Lately I have been creating quite a few understanding by design lesson plans and this has made me think back to an experience a year ago I had that helped me realize the importance of using these types of lesson plans. Before this experience, I had used a different type of lesson plan which did not focus on the assessment and skills before designing the actual lesson (Here is a copy of the template used).
In this experience, I was working on a lesson in my business class and, to be honest, I was so proud of my work and thought I was going to do awesome on it (this was the second lesson plan I had ever made and was a HUGE improvement from my first). However, when I got my lesson plan back, the grade I received wasn’t much higher than my first and one comment that stuck out to me was about the activity that I had planned for the students. As great as the activity that I thought I had done, it did not properly assess the students knowledge according to the outcome I was trying to achieve, which I had asked the students to create a fictitious environment and explain it’s structure. However, the outcome stated to “use examples in our world.” If you’re curious, this was outcome 3 in the Economics curriculum. So a part of this lower grade was due to my lack of actually properly assessing what my students were supposed to know.
I had never known their was a different style of creating a lesson plan until the next semester when one of my other professors introduced me to the understanding by design lesson plan. It took me a while to adjust to the new template and took a lot more work than the other template, but in time, I became used to the template and now I would never go back to the old template. I have also felt comfortable enough to make a few adaptations to the lesson plan, which included adding mathematical strategies and concept categories since I hope to become a math teacher and changing the position of the adaptations (Here is a copy of my adapted version of a UbD lesson plan).
Since that one lesson plan, I have been conscientious about how I assess my students and glad that I was introduced this almost immediately after that. I highly recommend teachers use this type of lesson plan and here is a link to reasons why you should!
Also, if you want to know how to create a UbD lesson plan, here’s a link!