converse in the target language, then do students spend most of their time in class conversing?  Do the language tests reflect conversations or do these tests focus on discrete grammar and vocabulary?

Do English teachers who want their students to be better writers  really focus on writing?   Do  these teachers spend more  class time on  doing punctuation exercises than on  developing good ideas?  Do they have their  students spend more time watching a movie than writing about the movie?

When teachers  want to improve subject area learning through Web 2.0 tools,  do the students spend more time on the technology or on the content learning?

I do not believe that we need to add more days to the school year to improve student learning.  I believe that we can increase learning  best when we are consistent in what we want students to learn and then following through in our daily activities, in our quizzes and in our tests.

How consistent are you in your students’ learning?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

No Real Destination No Real Learning

I enjoy “talking” with other teachers.  However, I am often amazed at how  they  describe the final learning destination.

A writing teacher may say, “We are doing contrast essays”, a modern language teacher says, “I want my students to speak the language”, a social studies teacher says “My students will be citizens of the world.”  What does each of these mean in a practical sense? How will these teachers know if their  students have reached the final destination  and how well they have done it?  Would another educator be able to identify the  same success?

I have been working in developing some foreign language assessments so that I can quantify the various types of speaking and how well students do on each.  I do not want to say “My students speak the language”  which is a vague concept but to specify what type speaking they do  and how well they do each. Once I can identify what the end learning looks like/sounds like, I can work backward to provide scaffolded  steps to help the students get there at a high level. In addition, I can build in formative assessment to monitor their upward process.

In order for athletes to win, they visualize exactly what they will do; they visualize their success.  Our students need to visualize exactly what they are to do.

How do you identify the end learning for the students so they can become successful at it?  How do they climb the ladder of success in that learning goal?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

New article for Wiggins’ Big Ideas Website

I have had another article, Distributed Practice for Success, published at Grant Wiggins’ Big Idea website: Exploring the Essential Questions of Education.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

In Medias Res (in the Middle) or From the Beginning

My wife and I went to a movie. It took me a long time to figure out what was happening until they did some flashbacks. I felt very lost just jumping into the middle of the movie.  Where do you begin your unit planning? Do you start in deciding on the standard, the particular aspect and then the learning goal? Or do you jump right into the activities you will do in the unit?

Understanding by Design advocates starting with the standard, the assessment, and then the activity so that “the end is always in mind”. Without a firm view of your “end” you will not be able to measure student learning against the standard. f you plan “in medias res”, you cannot be sure if you activities truly help the student reach the learning goal. Also, you may not be focusing on the essential ideas for the standard but, instead, on some very minor learning. Likewise, with a firm view of the “end” learning, you may focus on students’ minor errors that are not the most serious errors.

The preplanning (standard and assessment) for the lesson gives a foundation for all you do in the unit. Start from the beginning so your students can arrive at the end.

For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

Meaningful Learning for Students

A squirrel got in our basement. He is hiding and will not come out.

I wonder how often students get trapped in our classes. They attend and they do the mandatory work. They eat away at all the homework.  I wonder how often they get motivated by the learning to come out of their “do not bother me” hiding place.  Do they see the classroom learning as critical to the lives?  “When am I ever going to use this in my life?” How do we constantly show them the big picture of their learning so that they see how it does relate to their lives?   One high school teacher I know teaches themes (reality/illusion; fantasy love/real love; work/ideas) that are important to his students through literature. Each piece of literature helps his students to deal with their current and future lives.  I’ve heard of a  science teacher who  incorporates his class science into household science so that the students see science as part of their daily lives.

How do you relate your course to your students’ lives in a real way, not a “someday you’ll need it” way? Do they want to learn your subject because it means something to them now?

Big Things (Learning) First

As I was packing the car yesterday, I realized that I was following the way my father packed the car  He always packed the big things first and then worked the little things around the big things.

I wonder how often we pack the big ideas, the major concepts in the standard, first with students. Do we lead off the unit with telling them about the standard? Do we instruct them directly on the big ideas?  Do we give them activities that clearly focus on the big ideas? Do we assess them on the big ideas?

I remember watching a teacher who did a half period introductory activity to the unit. The activity was engaging.  However, it did not deal with the big ideas of the unit but with a very minor point.

Do you pack the big ideas first with your students?

Which technology serves our educational purpose? -NECC

Backward Design

Based on the many sessions and poster sessions at NECC, I see that podcast is the “in” thing. My question is “Why is it better for a specific learning than another technology?” Using the Backward Design model, I thought we were to

– identify the standard
– identify the specific component of the standard
– figure out how we will assess it
– select the activity
– then choose the technology

If teachers say they want to podcast, then they are jumping to the absolute last decision instead of starting at the most important decision (the standard).

Where do you start?

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

 

Planning for Technology-Infused Learning Projects: Understanding by Design Model

A very useful form for helping to plan any learning activity in schools is Grant and Wiggins Understanding by Design. Here is a slight modification of it for use in planning technology-infused or technology integration projects.

Teacher:

Subject:

Grade Level:

Number of Students:

Length of Lesson/Unit/Project (in days):

Stage 1: Identify desired results

– What enduring understandings are desired?
– What essential questions will guide this project and focus teaching/learning?
– What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit?
– What prior learning, interests, misconceptions, and conceptual difficulties might students bring to this lesson?

II. Determine acceptable evidence
What evidence will show that students understand the expected learning?
What will be the performance task?
Will a state rubric be used to assessed the evidence?
And what other a teacher made standards-based assessment will be used?
How often will students be assessed during the project?

 

III. Plan learning experiences and instruction
What sequence of teaching and learning experiences will enable the students to develop and demonstrate the desired understandings?
What technology and other resources will be used?

 

One resource that includes good description about each stage is

http://www.lttechno.com/nlu/handouts/tie536/unitrubric.doc

If you have a UBD format lesson plan that you use for planning technology-infused learning, please share it. As we help teachers to plan using this model, we help them to plan for worthwhile instruction achieved through technology.

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Essential Data Driven Purposeful Technology Use for Student Learning

Aseltine et al’s Supervision for Learning (ASCD, 2006, pgs 23-24 ) has four tests to guide teachers in selecting what their slice of improvement for the year will be. These questions are consistent with the Understanding by Design model of Wiggins and McTighe

1. Essential Teaching and Learning. Does the target represent an area of essential teaching and learning for the teacher’s grade level and content area?

2. Schoolwide and District Data. Does an analysis of schoolwide or district performance data suggest that the target is an area needing improvement

3. Classroom Assessment. Does an analysis of classroom assessment data confirm the target as an area needing improvement?

4. The School and District Improvement Plan. Does the target correspond to an area of emphasis in the district or school’s improvement plan?

I would add that these same questions should be asked when teachers plan to infuse technology into learning. When they use these four questions, then they are using technology to support essential learning rather than using technology to support non-essential learning. Then technology use supports building goals and are not just a great add-on.

Try asking these questions before your next project.


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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