Curriculum, Planning, Instruction, and Assessment Question and Answer
Principal is the “point of contact” regarding the actual plan (superintendent will follow up). • Administrators are working on a new supervision model and some PD that invites reflection on how classrooms will look, given the new curricula and UbD planning. • UbD invites active learning, inquiry and many other tangible practices associated with renewed curricula. • The plan is only the first part of the great teaching we are contractually obligated to do.
If you could set up a unit planning kit for UbD, what would you put in it?
Curricular outcomes that clarify the parameters while inviting personalization by teachers and students. • Clarification of the big pieces – enduring understandings and essential questions. • Ways to invite maximum engagement by all students. • Pre-assessments and strong, frequent formative assessments. • Summative assessments that establish criteria right at the beginning of planning and are authentic, invite deep thinking and application of learning. • A learning plan that is pro-active, differentiated, resource-supported and focused.
Regardless of the “template”, UbD follows the following process: • Come to understand the outcomes completely and how they are connected beyond the classroom. • Determine criteria and design assessments that measure a student’s demonstration of the outcome. • Design a learning plan that addresses the outcome and the criteria within the assessment. UbD
What are the expectations when you have new curriculum… can teachers teach the new curriculum without going through the whole process of UBD?
A curriculum document has more expectations listed than the outcomes. Outcomes are embedded in the documents along with the BALs, CCCs, active construction of meaning, inquiry, higher levels of thinking, FNM and Inuit ways of knowing and so on. UbD process addresses key elements of curriculum.
The advantage of UbD is how deeply we, as teachers, come to understand the intent of the outcome in order to structure learning experiences that tightly align with this intention. By not using the process, there is the danger of the classroom experiences not leading directly to the desired learning. It is also harder to differentiate.
Do each of the indicators need to be reflected in either the know/understand/do part of the UBD?
The indicators clarify the depth and breadth of learning experiences necessary for students to achieve the outcome to its full intent. • Examining each indicator is important. • If a teacher chooses not to explore a particular indicator, they need to look at that indicator and clarify its intent and then substitute it with another learning experience that will arrive at that same intent. • Teachers should feel confident in organizing the learning experiences in a way that makes sense for their students. • Differentiated practices would encourage pre-assessments to determine if each and every student needs to participate in every learning experience in the same way.
Indicators tell us Dos and Knows but not the Understands. • This is the piece that is often missing in the planning and learning experience. • We do not summatively assess every indicator…only the outcome.
Is it necessary to circle the nouns and underline the verbs or can you just break it down using bullets to show the components?
Ultimately, this is a personal choice. However, circling the verbs helps immensely when we arrive at the Assessment portion of the plan. The verb clarifies the level of thinking required by students to demonstrate their learning and it clarifies the criteria.
Could you clarify the difference between a Big Idea, an Enduring Understanding and an Essential Question?
These terms are used various ways in various literature. The NESD has adopted the following understanding of these various terms: A Big Idea or Big Question (it can be formed as either a statement of a question) is big enough and important enough that we would hope our students continue to reflect on it for their entire lives. It is also big enough to likely be explored in more than one subject area and could be part of classroom discussions and reflection for the entire year. An example of a Big Question is “Who am I?”
Essential Questions are also important questions that should prompt many answers and deep reflection. These kinds of questions should remain important for months at a time and will probably lead to connections for students in future learning. They often link to the curriculum and ask students to reflect on why the various outcomes are important. In a unit of study, there will be several essential questions that frame student learning.
Enduring understandings are similar to essential questions in their depth. They are statements of understanding we hope students will come to as a result of the learning experiences they have in our classes. They, too, link more directly to the curriculum and the reasons for exploring the outcomes. They often begin with, “Students will understand that…” There should be several enduring understandings we hope students come to in a single unit of study.
Big question : Does order matter? Enduring Understandings: • That numbers are symbols which represent something else (an amount) • That solving problems can mean manipulating numbers in certain ways Essential Questions: • What are numbers? • How can I solve problems containing numbers? • What are all the ways I can use numbers?
