Understanding by Design (UBD)

Understanding by Design is a curriculum framework designed by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins centered around a "backwards design" of curriculum writing that focuses on beginning with the end in mind. The model contains three stages of curriculum that make up a unit. Stage One includes the Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, and Essential Questions that students should take away from the unit. These are the outcomes of the unit and what a student should take away from the lessons. Stage Two focusses on the performance assessments that will be accepted as evidence that the students has mastered the objectives of the unit. Finally, Stage Three contains the classroom instruction that will be used to teach the content. Traditional curriculum writing has often started with Stage three, or the classroom instruction, while filling out the terminal outcomes after the instruction is designed. The UBD format begins with the outcomes and understandings first, which is the justification for the "backwards design" name.

For more information about UBD, visit the Understanding by Design Exchange website.

Differentiating Instruction (DI)

Differentiated Instruction is the idea that students all learn in different manners and teachers should design their classroom instruction to respect and respond to those differences. Carol Ann Tomlinsonis one of the leaders in the educational field writing about differentiated instruction. Tomlinson writes that D.I. is the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he/she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he/she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning”. Teachers trained in D.I. focus on a student centered classroom where the teaching is catered to the unique needs of the individual learner. As stated in wikipedia - A classroom that utilizes differentiated instruction is a learner-responsive, teacher-facilitated classroom where all students have the opportunity to meet curriculum foundation objectives.

For more information about DI, visit the Differentiation Central website.