2 Tutorials that teach Evaluating Lesson Plans: Ubd Planning I
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Evaluating Lesson Plans: Ubd Planning I

Evaluating Lesson Plans: Ubd Planning I

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will provide learners with ways to critically evaluate stages one and two of lesson plans, through the lens of Understanding by Design.


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Welcome to the first of two tutorials on evaluating lesson plans with Understanding by Design. This is the planning one tutorial. In today's tutorial, we will answer the following question together. How do I evaluate my use of Understanding by Design's stages one and two in my teaching. Remember, there are three stages of Understanding by Design. In this tutorial, we will go through one and two, and in the next tutorial, we will focus on stage three.

So let's start with a review of stages one and two. What are those stages? What do they entail? Stage one is identifying those desired results. Here, we look at those key ideas, the knowledge, and the skills we want our students to walk away with. When we evaluate our use of Understanding by Design in our lesson, we really want to keep in mind the areas of this stage.

Our established goals. Do we have appropriate content standards and objectives? Our essential questions must be open ended. We need those to encourage inquiry in our students, and also discourse. We want our understandings to incorporate those big ideas we want our students to walk away with. The key knowledge and skills used understanding and essential questions support all of our students learning.

Stage two is the determine acceptable evidence stage. How we know our students are reaching those big ideas and the high order level of thinking? Our performance assessment must use the acronym GRASPS. And remember, that is the goal or challenge in this scenario. The R, role of the student. What role will the student take in that scenario?

The A, audience. The intended audience the student must be concerned with in completing that task. The S is situation. The context of the task or the situation the student will walk through. P is performance. The performance or product that the student will develop in that authentic task. S is standards. The criteria by which the work will be judged by us as a teacher.

Our other evidence needs to include a variety of formative assessment, such as quizzes, observations group work, discussions, tasks that will allow our students to assess their learning throughout the entire lesson, from beginning to end. So let's apply these ideas to an actual lesson, and we will use a lesson from a previous tutorial on the study of geometry and understanding area and perimeter of various geometric shapes.

We will go through each section together here and assess the criteria that we just talked about for stage one and stage two, identifying those desired results, and also stage two, determining acceptable evidence. Let's first focus on the understandings component of this lesson plan.

Keep in mind that the goal of this section, understandings, is to make sure that our big ideas that our students will reach at the end of this lesson are enduring, ideas that they will take with them forever. Not trivial ideas, but very meaningful and purposeful ideas. And here, understanding that perimeter and area are both found using formulas is an important idea that will help them build upon the knowledge that they will learn in the future. More formulas for geometry and also algebra.

We also want students to understand that they will use this knowledge in different areas of their life, so making those a real life connections is really important here. And this is a very meaningful idea for a student, one that they will be able to relate to instead of an idea that they may forget.

The formula for area of a rectangle is length times width equals area. This here is an example of something that maybe we would take out of our actual lesson plan for and understanding. It is a concept that we will teach in the lesson, but it's not a big idea. This is a more trivial idea.

Let's take a look at our essential questions. We want to make sure that each question is open ended and promotes inquiry with our students. So let's look at how do perimeters and areas of similar shapes compare. This is definitely an open ended question. There are many ways the area and perimeters of shapes are similar and different, and many uses for each of those. So not a yes or no question.

The second question, when might you use these formulas for area perimeter in your life is also an open ended question. It's promoting an inquiry. How will I use these in my life? What jobs are there that people use these formulas for? Will I use them when I do anything in my very own life?

The third question, what is the formula for area of a rectangle, is not an open ended question. This question here is a yes or no, right, wrong answer question. There is an actual formula for area of a rectangle.

Looking at our key knowledge and skills section, we want to make sure that the learning involved is closely related with our essential questions and our understandings that we've developed in this lesson plan. Students will know what the terms perimeter and area mean, and how to find perimeter and areas of various shapes. They will also know how to use a computer.

