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Develop a CBE Lesson

Develop a CBE Lesson

Author: Jody Waltman

Students learn how to develop a CBE lesson from a UbD unit.

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In this tutorial, we'll discuss how to break your CBE unit down into smaller CBE lessons. We'll begin by reviewing a CBE unit that has been developed using the three stages of Understanding by Design. And finally, I'll share some helpful tips that can guide you as you work on developing CBE lessons.

Let's begin by looking at a unit plan for geometry that was designed using the principles of Understanding by Design. Recall that the components identified in this unit plan include the standards to which we are aligning the unit, the understandings and essential questions that we'll be addressing throughout the unit, the specific skills that we want students to leave the unit with, and a list of the specific pieces of evidence that will be collected throughout the unit in order to allow students to demonstrate to us the mastery of the included competencies and skills.

Another crucial piece of this unit plan is deciding how we are going to break up the entire unit into the smaller individual lessons. Depending on your unit plan template, you might have already created this list. And if not, that's the first thing you need to do here. You need to look at your previously created unit plan and decide how you're going to break that unit up into the discrete lesson plans that will together guide students through the process of the entire unit.

So now that you've taken a look at your unit and maybe thought about how you might begin that process of dividing the overall unit into those smaller, discrete chunks, let's talk about the specific process that you would follow to develop just one of those lessons. In stage one of Understanding by Design, we identified the desired results. So here you would refer back to the essential questions that are outlined for the unit.

Let's say that this is day one of the unit. Which essential question are you going to begin addressing with students right away? What are the discrete elements of knowledge and skills that you're going to be addressing in that particular lesson? How are you going to help students make meaning, acquire the new knowledge, and practice those skills that are going to be necessary, again, for them to begin to approach that essential question? What are those specific skills, and what is the discrete knowledge that you want students to take away?

How does this lesson then connect back to, not only the content standards, but also that essential question? How will you help students to transfer their learning to other essential questions in the unit or maybe even just to the next lesson in the unit, for starters? After you've considered these questions, this really then provides for you the introduction to the first lesson in the unit.

So then, we can move on to stage two, determining acceptable evidence. Now you need to start thinking about what evidence you're going to be collecting in this one particular lesson. Again, continuing the assumption that maybe this is day one of the unit, you might want to consider incorporating a pre-assessment, that will help you to determine whether students have mastery already, because you might want those students to just go ahead and move on to the next skill on the list.

Also, you can determine, are there students who have little to no understanding of the concept? They might need some scaffolding in order to introduce them to the lesson. Overall here, you just want to be thinking about what is the particular evidence that you're going to collect for this first lesson? Are you going to use a formative assessment or a summative assessment? What are these assessments going to measure, and how are they going to measure these items?

And once you've made decisions about the assessments that will be incorporated into the lesson, you're ready to develop the learning plan for the lesson. Here's where you will locate or create resources that students are going to be using to engage with the information in the lesson. You're going to select the instructional strategies that you're going to use that will help you to embrace that role in CBE of the teacher being a coach or a facilitator for students as they work towards progressing to the mastery of the competencies.

You'll also think about differentiation strategies here, in order to meet the needs of all of the learners in your classroom. And you also want to be looking ahead. How is this particular lesson going to help set the stage for the next lesson? How are you going to determine whether students are ready to move on? What are you going to do to address the fact that different students may be at different levels of mastery at the end of this one lesson? If you've addressed all of these questions, you are ready to go back and fill in the elements of your lesson design template. Here are some tips as you do so.

The first lesson in any unit should probably include some sort of a pre-assessment that will help you determine students' levels of mastery as they're coming into the unit of instruction. This would help you to identify students who have already mastered some of the material. And it would also help you to identify whether there are any major gaps in students' instruction. This definitely supports the competency-based approach that we're looking for.

You want to include appropriate academic and domain-specific vocabulary into your lessons. And you also should be including formative assessments when you are doing your lesson design. You want to focus on using high-quality questioning techniques that help to keep the instruction more student-centered.

And it's important to also consider drawing connections between your lessons. How are you going to transition from one lesson to the next in the sequence? Also, look for opportunities to incorporate student feedback in your lessons. And consider using multiple pathways, maybe even designing multiple lessons for the same class, based on individual student needs and differentiation strategies.

In this lesson, we reviewed a CBE unit that was designed using the three stages of Understanding by Design. And we saw how each of the three stages of UbD can be implemented as you work to design the individual lessons that support an overall unit plan that you've already created. Finally, I shared some tips that you can keep in mind as you go through this process.

So now, it's your turn to stop and reflect. If your unit plan template did not already have you break your unit down into smaller, discrete chunks that indicate the individual lessons, give that a try right now, so that you have a solid framework that you can use when you start to create your individual lessons. As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly-acquired skill set. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Develop a CBE Lesson"

(00:00 - 00:19) Introduction

(00:20 - 01:21) Review Unit Plan

(01:22 - 02:41) UbD Stage 1

(02:42 - 03:35) UbD Stage 2

(03:36 - 04:30) UbD Stage 3

(04:31 - 05:50) Tips

(05:51 - 06:12) Review

(06:13 - 06:51) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Jay McTighe & Associates: Downloads

On this webpage, Jay McTighe has a collection of downloadable resources, templates, and documents for educator use in developing and implementing UbD curriculum design.

Curriculum Mapping Template

To use this template, make a copy first. It outlines the UbD and CBE unit and lesson plan.