Friday, January 5, 2018

Connecting the Pieces





Some of us might see our professional developments as a time for others to add one more tool to our already stocked junk drawer. It is so stocked with tools we forget which are more productive than others. It just becomes overwhelming.

Our district has been trained and asked to get in the habit of thinking as architects while planning using Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe), to think as assessors to assess for learning (Stiggins), to differentiate our instruction addressing learner variance (Tomlinson), to increase rigor utilizing Depth of Knowledge (Webb) and to be assessed by a multi-domain framework of effectiveness (Danielson). In the end, these are essential ingredients for a successful experience for all learners. Think about the end result of your favorite recipe. It will not be the best if only some of the ingredients are used.

As we move to professional development on increasing our awareness and usage of differentiated instruction, I had the time to reflect and make some connections. All of the puzzle pieces perfectly fit together. I have realized that what we are doing is making a whole lot of sense.

As effective teachers we should be addressing a number of questions in our classrooms, four of which are: What should we be teaching? Where is the appropriate place, environment and time? To whom are we teaching? and using the answers to those to help discover How should we teach? and How will we know the learning has been achieved?

UbD answers the questions of what and how. Assessing for learning ensures we have answered the question of how we will know the students achieved what we intended. DI is a crucial partner in the UbD planning as it addresses the who, where and how. DoK is a tool to help with DI in the process of learning. We will know that we are effective because what we have just done has met much of the components of Danielson's framework.

I have developed the chart below to put my thoughts together and show how these tools are essential partners for teacher effectiveness. These pieces do fit into a perfect picture.

Please comment to help edit or make improvements. I am unaware of a comparison chart that may already exist. If there is such a chart, please share so I can assess what I have learned.

UbD of Wiggins and McTighe
DI of Tomlinson
Danielson's Framework
Stage 1
Knowledge and skills

The Content can be different for students based on what they already know or level of learning.
1a: knowledge of content and pedagogy
Stage 2
Assessment for evidence of learning
The Product should have choice or have a path for students to show what they know and can do. 
1c: Setting instructional outcomes
Outcomes are differentiated to encourage individual students to take educational risks

1f: Designing Student Assessment
• Assessments provide opportunities for student choice. 
• Students participate in designing assessments for their own work. 
• Teacher designed assessments are authentic with real-world application, as appropriate. 
Stage 3
Learning Plan
The Process should have varied techniques and strategies in a thoughtful and purposeful Environment to meet varied needs for students. We need to discover where their point A is and set goals to achieve a unique point B to show growth. It doesn’t have to be the same end point. 
1a: Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

1b: Demonstrating knowledge of students
• The teacher uses ongoing methods to assess students’ skill levels and designs instruction accordingly. 
1d: Knowledge of Resources
 • Texts and resources are matched to student skill level. 

1e: Coherent Instruction
• Activities permit student choice 
• Teacher provides a variety of appropriately challenging resources that are differentiated for students in the class. 
• Lesson plans differentiate for individual student needs

All of Domain 2: Classroom Environment

2e: Organizing Physical Space
-Modifications are made to the physical environment to accommodate students with special needs. 


-There is perfect alignment between the goals of the lesson and the physical environment. 

-Teacher makes extensive and imaginative use of available resources and technology (2e.D.3)

3a: Communication with Students
The teacher points out possible areas of misunderstanding.


3b: Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques (DoK)
(Forming questions in a differentiated way allowing all students to respond or initiate questions.)

3c: Engaging Students in Learning
-Students have choice in how they complete tasks. 

-Students modify a learning task to make it more meaningful or relevant to their needs. 

3d: Using Assessment in Instruction
-Teacher monitoring of student understanding is sophisticated and continuous: the teacher is constantly “taking the pulse” of the class. 

-The teacher makes frequent use of strategies to elicit information about individual student understanding. 

-Feedback to students is obtained from many sources, including other students.

3e: Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness
-The teacher conveys to students that s/he won’t consider a lesson “finished” until every student understands, and that s/he has a broad range of approaches to use.  


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