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Lesson Planning Using UbD I

Lesson Planning Using UbD I

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will provide learners with an overview of creating lesson plans using the first and second stages of Understanding by Design - setting learning goals and determining acceptable evidence.

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Welcome to the first of two tutorials on lesson planning using Understanding by Design. Today, we are going to discuss the following question throughout our tutorial. What does it look like to apply the first two stages of Understanding by Design to your teaching? And remember, there are three stages of Understanding by Design's framework. Today, we will discuss stages one and two and how you need to look at those closely when you are designing lesson plans.

Let's do a quick review of stage one of Understanding by Design. This is where we will identify desired results. It's in the stage that we will establish the goals for our lesson, making sure that they're closely aligned with the curriculum standards and your goals and objectives of your overall content area.

We're also going to establish some essential questions. And these are those open ended questions that help promote discourse and encourage that high order thinking in your students. We're going to really establish our understandings or the big ideas of the topic the you're going to discuss in the lesson, as well as the key knowledge and skills.

And it's easiest to phrase this in question format where we're asking ourselves as teachers, what should the students to know upon finishing this lesson and what should the students be able to do. So let's take those four components of stage one, which is identifying those desired results, and apply them to a lesson.

One at a time, we'll go through each of the components of stage one, starting with established goals. It's here that, in this lesson example, students will use concepts from previous study of geometry to learn and understand concepts of area and perimeter, and related formulas. Students will also examine the perimeter and areas of various geometric shapes.

So here, these are our goals, our overall standards and objectives of the lesson. Understandings is the next component, and this is where students will understand that perimeter and area are both found using specific formulas, and also that they will use this knowledge in different areas of their life. For example, measuring or building for projects, maybe in certain work environments.

Remember that this understandings component is where you really need to think about what are the big ideas of the topics that you are covering. The third component is essential questions. And I have two listed here in this example. The first thing, how do perimeters and areas of similar shapes compare. It's an open ended question that's promoting some inquiry. How do perimeters and areas compare? How are they the same and different?

Another question might be, when might you use these formulas for area and perimeter in your own life. And here we want students to use personal experiences and think about examples in, again, another open ended question that's promoting that inquiry and discourse.

The fourth component of stage one are those key knowledge and skills, and in this example, students will know at the end of the lesson what the terms perimeter and area mean, and also how to find perimeter and areas of various shapes. Students will be able to use these ideas and formulas in their daily lives or understand the connections.

So if you take a look at the overall lesson example here of stage one components, you'll notice that all of those things we talked about, the goals, understandings, essential questions, and key knowledge and skills all match the criteria for each of those areas that we discussed.

After you identify your desired results, you'll move to stage two, determining your acceptable evidence. Not only will we develop a performance assessment or an authentic task that we're asking our students to create for us, showing their knowledge and understandings of the key ideas and objectives that we discussed or talked about in our lesson.

We're also going to develop some evidence that is called other evidence. So we'll talk about both of these for a moment. Performance assessments can easily be developed by using the acronym GRASPS. Each of these letters stands for something that will help us in developing a scenario for our performance assessment that's effective.

For G, we'll think about what is the goal for this assessment. What is the goal for the task we are asking our students to do? R stands for role. What is the role of our student in this task? What are we asking our students to do? What role are we asking them to take?

The A stands for audience, and this is the intended audience that the student needs to be concerned with. Are we asking them to present this just to us as a teacher? Are they going to be thinking about their entire class, or group, or maybe they're developing a project that they're presenting online and it will be worldwide. What audience are the students thinking about?

The S stands for situation, and this is where we think about the context of the task. What's the situation that we are asking our students to think about as they are going through this performance assessment. The P stands for performance, and this is what the performance or product that the student will develop is.

The S is standards, and this is the standards or criteria that we are going to judge the student on. Other evidence are all of those formative assessments, and those are things that we're asking our students to do throughout the entire lesson that are showing us how they are learning and what they're learning. Things like quizzes, tests, group work, observations. All of that knowledge we are gaining as a teacher throughout the entire lesson, not just at the end of the lesson.

