Understanding by Design

Having used Fink’s 3 column table and now creating a UbD covering the same material I was very quick to notice how different each of them are. In my beginning years of teaching, I knew that I needed an elaborate plan due to not feeling comfortable with the content. My plans during those years were UbD and broke each goal down into all of the steps we would take to get there. As I grew more comfortable my plans changed to mimic more of Fink’s 3 column design. This allowed me to just focus on goals and the process. I believe each design has it’s place in planning, it just depends on where I am in my own learning process and the level of comfort I have with the content. I could also see both plans being used simultaneously. I would work the 3 column plan as a very broad overview and then move into a UbD template to break each goal down into a more manageable plan.

Using a UbD to plan with allows anyone to take a peek in our unit and see more of a day to day task oriented plan. This plan is competency based, is much easier to follow and really goes into detail with each goal. The thing I love most about using the UbD is following through with the acronym WHERETO and being very intentional with each activity. This acronym highlights the critical elements but does not have to be implemented in a specific order. Using the acronym helps to ensure that the plan incorporates all essential parts of a lesson.  

  • W – WHERE is the lesson headed and WHY?
  • H – HOOK the learner right away and HOLD their interest/attention. 
  • E – EQUIP students with tools, knowledge and skills to reach the goal(s)/desired result(s), 
  • R – Provide time to REFLECT, RETHINK and REVISE. 
  • E – EVALUATE and self-assess progress and understanding. 
  • T – TAILOR the learning to every student’s needs, talents and interests. 
  • O – ORGANIZE the learning for deep and meaningful understanding

I have linked my UbD template for Weathering, Erosion and Deposition below. This plan takes the learning goals for this unit and breaks it down to each task. My Innovation plan of incorporating ePortfolios in the classroom will allow students to document their learning, reflect and create their video posts.