Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design: Professional Development WorkbookI have been looking through Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins’ Understanding by Design: Professional Development Workbook most of the day today. I am working on a unit on the Harlem Renaissance using the ideas behind UbD, and I would appreciate feedback. You can download the unit (one page) in MS Word. I am most concerned that my performance task, while authentic, doesn’t explicitly address the Understandings and Essential Questions. Let me back up — it does address those issues, but it is more of an inference than an explicit relation.

One of the things I like about the workbook is that there are plenty of examples of how other educators have created units based on UbD. Since Jay McTighe discussed the importance of models when he visited us for a workshop on Thursday, I find it refreshing that he “practices what he preaches,” so to speak. So often educators insist we should do this or that, but they don’t explain how in a way that’s easy to understand. I also like the fact that templates are included in various formats to enable easy photocopying.

I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a professional development workshop this excited about trying what I’ve learned.

On an unrelated note, I have noticed that many of you still have me linked at https://www.huffenglish.com/blog/. There is a redirect in place there that will bring you here, but I was concerned that those of you who might be reading via a news reader would not have seen that I’ve updated in the last couple of months unless you’ve seen the updated link.

6 thoughts on “Understanding by Design”

  1. Hi Dana… love the new look, except for the size of the print. I can't read all your great work!! Too small…..

  2. OK, Mrs. Ris, I have modified the page so you can enlarge the text if you like. Just click the A+ at the top of the page.

  3. How timely that I came across this post today. I have an UbD workshop this afternoon, a follow-up to one that I took last summer. I looked at the UbD plan for the Harlem Renaissance. I think you are correct in that it infers, rather than explicitly states, the connection but my feeling is that as students complete the task, the understanding will become more concrete, no? Maybe it's not the actual task that is bothering you but the wording of the task. When I envision the task being carried out, I don't get the sense that it is inferential, especially if you require specific textual evidence and artifacts in the presentation.

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