After we "unpack" the outcomes, are we then to start planning our assessment that fits the outcomes?
First we will choose which outcomes will go together to form a unit. Then we look at the outcomes we have chosen and determine criteria (how will I know when students have achieved this outcome? What will I see and hear?) From there, we design our assessments, which include formative assessments, summative assessments and pre-assessments.
I am struggling with the connections between the Learning Plan and the unpacked outcomes. Can you help me with this?
The Learning Plan is the order of the learning experiences you feel it is necessary for students to have in order to achieve the outcomes and come to understand what is most important (enduring understandings). The Learning Plan is largely influenced by the assessment tool, which has been created based on the criteria.
DI, in a UbD unit, would be built in just as it currently exists in your “old” units. DI cannot occur without pre and formative assessments so there should be ample planning around this notion. Anytime you have noted flexible groupings and choice in your unit, there is the opportunity for DI. Ultimately, DI can occur in many places…the key is your assessment criteria. Once you know exactly what you are looking for, you can determine how you will help each student get there.
Reflection is the make-or-break of excellent teaching. Doing it in your head vs. on paper. You will want to remember your epiphanies next year! Good reflection looks openly at what happened during the learning experiences and helps with daily planning. Reflection should springboard discussion.
Reflection helps us gain an understanding of what works and why. It helps strengthen our self-knowledge. It helps us grow in our creative and critical thinking. It helps us understand how curricular content and methods affect diverse student populations.
How do you create big ideas for kindergarten that mean something to them and aren't too deep?
Early Learning Principle: Children are competent. Who am I? How am I different from others? How am I the same? What is important to me? What is a friend? What is a family? How can I care for my world? Kindergarteners can be deep!
Objectives are like indicators in many regards…they are small and they fit together to form a larger purpose (outcome). We can still determine the knows, dos, understands and essential questions but it requires constructing instead of unpacking. Imagine…
What suggestions do you have for best utilizing UBD with a multigrade classroom?
In math, Pearson has multi-grade resources which are great. In most subjects, comparing the outcomes may be a good place to start. ELA will have many similarities, as will phys ed, health and arts ed. The best thing is to begin by comparing the curricula.
The definition of a unit varies from subject to subject and outcome to outcome. Generally, a unit is not one single outcome but there are exceptions in some subjects. With any planning, consideration must be given to how everything fits together and leads to higher understandings.
We are trying to collect exemplars and so please send us your units and unpacked outcomes. Check the Curriculum Corner frequently. There are exemplars currently posted. Curriculum corner
Why does the ministry not have all of the outcomes unpacked so that they are ready to use?
To fully understand what is required of students to learn the outcome… To determine what teachers need to know to help students learn the outcome. To invite teachers to design personal, powerful learning and assessment experiences that will engage students and help students learn the outcome. Remember: outcomes need to reflect what they mean to you in your community. Why unpack outcomes? To Clearly See the Learning Destination and have some choice!
When the other curriculums come out, is it possible to plan a multi- subject unit on one sheet? ex) a combined ELA and Social unit, etc.?
Integration is part of the philosophy of the new curricula. The reason the BALs and CCCs exist is to emphasize that there are big things we need students to learn at school and all subjects will help them get there. Keep doing this!! Ex. ELA and non-fiction texts
At our inservice, it took us one afternoon to complete a small part of the plan. I am worried that I won’t have enough time to do all the planning required of me. Any ideas?
Curriculum is “new” – familiarity breeds efficiency. Learning makes the pace slower…once we have worked through the philosophy, less discussion will mean more accomplished. Sharing the load will help, too.
Sure…remember, a pre-assessment is to inform you and the students of the exact destination and to determine learning needs. The post-assessment lets you know if your efforts were successful and if optimal student learning occurred. Don’t hold back on the pre-assessment. Be clear about how you will know if students have learned. Be cautious of “memorization of the test” vs. increased learning