I’m sure entering this week you had great plans for your classroom. Of course, Mother Nature certainly found ways to interrupt your map for the week! Now you might be asking, “Where do we go next?” When I asked myself this question, I immediately thought back to backward design. You may recall that backward design begins with the end in mind (a la Stephen Covey) and encourages you to plan from that point backward to where you are today. When planning backward, think of the acronym WHERE:
- Where are we headed? If you don’t know, how can you help the students get there? Set a point on the calendar or select a significant event that is coming up (e.g. IREAD, ILEARN, or quarterly exams) and make that your target. Now start planning backward.
- Hook the student through engaging and provocative entry points such as challenges, oddities, questions & experiences. Use a variety of instructional methodologies to build toward your target each day.
- Explore the subject and Enable/Equip the student. Support students’ exploration of big ideas and essential questions that lead them to pursue their own hunches, test ideas and try things out.
- Rethink our work and ideas. Guide students in self-assessment and self-adjustment, based on feedback and experiences. This is formative assessment in action.
- Evaluate results. Reveal what has been understood through final performances and products.
As you prepare for next week, keep the WHERE in mind. You and your students will be glad you did!