Last Monday I attended one day of the Hawker Brownlow Thinking and Learning Conference. I attend almost every year and have always chosen to follow one ‘hero’ for a day. This year I decided to attend Carol Ann Tomlinson‘s and Jay McTighe‘s 1 day institute. They played it like a tag team where Jay talked about Understanding by Design (UbD) and Carol on Differentiation. They integrated the two and while one day is simply not enough to really do these two areas justice we got an overall picture of how to integrate them to benefit the students in our classes.
12 things I heard that made me think:
1. Curriculum is a plan to get kids where they need to go
2. UbD provides the framework for developing the curriculum
3. Instruction is a plan on how we need to teach the curriculum
4. Differentiation provides the framework to carry out instruction
5. Teach all kids as though they are really smart
6. Start with planning for top level learners rather than aiming in the middle, do not dumb it down but work towards getting the students up there
7. Formative assessment is not for filling in report cards but to inform instruction
8. There is a logic in backward design
9. Essential questions are not the right answer questions
10.Teaching is not just serving ingredients but rather blending them in different ways to suit all people’s tastes
11. We learn when things are just a little too hard for you
12. One cannot ‘hand over’ understanding; this is something each learner needs to develop for themselves
Some other things I thought you might find interesting…
Evidence of understanding means you can do one or more of these:
- explain in your words and justify your responses,
- transfer the understanding to a new situation,
- see other people’s point of view or take a critical stance,
- empathise, and / or
- know yourself as a learner.
Reading and writing shouldn’t impair the student from showing you what he/she knows and can do.
One cannot differentiate poor quality curriculum.
Differentiation does not mean multiple assessment tasks, instead, one can simply change the complexity of the task to challenge students based on their skills and knowledge.
As a reference check on the validity of your assessment tasks in meeting your original aims and objectives, why not show the tasks to another teacher and ask them to state what they think your initial goals might have been.
I also think it’s valid to carry out the above with the students who are actually going to be working on the task.
Thanks for reading 🙂