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Plan Backward, Teach Forward: Incorporating Tiered Assignments into UBD By Montize Aaron & Elizabeth Brisch Pattonville School District
In effective classrooms, teachers consider the following: • Whom they teach (students) • Where they teach (learning environment) • What they teach (content) • How they teach (instruction)
UbD focuses on the “What” and “How”. “Its primary goal is delineating and guiding application of sound principles of curriculum design.”
Differentiated Instruction focuses on the “Whom”, “Where” and “How”. “Its primary goal is ensuring that teachers focus on processes and procedures that ensure effective learning for varied individuals.”
UbD and DI together reflect the best of content and learner-centered planning, teaching and assessing
Tiered assignments are designed to facilitate learning for all students in a classroom regardless of experience, skill, or ability in the specific lesson content, process, and product. They are intended to provide a better instructional match between students and their individual needs.
Six Ways to Structure Tiered Assignments • Tiered by challenge level • Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy • Depth of Knowledge (DOK) • 6 Facets of Learning • Tiered by complexity • Address needs of students who are at introductory levels, as well as those who are ready for more abstract, analytical, or advanced work • More advanced, not just more work • Tiered by resources • Choosing materials at various reading levels and complexity of content according to instructional need and/or readiness • Tiered by outcome • Use the same materials, but outcomes are determined by student readiness • Tiered by process • Students work on similar outcomes, but go through different processes • Tiered by product • Gardner’s multiple intelligences
When are Tiered Assignments Helpful? • Are there points when some students need more time and others are ready for more advanced work (the exit points on your curriculum map)? • Tier by challenge • Tier by complexity • Is there an activity in which varied resources could be matched with student readiness? • Tier by resources • Is there an activity in which the same resources could be used to work on basic and advanced outcomes? • Tier by outcomes • Is there an activity in which students could benefit from working toward the same outcome, but by doing different kinds of work? • Tier by process • Is there an activity that students could show that they’ve learned in more than one way? • Tier by product
Deciding When & How to Tier an Assignment • Five questions to ask yourself during planning • Are there points when some students need more time to work on content or a skill and other students are ready for more advanced work? • Is there an activity in which varied resources could be matched with student needs and readiness? • Is there an activity in which the same materials could be used to work on both basic & more advanced outcomes? • Is there an activity in which students could benefit from working on the same outcome but doing different kinds of work? • Is there an activity that could result in more than one way for students to show what they’ve learned?
Types of choice activities • Tic-tac-toe menu • Total of 8 predetermined choices and one free choice • Choices can be written to meet the different learning styles needs, or to meet the different thinking levels • Benefits • Flexibility – can cover one topic in depth, or three different objectives • Easy for students to understand • Weighting – all projects are equally weighted, so grading and paperwork are easily accomplished • Limitations • Few topics – covers one or three topics • Short time period – intended for 1-3 week study
Types of choice activities • List Menu • More complex than a tic-tac-toe menu • Total of at least 10 predetermined choices • Each has its own point value • At least one free choice for students • Points are assigned based on Bloom’s (or DOK, or 6 Facets) • Choices carry different weights and have different expectations for completion time and effort • Point criterion is set for 100%, and students choose how to attain that point goal • Benefits • Students have complete control over their grades • Concept reinforcement • Allows for in-depth study of material for those who are ready, and gives time for those still learning to choose projects to reinforce the basics • Limitations • Best when used for just one topic in depth • Teachers must have all materials for all possible projects ready at the start of the unit
Types of choice activities • 2-5-8 Menu • Variation of the list menu, with a total of at least 8 predetermined choices • At least 2 choices from the two lowest levels of Bloom’s • At least 4 choices from the next two levels of Bloom’s • At least 2 choices from the highest levels of Bloom’s • All levels of choices carry different weights and have different expectations for completion time and effort • Students are expected to earn 10 points for a 100% • Benefits • Students have complete control over their grades • Students must complete at least one activity at a higher level of Bloom’s in order to reach their goal • Limitations • Works best with one topic • No free choice (unless student is familiar with creating projects according to Bloom’s • Most students will only complete one activity from the highest levels of Bloom’s
Directions: Choose two activities from the menu below. The activities must total 10 points. Place a checkmark next to each box to show which activities you will complete. All activities must be completed by _____________.
Types of choice activities • Game Show Menu • Most complex • Covers multiple topics or objectives • At least 3 predetermined choices and a free choice for each objective • Choices are assigned points based on Bloom’s levels (DOK or 6 Facets) • Choices have different weights and different expectations for completion time and effort • Point criterion set forth that equals 100% • Students must complete one activity from each objective to reach their goal • Benefits • Free choice for students • Students have control over final grade • Allows for different learning levels, as students can contract for a certain number of points for a grade • Students complete an activity for each objective • Limitations • Students and teachers must meet to assure expectations are understood • Intended for a 4-6 week study
Guidelines: • You must choose at least one activity from each topic area. • You may not do more than two activities in any one topic area for credit. • Grading will be ongoing, so turn in products as you complete them. • All free-choice proposals must be turned in and approved prior to working on that free choice. • You must earn 120 points for a 100%. You may earn extra credit up to ___ points. • You must show your plan for completion by ______________.
How do I begin? • Determine objective(s) • Decide whether to write tasks geared toward different learning styles or levels of thinking? • Design enough tasks to fill your menu choice • Gather materials needed for products • To start, create an all-purpose rubric for menu products • As this process becomes more comfortable, specialized rubrics can be created and shared
References • Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom by Diane Heacox, Ed.D. • Differentiating Instruction with Menus by Laurie E. Westphal • Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design by Jay McTighe & Carol Ann Tomlinson • Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe