Saturday, March 1, 2014

Backward Design

During PLC the ECE team used the ubd template to look at the essential questions of  our Clothes Study.  We subsequently dug deeper into our Creative Curriculum (the curriculum used by DPS for ECE) and found that a similar document already exists.  As I began planning the next study; the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle study, I used both resources (the ubd template and the Creative Curriculum Scope and Sequence.  Through this work, I determined that the essential questions for this study are
  • What do people throw away?
  • Where does trash go?
  • How do trash and garbage affect our community
  • How can we reuse junk?
  • How can we create less trash.
 At this point we are a little more than half-way through the study and I feel that the study is unfolding in a way that includes all five questions listed above, but can be broken down into two main questions;  What is trash?  and How does it affect our community?  Trash is something that the students have background knowledge about, but it is also something that has never registered to them as having any importance; it is just a regular part of life.  In the first part of the study, what I think of as the "what is trash?" part, the students have had the opportunity to look closely at trash.  We have sorted junk more than once, we have looked closely at labels, environmental print, shapes, sizes, and colors.  We have looked at the trash at home and the trash at school.  We have investigated where trash goes. 

Moving into the second part of the study, "How does trash affect our community?" We have started by noticing litter, litter in our classroom and litter around the school.  This part of the study will hopefully lead the students not only thinking more globally about something that has been a regular part of their every day lives, but also thinking about how they can make a difference in reducing the amount of trash produced. 


  1. Gail,
    Thank you for exploring this topic with your students, it is important that we take care of Mother Earth.
    Is this a new unit for study this year in ECE? I ask because I was wondering if the UbD plan helped in implementing this unit of study or if you didn't see any more depth of understand than when you didn't make the UbD plan.
    I have been looking for data that shows that teaching by using a UbD plan is more effective for student growth than without the UbD plan in place. The language, “essential questions”. “enduring understanding”, and “big ideas” helps me to communicate to all grade level teachers about where we are headed in our unit of study. Right away we get the gist of what you are looking because of the language used in the UbD plan. I’m thinking that in itself is worth taking the time to generate a UbD plan with “big ideas”, “enduring understandings”, “essential questions” & “core task”.

    1. Thanks, Phyllis, I love your questions and comments on this blog. They always get me thinking. This was a new study for ECE. I think the UbD plan did help us get more depth of understanding. We are lucky however, because the curriculum that DPS adopted this year for ECE is actually comes with a UbD-like plan. Each study includes a Scope and Sequence that has a table of "Generalizations (Conceptual Understanding)." You should check out Leslie's post, she actually showed this table, in comparison to the UbD plan that we created.