Understanding by Design

Last week I created a three column table course using Fink’s guide focusing on aligning outcomes, assessments, and activities. It made me think more about my students as a whole learner and not just the outcome. This week I focused on the Understanding by Design template. I realized really quickly that I have been the teacher focused mostly on the activities. Now I realize I need to constantly ask myself what is the point of this activity? What do I want them to learn from it? Will they be able to identify and tell you what they are learning? Each tool pushed me to think a little more outside of the box which is always a challenge. I really liked the Understanding by Design template because it had me constantly evaluating exactly what I wanted my students to learn. I liked the acronym WHERETO. After completing my activities I had to go back and evaluate what the activity really was accomplishing.

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”
-Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989, p.98

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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