Let's apply these ideas from stage two to a lesson. In the same lesson where our students will work with area and perimeter, we're going to use these assessments. Our performance assessment will be students creating a presentation showing three or more ways that area and or perimeter are used in the real world.

We might have students who use something as simple as a poster board, or if we have students that are capable, we may use PowerPoint or another presentation method, maybe even a YouTube video. What we do want to make sure that we are doing is using that GRASPS acronym to make sure that we are appropriately developing the assessment for this group of students, and as well as our objectives.

The G, or the goal, is for our students to create a presentation showing some of their knowledge, and more specifically, three or more ways of using area and, or perimeter in the real world. The R, or the role of the student, will be to present information that they have gathered, and collected, and put in some sort of a presentation.

The audience will be myself as a teacher as well as the class. And here, it might be helpful for us to also add under the performance assessment criteria that we are going to present these to the class. The S, or situation, the context of this task will be working within a class and then as individuals to create this presentation. So they will be doing some independent work after group discussion.

The performance or the P part of GRASPS in that acronym is the product, and the product will be the actual presentation, whether we choose to use a poster or a digital tool. Second S, or standard, will be the criteria that we are judging. And again, we don't have definitive criteria listed here in this section, so it may be helpful for us to add that criteria on to our lesson plan.

The second section of our assessment strategies is our other evidence. And for some of our formative assessments, we might use a digital tool by the name of GeoGebra to explore ideas. So this is a tool where students can get online, either individually or with a partner, and actually explore area and perimeter in an interactive setting.

We might also have daily quizzes if this lesson goes on for more than one day, as well as observations from a teacher's perspective, not only in our class discussions, but also during the group work time.

So let's think about what we have discussed in today's tutorial. We went through to the three stages of Understanding by Design, identify desired results and determine acceptable evidence, and we applied those ideas to an example of a lesson so that you can make some connections between those concepts and an actual lesson plan.

Thinking about using these ideas in your classroom, let me offer some helpful tips to you. If you ask yourself this question, what are the big ideas you want your students to know, this will help you greatly in determining what objectives, and goals, and understandings you want your students to know, and how to relay those into concepts that you can put into a lesson plan.

It would also be helpful for you to ask yourself this question. What are the available tools and strategies for assessing? Do you have any assessment possibilities that you have not yet used? Some collaboration with other teachers or other professionals in the area that you are teaching might be really helpful in determining, are there tools you are not using that would be beneficial to you.

So many ideas in today's tutorial that are extremely important for us as teachers. Today we discussed this question. What does it look like to apply the first two stages of Understanding by Design to your teaching? Thank you for joining me today, and I hope you are able to use these tools in your very own classroom.

So how can we apply these ideas? Let's think about these questions. What might the challenges be to applying stage one and two of Understanding by Design to your own lessons? Can you think of a lesson that you can adapt by applying Understanding by Design concepts?

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please see the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks, useful for applications of the course materials, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Lesson Planning Using UbD I"


(00:00- 00:26) Introduction/objectives

(00:27- 03:27) Review of/Application to Stage 1 of UbD

(03:28- 08:12) Review of/Application to Stage 2 of UbD

(08:13- 09:24) Tips for applying Stages 1/2 of UbD

(09:25- 10:19) Review/Reflection

Additional Resources

Sharon Public Schools: UbD Lessons

These lesson plans serve as examples of UbD lessons and units from Sharon Public Schools, MA. You may find these examples useful as you begin to develop your own lessons and units using the UbD template.

University of Chicago Smart Museum: Sample UbD Interdisciplinary Unit on the Chicago Black Renaissance

This is a strong example of a unit designed using UbD.

Montana Institution of Public Instruction: GRASPS Sheet

This UbD planning sheet provides a clear snapshot of GRASPS in performance assessment design. In addition, there is a useful template for you to use as you plan your own assessments.