In my social studies class this summer session, we are learning about how to create unit plans through Understanding by Design (UbD). UbD is a framework of research-based practices that have been proven effective in helping teachers develop instructional activities that promote high levels of student achievement. This type of teaching is one provides teachers with the ability to provide students with essential content understanding and multiple forms of assessment to present their understanding. I personally really like this framework because I am required to consider the 'why?' when creating lessons and activities...something that is often left out by a lot of teachers when lesson planning.
However, there are a few challenges to UbD which could be the reason why it is not apparently widespread around schools. One challenge is that this framework is complex and requires teachers to modify their original lesson plan frameworks. Sometimes teachers are not accustomed to thinking about the 'big picture' when planning lessons, and this idea of the 'big picture' is a critical component of UbD. This change of thinking will require teachers to be trained how to plan units according to UbD. Thinking ahead to the future, UbD training sessions would be beneficial to all teachers since specifically in the areas of science and social studies teachers frequently unit plan collaboratively.
However, this framework is not one that can just be used in social studies and science. The most advantageous aspect of UbD is how simple it is to plan interdisciplinary lessons. This is where teachers can make up for the fact that too many teachers are not teaching social studies because it is not being tested. UbD allows teachers to easily plan lessons that are across curriculums and domains to make the classroom a more authentic, meaningful learning environment. Social studies for example can be found in math, literacy or even science lessons, and it is obvious that the teacher has planned for this interdisciplinary learning because of UbD.
What do y'all think about UbD?
Have you ever used or seen it used in a classroom?