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Teachers are coaches of understanding - students are not computers which are uploaded with facts and information without knowing how to apply their learning to new situations and explaining it to others in their own words.
UBD (Understanding by Design) provides a 3-stage process in which teachers prepare unit plans with a backward design. • Stage 1: Clarify priorities and goals; students need to make meaning of "big ideas" and transfer their learning. • "Big Ideas" further thought, raises questions and problems, and makes us rethink what we think we know. An idea is "big" if it helps us make sense of confusing facts and connect-the-dots to the larger picture.
Teachers need to determine how they will assess their students' understanding in Stage 2. So, after we have set the desired results, we need to decide which assessments will provide the best evidence of meaning-making and transfer. There are 6 facets of understanding that the teacher can consider when assessing her/his students (please note that not all 6 need to be used in an assessment). 1. Explain concepts to others in their own words; 2. Interpret new data & text through various modes; 3. Apply what they know in new ways; 4. Demonstrate Perspective by recognizing the big picture 5. Display Empathy by being sensitive to others' thoughts and ideas; 6. Self-Knowledge and assessment, recognizes the limits of their understanding.
Finally, after the teacher has created the essential questions in Stage 1 and established the appropriate assessments in Stage 2, it is now time to develop the actual daily lesson plans and learning activities in Stage 3. The ASCD suggests that we code the detailed lessons with the letters: A, M, and T. A for acquisition of new information & skills; M for making meaning of the newly acquired info; and T for transferring their learning to new situations and other people.
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