Designing Backwards using UbD

Posted on 05 November 2009 by urbanmusiceducation.org

For the past two months I have undergone extensive training in “Backwards Design” using the principles of Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. It has revolutionized the way that I have thought about planning for understanding rather than planning “activities” and thematic units “just because they are fun and cool”. I have really drank the koolaid here folks! I will discuss more in future posts, but I plan to make this a regular blog feature. Right now I have just finished re-designing some of the units I just taught in trimester 1. Now, as I embark into trimester 2 on Monday, I will have 6 units to complete over the weekend! The process really does get faster, though, with practice.(It’s a good thing I learned perserverance and endurance in my music classes when I was a kid!)

I would like to share my efforts with those interested and welcome comments or questions as I set forth on this journey to re-design my curricular units into ones that provide opportunities for deeper levels of learning and understanding for my students. Feel free to download any of the units below and modify or adapt for your situation. Enjoy!

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Ken Pendergrass Says:

    Sarah-
    What an awesome blog post and web-site! I so glad I discovered your blog via Joel’s blog So You Want to Teach and I will promptly add you to my blog roll and start subscribing. I regards to UbD, how can I get a blank UbD template? These look similar to something I’ve used to help plan units, but I’m anxious to hear more…thanks for this. Just the shot in the arm I need while I get over this wretched flu!
    -Ken in Seattle

  2. John P. Says:

    What a wonderful compilation of resources! Thank you so much. Our district is transitioning to UbD lesson planning, and it’s a challenge for me after 20 years of more traditional planning. Thanks for helping me make the jump!

  3. urbanmusiceducation.org Says:

    You’re Welcome! Glad to know I can help. Sarah

  4. Merita Says:

    Thank you Sarah very much, you have been such a great help. I am using your ubd lesson plan for my music class, i am stil strugling though,I am very confused, if you have more of your lesson plans to share it would be great, thanks,

    Merita

  5. Dolores Williams Says:

    Sarah,
    I am just being introduced to backward design and all of the examples I have seen (until now) relate to reading, writing, or math. Thank you for letting me see it through your music lens. I am currently ‘sipping’ the koolaid, but with your help I think I may be able to finish the entire pitcher! Thank you for sharing. I plan to adapt and use what you have posted…and I hope to eventually create on my own!
    Looking Forward,
    Dolores Williams

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. » UrbanMusicEducation.org Blog Archive » More on Backwards Designing-Reflections from Teaching Says:

    […] teaching the first of my Backwards Designed units today (How to Blues- 5th grade) and I thought I’d reflect on the experience. Up ’til […]

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