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Understanding by Design

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Understanding by Design
PRACTICAL APPROACH TO THE UBD CURRICULUM THEORY
What is Understanding by Design (UbD)?
* A Framework to plan instruction and assessments
that transfers knowledge.
* Backwards teaching – begin with the end in mind
• Three stages
•
“In teaching students for understanding, we must grasp the key idea that we
are coaches of their ability to play the ‘game’ of performing with
understanding, not tellers of our understanding to them on the sidelines.”
(Bowen, 2017)
THREE STEPS of UbD
Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Identify desired
results.
Determine how to
measure results.
Plan learning
experiences and
instruction
Transfer of Knowledge
Traditional approach…
UbD approach

Textbook IS the course

Textbook is a resource

Excel in the lesson

Excel in using the lesson in other settings

Learn math

Use math for real world problems

Memorize historical facts

Recognize historical patterns

Plan by content categories

Plan by learning goals desired

Students are bored

Teachers create interest

Get an A

Transfer useful understanding

Syllabus rules

Understand essential questions

Essential questions guide
Stage One…
Desired Results - ACQUIRE

Determine learning goals that lead to understanding and connections in
real life settings.

Where are we going?

What will student understand?

How will student transfer knowledge learned to other settings?
Stage Two…
Evidence – Making Meaning

Determine what is student now able to do.

Look at how a student can demonstrate understanding of knowledge
learned.

Plan quizzes, portfolios, assessments, peer feedback, tests, reflections to
capture performance abilities for evaluation.

Can student: explain, interpret apply, shift perspective, show empathy,
and self-assess? (Wiggins, 2011)
Stage Three…
Learning Plan - TRANSFER

Choose instructional practices, strategies and events to be used

Select resources to support end result.

Determine sequencing of learning strategies and activites.
Alignment
All three stages must relate to the other.
All activities or exercises are tied to meaning-making, transfer, acquisition
All lessons and activities in each stage are tied to standards.
UbD is a tool to use to move past the age old question, “Why do we have to
learn this?”.
Keywords in UbD

Alignment – assess content that is being transferred at all stages

Meaning-making – students own and understand, rather than rote
repetition for a grade.

Transfer – student has authentic knowledge and can use it in another
setting

Acquisition – a means to understand and use content knowledge

Essential questions – what information is required for meaning and transfer.
Socratic questioning allows for student effort in gaining understanding,
rather than teacher “teaching”.
Assessment – Six facets
Before planning,
teachers must
think about how
to measure and
asses successful
transfer.
Students must show they can:

Explain concepts

Interpret data

Apply in new settings

See the big picture

Show empathy

Demonstrate self-wareness
Benefits for Students

Student owns and actively internalizes meaning

Student can transfer learning to new situations

Student can build on learning to deepen understanding

Student acquires knowledge base but can equally apply.
Benefits for Teachers

Encourages development of short-term and long-term teaching goals.

Makes the most of teachable moments.

Levels the learning responsibility to partnership with student.
Template

Download and create a copy of the UbD template for teaching planning:
file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/ubdtemplate1-130612084719phpapp01.pdf
For the remainder of the training:
Collaborate with your table partners and review the stages and facets of IbD
planning. Choose a goal for knowledge, Determine assessment activities,
Create opportunities for application.
References

Bowen, Ryan S., (2017). Understanding by Design. Vanderbilt University
Center for Teaching. Retrieved [January 12, 2019] from
https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/understanding-by-design/

Schrio, M. (2013). Conflicting visions and enduring concerns. Retrieved
from ttps://viewer.gcu.edu/rRxBPH

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2011). The Understanding by Design guide to
creating high-quality units. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 12). What is UbD? [Video file]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsDgfC3SjhM
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