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Friday, June 19, 2020

Backwards Design: Planning from the End in Mind

I can honestly say that I don't remember how I used to plan my lessons as a classroom teacher anymore! I remember I planned weekly, in silos, and at times thematic with an assigned 'planning buddy.' It wasn't until I became an Instructional Coach that I really learned about Backwards Design and how it could truly benefit my planning process and instruction.

In this blog, I will share with you the Backwards Design process (BWD) my teachers and I utilize. We have adapted our process and understanding from the work of Wiggins- Designing By Design to better fit our needs. 

In One Sentence:

Backwards Design is beginning your planning process, by starting with the first two PLC questions: (1) What do you want students to know and learn; and (2) How will we know if they learned it? You start by thinking of the end result and what students need to learn and know, then plan backwards.

What's the Point?

By starting with the 'end in mind' you:
  • Gain an understanding of what students need to know and learn within an entire unit.
  • Establish an understanding of how you will know if they learned what they needed to (i.e., what will proficiency look like?)
  • Take what it is that students need to know and learn and then determine what instructional strategies will best work to hit those goals. 
Adapted Process:
  1. Identify Desired Results: "What do students need to know and learn?"
    • Determine the content and unit standards.
    • Discuss what it is that students are learning within the unit (i.e., what skills).
    • Determine the "Focus TEKS" or heavy hitting standards within the unit.
      • Are there new standards being taught or introduced? 
    • Unpack the TEKS/Standards into Learning Targets
  2. Determine Acceptable Evidence: "How will we know if they learned it?"
    • Determine what proficiency will look like at the end of the unit? 
    • How will you assess student understanding at the end of the unit (Summative)?
    • How will you assess student learning throughout the unit (Common/Formative Assessments)?
    • How will you gauge where students are with their knowledge coming into the unit (Pre-Assessment)?
  3. Plan Experiences and Instruction: 
  • Take unpacked learning targets and 'pace' them out into an order that works for your students over the number of days in the unit.
  • Intentionally plan and place when/where you will assess students (i.e., summative, common, checkpoints, and pre assessment)
  • Intentionally plan and place when you will bring your assessment data to a PLC to calibrate and use to inform instruction as a team. 
  • Once targets and assessments are in place, NOW plan lessons and strategies that will accomplish the learning target of the day.


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