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Creating a CBE, PBL Unit and Task Using UbD as a Guide

Creating a CBE, PBL Unit and Task Using UbD as a Guide

Author: Jody Waltman

In this lesson, you will use the UbD template to create a PBL unit and task

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In this tutorial, we'll use the principles of Understanding by Design to guide us through the design process of a competency-based, problem-based unit or task. We'll begin with a review of Understanding by Design and an overview of its three stages. Then we'll look at each of the stages of Understanding by Design in turn. And I'll give you some helpful tips on how to implement each stage effectively. Let's get started.

First, let's review the basics of Understanding by Design. Understanding by Design or UbD is a lesson design tool developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. UbD can be applied in any methodology. In fact, some curriculum is already UbD-based. For example, in the state of Massachusetts, which consistently have some of the highest performing students and the nation, all of their published curriculum is based on the Understanding by Design method.

UbD is a great fit with personalized learning. And throughout the rest of this tutorial, we'll see some of those connections. Recall that there are three stages in the UbD design process.

Stage 1 is to identify your desired results. What are the big ideas that you would like the students to learn? What is the overall goal?

What are the big ideas that you would like students to take away from this lesson or unit? What are the essential questions that students should be able to answer? And what are the key knowledge and skills that students should acquire throughout this lesson?

Stage 2 is where you determine what evidence will be acceptable in demonstrating student mastery. You'll design a main performance assessment here, but you'll design other evidence as well. This is also where you'll design the rubrics that will be used in evaluating student performance on those assessments.

In stage 2, you'll determine acceptable evidence, that is, what assessments will be used to demonstrate student mastery? Not only will you design the main summative assessment that will be used at the end of the unit or lesson, you'll also determine what formative assessments will be used along the way. In addition, you'll design any rubrics that will be necessary to evaluate student performance on these assessments.

Finally, in stage 3, you'll develop the learning plan. This is where you plan the smaller details-- the daily tasks and activities in which students will engage to further their learning. So let's take a closer look at each of these design stages and learn some helpful tips for implementing them in an effective way.

Stage 1, identify desired results. Here, it's important that you are identifying these results using your own specific content standards. Determine the specific learning objective. What exactly will the student understand or be able to do? Develop a list of essential questions that students should be able to answer or key ideas that students should be taking away from the lesson or unit.

Stage 2 is determine acceptable evidence. This is where you will identify the summative assessment which may be a problem-based learning activity that will be used at the end of the lesson or unit to determine whether students have mastered the current skill. You'll also need to think about how this assessment will be evaluated.

Does a rubric for this assessment already exist? Or will you need to create one? Think about the type of formative assessments that you'll use throughout the lesson or unit. And finally, allow opportunities for student self-reflection and self-monitoring. Will students be checking their own answers on their daily work assignments, for example, and making changes as needed?

Finally, UbD stage 3, develop a learning plan. Here you will design the specific activities that will help students accomplish the objectives and goals that you have set for the lesson or unit. You'll think about what examples you'll use in your lessons and what tasks students will complete.

Also, consider student choice here. Will students be able to select tasks from a list that appeals to multiple learning styles and learning preferences? Will students be able to tailor tasks to their unique interests?

Though the unit design process can be a daunting one, we've seen in this tutorial that breaking it down into the three design steps in Understanding by Design can help it seem a lot more manageable. First, we reviewed Understanding by Design as a lesson design tool. We outlined the three stages of Understanding by Design. And finally, we took a closer look at each of the stages in turn in order to help us design a single lesson or an entire unit more effectively and efficiently.

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The Additional Resources section we'll be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here.

Each link includes a brief description, so you can easily target the resources you want. Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Creating a CBE, PBL Unit and Task Using UbD as a Guide"

(00:00 - 00:25) Introduction

(00:26 - 01:02) UbD as a Lesson-Design Tool

(01:03 - 02:20) Overview of 3 Design Stages

(02:21 - 02:52) Implementing Stage 1

(02:53 - 03:31) Implementing Stage 2

(03:32 - 04:03) Implementing Stage 3

(04:04 - 04:31) Review

(04:32 - 04:51) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Rochester School District: Competency-Based Learning, Instruction, and Assessment Guide for Educators

This document provides guidance on implementing competency based education. The lesson and unit plans are for the UbD format, and suggestions are included in aligning assessment to instructional goals and objectives. Included in the document are useful templates and explanations of their practices, such as the revision policy for students.

UbD Templates and Resources from Jay McTighe

These handouts provide an explanation for each of the stages of UbD as well as each of the components. In addition to a blank template for lesson and unit design, the handouts include good and bad examples of UbD plans.