Backward Design

Thursday I had the honor of working with my friend and colleague Linda Conway and amazing educator Darlene Burkhart as we backward designed a civics unit for second graders.  It was an interesting journey, as the four hour event forced me to study my intention for students.  Traditionally, beginning of the year routines have been worksheet booklets about friendship, classroom rituals and behavioral norms.  However, now I know the destination that we (the students and I) are aiming for.  With an enduring understanding of Interactions Impact Community, students will be challenged to think about:

  • What is community?
  • How do my actions affect our community?
  • How do I model good citizenship?

This will be accomplished (hopefully) through cross curricular and  collaborative activities such as describing areas of the classroom, measurement, mapping, developing and defending behavioral norms for these spaces.  The performance assessment will be a commercial of sorts developed by students, advertising their “space”.  Image


6 thoughts on “Backward Design

  1. Love your Enduring Understanding! I do think that your new classroom space, above all else, will be fostering a sense of community…because a classroom community will always be far more important than the furniture of the technology in the classroom.

    1. I could not agree more. All of the bells and whistles will make no difference without this component.

    2. While you feel your “intentionality” a bit differently, you already do so many things that build a strong community! I’d love to look at your BD Plan- especially the assessment piece. It’s hard for me to think about measuring “unmeasurables”. Thanks, ML for modeling for us!!!

      1. Linda, Darlene and I talked about this and came up with quick list type assessments that will guide me along the way. Skills such as communication are actually easy to assess in a gentle observational sort of way. I like the Reggio Emilia sort of assessment. It might be something to read about. However, with the whole school as students, like you, it is more challenging. Thanks for the feedback and reflective piece!

  2. Visiting the Primary Innovation Studio at Mammoth Heights Elementary was one of the many highlights of my Douglas County School visits this past August. The term “Master Teacher” was certainly created with Ms. Mary Lisa Harper in mind!

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