I teach a graduate course to teachers (and this year, principals) in my
county (Arlington, VA) on the principles of backward design, using the
Wiggins text. The question I have, is how far along in the Unit Design
training will your teachers have progressed by the time you do your training?
I have found that teachers unfamiliar with backward design need some time to
change their thinking about planning and curriculum development. Will they
be comfortable enough with the process in January?
Your integration of the American Memory collections into the Wiggins template
sounds great. Our county is also working to shift our teachers to the
Wiggins model. I'd love to hear how everything turns out.
Elizabeth Ridgway '98
In a message dated Tue, 21 Nov 2000 9:21:44 AM Eastern Standard Time, Gigi
Lincoln <[log in to unmask]> writes:
<< This message is being sent out on the listserv with the hope that recent
American Memory Fellows and past fellows from 1997-1999 will have some ideas
to share with us.
Scott Durham and I will have an excellent opportunity to work on American
Memory with fellow Lakeview High School (Battle Creek, MI) teachers in
January. We have been approved to lead a workshop on Martin Luther King Day
and to meet with teachers on two follow-up afternoons. The purpose of this
workshop will be to guide our teachers in development of instructional units
that draw upon American Memory resources and that are also created according
to the Unit Design model. Lakeview Schools have officially adopted Unit
Design and all teachers are receiving training in this model. Scott and I
were in fact able to write up our WWI lesson according to the district's
Unit Design template.
Have any fellows had a similar experience of offering a two-day training?
What suggestions do you have for structuring this time and making the
experience productive and enjoyable for teachers? We should have a
manageable number of participants - hopefully no more than 20 teachers. We
will work in a new lab with projection device, good Internet connection and
enough computers for everyone. Judy Graves has been very helpful in pointing
out some of the Library's online workshop materials and in reminding us not
to overlook the orientation activities that we
used last summer.
If you are not familiar with the Unit Design model, I can provide some brief
background. Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins collaborated on a recent book,
Understanding by Design (ISBN: 0-87120-313-8). An ERIC abstract offers the
following summary of Understanding by Design:
"This book explores ways to design courses and units to emphasize
understanding and uncoverage rather than coverage, offering practical
solutions for teacher-designers. It focuses on a different use for
performance assessment, concluding that performance is the key to assessing
understanding. The book analyzes the logic of backward design as an
alternative to coverage and activity-oriented plans. Designing for
understanding begins with what teachers want students to be able to do and
proceeds to the evidence they will accept to prove that students have
learned it. Only then does it turn to how students will learn it. Along the
way, teachers must be clear about how they want students to understand and
what they mean by understanding. The book proposes a multifaceted approach,
with the six facets of understanding (explanation, interpretation,
application, perspective, empathy, and self-knowledge). The facets combine
with backward design to provide a practical framework for designing
curriculum, assessment, and instruction. After an introduction, there are 11
chapters: (1) What Is Backward Design? (2) What Is a Matter of
Understanding? (3) Understanding Understanding, (4) The Six Facets of
Understanding, (5) Thinking Like an Assessor, (6) How Is Understanding
Assessed in Light of the Six Facets? (7) What Is Uncoverage? (8) What the
Facets Imply for Unit Design, (9) Implications for Organizing Curriculum,
(10) Implications for Teaching, and (11) Putting it All Together: A Design
If you have any ideas to share with us and with other fellows, please send a
response to the listserv. We look forward to planning this inservice and to
hearing from you.
Thanks very much and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Lakeview HS Library
300 South 28th Street
Battle Creek, MI 49015