Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unit Plan and Lesson Plan Templates for Backwards Planning (Understanding by Design) - Freebies

One of things I try to do in the summer besides taking more time to read and enjoy my summer is start doing some planning for the next year.  Especially now that I am in graduate school, I find my time during the school year is always limited.  The more organized and prepared I can be in the summer, the less stressed I feel when school starts.  One of my goals this year is to actually try to incorporate more of the backwards design planning into my unit plans.  I have read and skimmed through Understanding By Design off and on over the last year, but I have yet to really plan a unit this way.

I really like the idea of planning with my objectives and end results in mind and then using that to plan for assessments and learning activities.  I also had read Advancing Differentiation for a class two summers ago and liked the way the author broke down knowledge into conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and factual knowledge. This idea of considering what students should know, be able to do, and understand aligns with Understanding by Design but I liked the descriptions of conceptual, procedural, and factual. For me, it helps me to visualize what I want my students to accomplish and learn.

I kept looking for good templates to plan units and lessons plans using this format.  I found some examples, but nothing that really had all the elements I wanted.  So I decided to create my own templates.  For the unit plan template, I basically used similar templates I had found, but I wanted to add more elements to consider how I would pre-assess and differentiate. I also wanted to add something at the bottom where I could break down the unit into the goals of each individual lesson. You can get a copy of the unit plan template HERE.

For the lesson plan template, I wanted to find something that would flow well from the unit plan and include many of the same elements, but also let me incorporate elements of a traditional lesson plan.  Once again, having options to differentiate was important to me.  This template may be overly detailed and not all elements would apply to all lessons/class periods but I wanted to have the elements if I wanted them.  I do not really have to turn in detailed lesson plans very often any more, but I think it is good to still practice and reflect on my own teaching practices on a regular basis. Another part of considering what students should know, be able to do, and understand is giving students opportunities to learn thinking skills.  Direct instruction of different types of thinking skills is something I want to incorporate into each unit I teach this year. This is a word document that be edited, so columns/row can be typed in, deleted, or edited for size.  You could either type directly into the template or edit the boxes to be the size you want and then handwrite into the template. You can get a copy HERE.
Realistically, for lesson planning on a regular basis I really enjoy using www.planbook.com. You can read my review of different online lesson planning websites HERE.  I would only use a template like this when I decided to make a more detailed lesson plan. However, even on Planbook I can create templates for each class/subject so I will probably incorporate elements of this template into my Planbook templates.

I am looking forward to trying them out.  Have you ever planned units using the backwards design process? Did you feel your units were stronger for using this approach?

3 comments:

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  2. Thank you! Really thought provoking and useful!

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