3 Unit PlanningUnit Questions1. What are the challenges of providing “access to the general curriculum” to the students we serve?2. What are the learning difficulties we should consider and how can we accommodate them in our instructional planning?3. How would I design an instructional unit in science, social studies, or other content areas to reach all learners, including those who struggle with literacy skills?
4 Unit PlanningThe material in this unit on unit planning is taken from Lenz, B. K., & Deshler, D. D. (2004). Teaching content to all: Evidence-based inclusive practices in middle and secondary schools. Boston: Pearson.
5 The Challenge A. Federal mandate: “Access to the general curriculum” B. Challenges in general curriculum:1. Vocabulary: rapid introduction of new terms2. Density of new concepts in content area instruction3. Assumption of prior knowledge; abstract concepts not defined.
6 The ChallengeC. Heavy reliance on textbooks and text materials 1. Text conventions: headings, subheadings, charts & graphs, italics, pronunciation guides, previews & summaries, glossaries 2. Structure: different organization (vs. narrative: i.e., enumerative, problem-solution-effect, compare/contrast) 3. Inconsiderate text (e.g., location of main idea) 4. Readability (not controlled)
7 The ChallengeD. Importance of a repertoire of comprehension strategies and study skills
8 Two-pronged Approach A. Modify the environment Build a cooperative communityUse effective planning routinesEnhance content learningB. Teach students learning strategies
9 Unit PlanningSelect critical outcomes and shape the critical questionsMap critical contentAnalyze for learning difficultiesReach enhancement decisionsTeach strategicallyEvaluate masteryRevisit outcomes
10 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions 1. Problem:Amount of informationDepth vs. breadth2. Teacher’s role:StandardsCurriculum guidesEnduring understanding
11 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions 3. Focus on outcomes vs. content Topics vs. concepts and ideas that give meaning and apply to real life“Backward design”
12 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions 4. Focus on “big ideas” Wiggins & McTighe, 1998EnduringunderstandingImportant to know and doWorth being familiar with
13 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions
14 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions
15 Select critical outcomes and shape the critical questions Example: Causes of the Civil War
16 PRACTICE ACTIVITY 1 Page 4 With your partner, think about the content outcomes on the left. Then sort them into the 10% (approx.) that all students should know and demonstrate, those (about 30%) that most students should understand, and those that some students will know and demonstrate (in the column on right).
17 Shape the critical questions 6. Translate outcomes into critical questions.Purpose of critical questions:Preview contentHighlight big ideasSet a purpose for reading and discussionStudy aid Small set of big idea questions
18 Shape the critical questions Questions that require deep thinkingExamples:Explanation: Examples – Demonstrate understanding of a concept by giving examples (and/or non-examples) of a concept or principleExplanation: Hierarchy – Identifying which of a series or parts of a whole is most important, and whyRank – Organize information according to some comparative value (e.g., size, number, priority)Compare/contrast – Listing both similarities and differences between two (or more) related concepts
19 Shape the critical questions Examples (continued):Process – Describes events in the order in which they happen(ed)Causality – Describes events in terms of causes and effects or outcomesProblem and Solution – Identification of a challenging situation and its resolution (proposed or demonstrated).Should help students not only think about the content, but how content is meaningful or important.
20 PRACTICE ACTIVITY 2With your partner, choose three “big idea” outcomes from Practice Activity 1 and translate them into three critical questions. Then indicate what cognitive relationship they require (explanation, compare/contrast, causality, etc.).
21 Map the critical content Graphic representation of contentWhy?A good content map is:LimitingConnected and hierarchicalLinearLabeledSimple
24 Map the critical content How to construct a unit map (Zimmaro & Cawley, 1998):Identify the idea or ideas you want to map.Arrange concepts in a pattern (three-level).Use a shape such as a rectangle or circle to enclose each idea or concept.Use straight lines to link related terms.Label each line to identify the relationship.Rework the map until it is clearest.
25 PRACTICE ACTIVITY 3With your partner(s), choose one of the unit topics below. Then brainstorm subtopics that might be covered in that unit and, following the above steps, create a 3-tiered unit map.Transportation The Water CycleThe Electoral Process Energy Resources
26 Analyze for learning difficulties 1. Get to know your students. a. Will content be sufficiently relevant? b. Will students have necessary background knowledge? c. Which abstract concepts will be difficult for them? 2. Many students with learning challenges will have difficulty because of their unique or common learning differences.
27 PRACTICE ACTIVITY 4With your partner, see if you can generate five learning challenges that your students might have with content area material as it is usually presented.
28 Analyze for learning difficulties Many students with learning problems have difficulty:Relating new information to prior knowledgeSeeing the big ideasTranslating big ideas into concepts that make sense to themIdentifying how information is structuredEmploying metacognitive strategiesManaging time
29 Reach enhancement decisions Content enhancementA way of teaching in which critical parts of the content are emphasized and lessons are transformed in a manner that promotes student learning.
30 Reach enhancement decisions Content enhancement requires that:Both group and individual needs are valued and metThe integrity of the content is maintainedCritical aspects of the content are transformedInstruction is carried out in partnership with students.
31 Reach enhancement decisions Teaching practices that help:Establishing context (last unit, next unit, bigger picture)Providing and using a unit mapMaking unit relationships explicitSelf-test questionsUnit schedule
32 Teach strategically CUE: Preview unit using unit organizer DOREVIEWCUE:Preview unit using unit organizerExplain the ways you’ll be teachingState your expectations
34 Consistent, simple, repetitious language Teach strategicallyDO:a. Explicit instruction:Step-by-stepConsistent, simple, repetitious languageUse of graphic organizers and other multisensory aidsMultiple examplesFrequent opportunities for response and practiceClear, specific feedback and reteachingCumulative review
36 How does this unit add to our knowledge of living things? Teach strategicallyREVIEW:Reviewing the unitHow does this unit add to our knowledge of living things?The Unit Organizer has a sentence definition of ecology. How would you describe ecology?What are some important ideas in this unit?Which ideas are clearest to you? What questions do you still have?
37 Two last steps: Evaluate mastery Revisit outcomes Assessment should be tied to unit objectives (critical questions).Focus should be shifted from competence of student to successfulness of teaching.and…Revisit outcomes