“A curriculum is not a list of places to visit, but an engaging and effective itinerary. It is not a list of the “input” to be taught, but a plan for causing the student “output” that would reflect successful understanding and habits of mind. For it to be a curriculum, in sum, it would have to be a plan for achieving performance purposes, for specifying how learners are to accomplish important understanding-related tasks with content, not just a plan for teaching content.”
~Grant Wiggins, Schooling by Design
Verona faculty members are working collaboratively with our talented district supervisors to revise all courses of study, K-12, utilizing the Understanding by Design framework in order to develop a consistent, coherent, horizontally and vertically articulated curriculum aligned to state standards that promotes achievement for all students. The Understanding by Design (UbD) framework calls for a meaningful integration of all three components of teaching and learning - curriculum, instruction, and assessment - where true understanding is the goal. UbD is also referred to as Backwards Design because teachers must think about the learning goals and the assessment before developing the learning activities. The goals and the assessments must be centered upon true student understanding, which only occurs when a student can transfer what they have learned to a new context.
Therefore, the question all teachers ask themselves as they redesign our curricular units of study is the following: What is it that we want students to be able to do, on their own, at the end of a course of study and in future tasks? Answering this question prior to designing learning activities and assessments will result in more meaningful teaching and learning in our schools.