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Backward Planning. Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations. Essential Question:. How do we plan engaging, authentic teaching and learning that is meaningful to our students?. Guiding Question:.

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Backward planning

Backward Planning

Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations

Essential question

Essential Question:

How do we plan engaging, authentic teaching and learning that is meaningful to our students?

Guiding question

Guiding Question:

How does high stakes testing, AMOs, meeting the needs of our EPSS influence what we have been doing as we plan teaching and learning?

Backward planning


Ten common principles

Ten Common Principles

  • Focus on students using their minds well

  • Less is more (limited # of essential knowledge & skills)

  • All students achieve in their own time and way

  • Learning is personalized

  • Student as worker, teacher as coach

  • Students demonstrate mastery through performance

  • Tone of decency with high expectation

  • Staff as generalists

  • Commitment to change

  • Honor democratic diversity

Overview of backward planning

Overview of Backward Planning

1. Where do we want students to go?

2. How will we know they know?

3. How will we help them get there?

Historically how did we decide what to teach

Historically, how did we decide what to teach?

Pair Share with a person you are sitting beside

Group Share

Your ideas

Your Ideas:

How do you know what s relevant or engaging for your students

How do you know what’s relevant or engaging for your students?

  • Pair Share

  • Group Share

Your ideas1

Your Ideas



How can teachers take what we find is relevant and meaningful to our students and use the required concepts for teaching and learning?

Your ideas2

Your Ideas:



  • Broad

  • Universal

  • Timeless



  • Beauty

  • Change

  • Courage

  • Freedom

  • Patterns

  • Happiness

  • Rights/Responsibilities

Engaging relevance

Engaging Relevance

  • How do you connect topics to student relevance?

Your ideas3

Your Ideas:

Backward planning


Essential questions

Essential Questions

  • What do you think they are?

    Share in double pair-share groups.

Your ideas4

Your Ideas:

Essential questions1

Essential Questions

  • Address the essence of what you want to teach

  • Concept based

  • Require rigorous thinking

  • Are open ended

  • Generate personalized interest

  • Reflect the REAL WORLD of students



How is the quality of the water where I live affected by what I do in my environment?

Your examples

Your Examples:

Guiding questions

Guiding Questions

  • Provide part of the answer to the essential question

  • Are student focused

  • Can provide the topic for learning sections

  • Require students to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding



  • Where does our water come from?

  • What do I do that is good for water?

  • What can each of us do to support our water system?

Standards based design

Standards Based Design

Select grade level benchmarks connected to the :


*Essential question

*Guiding questions

These are the big ideas which we call essential learnings or learning targets.

Performance standards

Performance Standards

  • Under each Benchmark are the performances your students can use for practice to hit the learning targets.



  • Based on the learning targets and relevant performances, how do you know they know?

  • Discuss in groups

Your ideas5

Your Ideas:



  • Use real settings

  • Require students to address an audience

  • Base the purpose on the audience

  • Allow students to personalize the task

  • Students know the task, the learning target and criteria in advance

Authentic assessments

Authentic Assessments

  • Are realistic

  • Require thinking

  • Ask students to DO learning

  • Are complex

  • Take advantage of learning opportunities

So how do you get there

So how do you get there?

  • Discuss in groups

Your ideas6

Your ideas:



  • Based on the performance standards, decide what significant tasks will support learning of your students

  • Plan opportunities to practice

  • Decide how to asses progress (pencil and paper tests, mini-demonstrations, observations, self assessment, group assessment, written responses, etc.)

Where do we go from here

Where do we go from here?

Action plan

Lesson plan template

Time for planning





Backward planning

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. If the horse becomes thirsty, however, he will eat sand from your hand.

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