The first part of this is definitely related to those essential questions and the big ideas of this lesson. We want students to make connections between area and perimeter, what they are, what the formulas are, and how to use those in real life scenarios. They will also know how to type using a computer. Might be something that we do want our students to know or to be able to do in this lesson, but it is not part of that big idea or those higher level understandings that we want students to realize during this lesson.

Let's look at the second section of this. Students will be able to-- so here are the skills-- use these ideas and formulas in their daily lives, or understand connections. So here we want students to be able to actually apply these formulas, and not just come up with scenarios where they would use them, but show that they could use them if they needed to.

Again, it's really important for you to not only understand, but also evaluate all of the stage one components of Understanding by Design. Those established goals, understandings, essential questions, and the key knowledge and skills. We also need to think about those evidences, the acceptable evidence in stage two, so those assessment methods.

Let's take a look at those. There's two types of assessment methods, the performance assessment, and all of that other evidence. So let's walk through how to evaluate those in your lessons. First let's start with the performance assessment section. Remember, this is an authentic task, one that students create and that allows them to show their understanding of those big ideas and the established goals of your lesson.

Make sure that you use that GRASPS acronym, G-R-A-S-P-S, to develop a scenario for that task. So let's go through each of those letters now and make sure that that is clear in our assessment methods. Remember the G stands for goal. What is the goal of the scenario? And our goal as an instructor is for our students to understand area and perimeter, show how they can use those ideas in real world scenarios, and present that in a presentation. So we do have the G section down.

The R is the role. What is the student's role? And here, they are going to be asked to create a presentation. So they will be responsible for understanding these ideas, and creating a presentation showing their knowledge. A is audience. The intended audience for this would most likely be your class, but you can see here that it's not clear in our performance assessment section.

So that might be something that we want to add just make it a little more clear in our actual lesson plan, that we will be presenting to our class or that they will turn these in and the teacher alone will evaluate them.

S is for situation. What is the context of the task? And here, again, students will be working to create a presentation. We could make it a little more clear. As individuals, or in groups, in the classroom, or using computer lab time? So let's make that a little more clear.

The P is for performance. The product that the student will develop is that final presentation showing a specific number, three or more, ways that area and or perimeter are used in the real world. So that is clear here.

The criteria, or this S standard. The criteria by which the work will be judged is not clear in this actual lesson sample as well. So we might want to put our rubric in here just so we have that in our notes as to how we will be judging the student's work as well as be able to tell our students what we will be doing as well to evaluate their task.

As far as that other evidence goes, here we just want to make sure that we have numerous and various formative assessments. And we have the use of GeoGebra, which is a website where students can, in an interactive way, explore area and perimeter. We have maybe some daily pop quizzes, so some pen and paper type quizzes, and we also have observations and group work.

So I'd say we have a fair amount of other evidence in the section. Let's review what we have learned today in this tutorial. We looked at this question here. How do I evaluate my use of Understanding by Design's stages one and two in my teaching. We reviewed what stages one and two looked like. We also took a look at a lesson sample and evaluated our use of these stages and the components of the stages in that actual lesson sample, taking a few ideas out and adding a few ideas in to make this an appropriate and effective lesson.

I've really enjoyed exploring these ideas with you, and I hope you are able to apply Understanding by Design's framework to your own lessons. Let's apply these ideas. Who can you collaborate with to help you evaluate your use of Understanding by Design? What might the challenges be in self evaluation regarding stage one and stage two of Understanding by Design?

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you might 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.

Notes on "Evaluating Lesson Plans: UbD Planning I"


(00:00- 00:30) Introduction/objectives

(00:31 - 02:28) Review Stage 1 & 2 of UbD

(02:29- 06:49) Process for evaluation- Stage 1

(06:50- 09:48) Process for evaluation- Stage 2

(09:49- 10:58) Review/Reflection

Additional Resources

North Middlesex School District: Assessment of Lesson Plans Using UbD and 21st Century Skills

This wiki includes many resources teachers can use, such as rubrics and checklists to evaluate their lesson plans. In particular, there is a useful rubric for evaluating the effect use of UbD in lesson design.