During my first three years of teaching (1997-2000), I didn't know about the backward mapping approach to curriculum design, so when I learned about Understanding by Design (UbD) and started using the template, my subsequent years of teaching included much stronger curriculum design and the huge relief that comes from having a strong unit plan. I found that writing daily lessons was so much easier and more meaningful when I was so crystal clear about what I wanted students to learn and be able to do and how I would assess their learning throughout the unit and in the summative assessment. I wanted to share two great resources about curriculum planning:
1) Jennifer Gonzalez has a great blog post and podcast episode called "Make units more inspiring with vision boards," and I love the idea of creating a visual unit overview using Canva (see picture above for an example).
2) Amanda Hathaway (Math Coach at English High) and I adapted the UbD 2.0 template to include connections to the Grading for Equity book, which many secondary schools are using to guide improvements in grading practice. If you learned about Understanding by Design prior to the 2.0 version, the main difference is that the 2.0 template includes the idea of "transfer of learning" and intentionally designing so that students are asked to use their learning in another setting/context. The idea of "transfer" significantly increases the intellectual demand because students can't just memorize and apply their learning in a familiar context but must deeply understand it in order to use their learning in a different/new context.