The entire SAU where I work has undertaken an initiative to train every staff member in in our three schools in Understanding by Design (UbD). The goal I that over time all staff members will redesign their lessons following a UbD template. Right now we are still just scratching the surface of what we will be doing but I am itching to actually get started on my lesson plans. It probably sounds strange to say that I am excited about having extra work added on by my school district. It's not that I have so much free time that I need something else to do, but I honestly think that this process is going to help our school improve. For me I know there are many things that I already do in my classroom that fit in this model and I think that going through this process will help me to improve the lessons that are already good and really change the ones that aren't so good.
If you are not familiar with UbD, in a nutshell, it is creating lessons that focus on building deep student understanding rather than just shallow knowledge of a topic. The lessons are designed backwards,meaning you start with creating the goals for what you want students to be able to do at the end of the lesson and then build learning experiences to get students there. As we have been introduces to this we have been having conversations about the difference between understandings and knowledge, how to measure understanding, and what we see as the challenges to this process.
One of the biggest challenges of this for me will be redesigning some of my assessment tools. From what we have read and discussed so far UbD really pushes for performance tasks and other assessments that authentically measure more than just memorization. I know some of my assessments will be up to par with maybe just a bit of tweaking but for others I know I will be starting from scratch. This is the part that is making me the most apprehensive about this process.
I have been looking for resources about UbD, and while there is tons of great information for reading I have yet to find a source with good sample lesson or lesson ideas. If anyone knows of any resources that might relate to this and help me through the process I would love if you could leave me a comment with the information.
On another note....several weeks ago SOMEONE posted a "Thankful" linky. I grabbed the template with every intention of completing it and linking up. I have long since forgotten who was hosting this but I wanted to share mine anyways.