Try to begin your units with END IN MIND.
What do you expect students to learn by the end of the unit? When you plan your units with END in mind, that is often times referred to as "Backwards Mapping." There are 3 stages to the Backwards Mapping design:
Stage 1: Identify desired results
Stage 2: Determine assessment evidence
Stage 3: Plan learning experiences and instruction
I found a great Universal Design document that will walk you through these 3 stages in more detail. Please click on the document below to access the document.
Now for the 3 ways you can use the Backwards Mapping approach to planning your units of study.
Read the section in the spiral called "Welcome to the Unit." Or if you are planning an If/Then unit, read the section called "Rationale/Introduction. This will give you an overview or sneak peak into the unit you are about to embark on. It will walk you through:
- what to expect
- why this unit is important
- provide a overview of the unit
- how you are meeting Common Core State Standards
- how to get ready and gather materials for the unit
- a summary of each bend
- and ways to use assessment throughout the unit
I provided a picture below to show you what to pay attention to and what to flag as important when reading the Welcome to the Unit. I decided to model this using the 2nd grade writing unit of study called "Writing Gripping Fictional Stories with Meaning and Significance."
Here are 4 steps you can follow when reading the "Welcome to the Unit:"
1. Identify the big goals of the unit.
2. Highlight all the skills students should already know how to do that you can reinforce and review in conferring or small group work.
3. Flag examples of good writing strategies that you want to remember to teach or use in mini lessons, mid-workshop teaching, share, conferring or small group work.
4. Categorize each writing strategy using the writing checklist or rubric.
Read the summary of the bends starting with the last bend.
Here are 4 steps you can follow when reading the summary of the bends:
1. Each summary begins with a bold statement which is the big learning target for that bend.
2. Take note of the main skills and strategies you will focus on in that particular bend.
3. Highlight the number of stories students are expected to write.
4. Flag about how long the bend should take.
Here is a picture of how I used these 4 steps as I read the summary of the bends for the 2nd grade unit of study called "Writing Gripping Stories with Meaning & Significance:"
Read over the Welcome to the Unit with a focus on standards.
Here is a summary of important key steps you want to remember when reading over the standards:
1. Find at least 4 different color highlighters.
2. Highlight your grade level standards in one color.
3. Highlight any previous grade level standards in another color.
4. Highlight above grade level standards in a third color.
5. Highlight how the unit of study will support the standards OR what you will need to teach in order to help your students meet the standards.
I provided two pictures below of how I marked up the "Welcome to the Unit" section with a focus on learning and understanding the standards being addressed in this unit. The writing unit I used this time is 2nd grade's "Lessons from the Masters."
Here is the key of colors I used to highlight each part:
Incorporate Black History with Desirée & Reginald not just in February, but all school year long! History that is TRUE, not found in textbooks, that can be used to inspire students of all races to see themselves as someone who can effect change in their own lives, their families and their communities.