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Lesson Planning Using UbD II

Lesson Planning Using UbD II

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will provide learners with an overview of creating lesson plans using the third stage of Understanding by Design - developing learning activities.

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Source: Image of thinking bubble, Public Domain,; Image of light bulb, Public Domain,

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Welcome to the second tutorial on lesson planning using Understanding by Design. Today we are going to talk about this question. What does it look like to apply the third stage of Understanding by Design to your teaching? And remember in our last tutorial we discussed the first and second stages and how to apply those to your teaching. Stage three of Understanding by Design is creating a learning plan, and here it's important to think of this acronym as you develop your learning plan under Understanding by Design's stage three.

The W is the Where. And this is where do you want your students to end up? What big picture ideas are you getting across or would you like your students to understand? The H is Hook. We want to hook our students in, get their interest right away from the very beginning so that they are invested in their learning. So what tools will you use to hook your students?

E is Equip or Experience. How are we going to provide students with knowledge and resources and tools so that we can get them to reach those high-level understandings and those desired results of stage one? The R stands for Rethink. We want our students to be able to investigate new evidence and use those ideas to apply and change perspectives and assumptions and shift their learning and transfer learning around. So what tools will you implement to have your students rethink about these ideas?

The second E stands for Evaluate. What tools do you provide in this lesson plan to evaluate your students throughout the entire lesson plan? And we can use some of the ideas from our stage two where we're creating our assessments. But also we want to think about those steps in the learning plan and how those fit into the evaluation here.

The T stands for Tailor. How will we meet those needs of the diverse learners in our class? Do we need to differentiate any of our assignments or assessments or tools that we use to provide understanding for all of our classmates? The O stands for Organize. How do we sequence the learning activities in a way that makes sense to our students? How can we actually apply these ideas of stage three, creating a learning plan, into an actual lesson?

Let's take a look at a lesson plan that follows stage one and stage two, the first tutorial of Understanding by Designing lesson plans, and use those same concepts, which was perimeter and area of basic geometrical shapes. A learning plan that a teacher might use would be creating a KWL for students to assess their knowledge of geometry perimeter and area right from the start, so having students fill out the K-- what do they Know-- and the W-- what do they want to know-- what are questions they have still before you even begin the lesson.

The second step of a learning plan might be to present the formulas for perimeter and area of basic geometric shape like squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles, having students practice using these formulas in pairs. We then might have students use a web tool, such as GeoGebra, where they can use an application online, an interactive digital tool, to look at areas and perimeters of different shapes and apply their learnings, a little more hands-on here.

Number four might be to discuss the questions and the understandings they've learned so far as a class, so bring it back to a class. We might ask our students how they might use these ideas in their own lives. What are some real-life scenarios, maybe designing or building a house, buying carpet for a room, the number of boards that you need for a fence or a garden.

We then might have students use all of their understandings and what they've learned in their practice and complete the L section of their KWL chart. What have they learned? What do they now know? Maybe we could present these ideas in the form of a class discussion. The sixth step might be to have students work in pairs to create a presentation showing their findings.

How can these formulas be used in real life? Where would you use area? Where would you use perimeter? We might have our students present with Google Docs, PowerPoint, Prezi, or another digital tool if it was appropriate for our learners. Let's apply those WHERE TOs to this actual lesson that we just talked about. The W or the where-- what big ideas do we want our students to come away with-- would be maybe using the L of the KWL chart.

The presentation also fits into this where. We want our students to have those big-picture ideas. Applying those to real-life scenarios does just that. The hook might be the KW of the KWL chart. That's our very first activity, and we're asking students to write down what they know as well as questions they have. So right away we're getting their investment as well as having them think about prior learning.

We might also use the class discussion as a way to really involve our students, maybe having it be a more student-led class discussion. The E, the equip or experience part of the WHERE TO acronym would be to relate to prior learning. And we did that in a few different ways throughout our lesson. We used our KWL chart, class discussions, as well as working in pairs to create some understanding of real-life scenarios for area and perimeter.

The R, or the rethink, might be shown by using the relating formulas and ideas to real-life scenarios. The E or evaluate section would be the class discussions. As a teacher we could make many observations during these discussions about our students' learning. Also the group work helps the students evaluate where they are in a more comfortable environment. Just with one other classmate they're able to talk through ideas and ask questions.

The KWL chart is another way of evaluation for our students. The T section of WHERE TO, the tailor section, we could do many things within this lesson. We do already give our students various tools to practice, such as writing in the KWL chart, class discussion, verbal discussion, as well as practicing problems that we present on pen and paper and then a class presentation. We also use a digital tool, GeoGebra, for students to use for practice as well.

The O, or organize, we start from prior knowledge, and we work our way up to more advanced learnings. We're building on our learnings, so we're giving opportunities to our students for expansion of ideas that we've already talked about in previous lessons.

That was quite a few ideas to process as we worked through stage three, creating a lesson plan, and how to make sure you're applying all of the WHERE TO acronym to your lesson plans. Let's talk about some helpful tips for incorporating Understanding by Design stages into your lesson plans. Ask yourself this. Are you aligning instructional goals, learning activities, and assessment?

It's really important that you keep in mind that the learning plan is a bridge between the desired results and also the assessments in stage two. Everything is connected, and there's a reason for doing things in the order of the three stages, identifying the results, developing the assessment methods, and then finally creating that learning plan or making sure that we are getting to those big ideas for our students and that high-level understanding.

In today's tutorial, which was the second tutorial of two in Understanding by Design's creating lesson plans, we answered this question together. What does it look like to apply the third stage of Understanding by Design to your teaching? Remember the first stage, identifying those desired results, the second stage, which is identifying your assessment methods. And the third stage, and the final stage of this model, is actually creating the lesson plan.

We looked at the WHERE TO model and how to apply this to your lesson. I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial. As always, I have enjoyed teaching these ideas to you, and I hope you're able to use these tools in your classroom. So how can we apply these ideas? Let's reflect using these questions.

What might the challenges be to applying stage three of Understanding by Design to your own lessons? Can you think of a lesson that you can adapt by applying Understanding by Design concepts? To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on "Lesson Planning Using UbD II"


(00:00- 00:19) Introduction/objectives

(00:20- 02:15) Review of Stage 3 of UbD/WHERETO

(02:16- 04:23) Learning Plan sample for application

(04:24- 06:45) Application of stage 3 of UbD to Learning Plan

(06:46- 07:37) Tips for application

(07:38- 08:48) Review/Reflection 

Additional Resources

UbD in a Nutshell

This handout by Jay McTighe provides a great overview of the components of a UbD plan. This is a terrific tool to be used when planning a UbD lesson or unit.
Teachers as Technology Trailblazers: Curriculum and Instructional Design

This is a site maintained by Verona Public Schools with resources for curriculum and instructional design with UbD resources.