Sunday, March 22, 2015

Understanding By Design Success and Unknowns Assessments

Anyone who knows me professionally knows that I'm very passionate about curriculum planning and Understanding by Design.  I was introduced to UbD about 3 years ago and each year I have learned more and more about the process.  

This year I took on a huge project of introducing the UbD process to 50+ teachers at my new school.  Most of the teachers had never heard of it before and were scared to make this change.  I understand that change is scary but I tried to reassure them that the process really does work.  

The UbD process allows teachers to teach content developmentally and with rigor to ensure that every child meets or exceeds the required content.  The most important thing about UbD is to "begin with the end in mind".  If you know what you want your students to learn...then lay it out!!  Show your students what you want them to know!  If you see that they already know a specific skill, then you don't need to spend as much time teaching that content.  You can spend more time focusing on the skills they are lacking and have plenty of time for remediation and enrichment. 

The next unit that we are working on is for Missing Numbers (Unknown Equations).  My students took the pretest this past week and there were several students that knew the simple equations and word problems.  The majority of the class struggled with "start unknown" equations and word problems.  Analyzing this data will show me what I need to teach in order for every student to master the concepts that I want them to know by the end of the unit.  Once students master those concepts, then I can enrich them with advanced content.  The pretest that I created in pictured below.  Click HERE or on the picture to download the pretest and post test.
At the end of the unit, it's important to reassess your students using the same format or types of questions.  You want to see if your teaching really worked and that your students really mastered the content that you taught.  I like to keep the test format the same and just change to numbers or words.

If your school is contemplating the implementation of Understanding by Design, please accept the challenge!!  It really is beneficial for teaching and learning!!