Tom’s UbD Workshop – Day 1

 Welcome to our Understanding by Design Workshop

Introduction – Focus on our Challenge

Let’s see how people respond to this question:

What are your goals or intended outcomes when you develop a curriculum unit?

  1. Reflect on this question individually.
  2. Next discuss this with colleagues at your table or form a small group.
  3. Have one person in the group contribute original aspects to this shared document.

Today’s Task

Feedback for Tom


Let’s begin with a formative assessment to check on prior learning for today’s task.

  • Try this Self-assessment to check your readiness before developing units in the UbD format.
  • Here’s a page where we can pool our thinking (6 – 12 groups).

Getting Started

Our Essential Question:

Why use UbD?  What is it and what’s it good for?

The following activities have been developed so that you can choose how you would like to engage with and pursue your answer to these questions. Tom will suggest a possible way of choosing which activities you do,but it is really completely up to you.  All of them have been created to support a learner-centred approach to professional workshopping on Understanding by Design that targets the above essential questions. Rather than everyone doing the same thing, a few tools and decision points will be used so that you can choose the options that best match your goals and current experience writing curriculum units according to the UbD framework.


Demonstrate understanding of the UbD framework and template (probably by applying it in a UbD Unit, but maybe through one of the other facets of Understanding).

Success Criteria

The following units are a few examples from a collection provided by the Massachusetts Department of Primary and Secondary Education that are made available through Creative Commons 3.0 licensing. English




Learning Approaches

See Tom’s handout for a detailed description three possible activities or suggest your own.

  1. SOLE / Guided Instruction / Mentoring
  2. Part-by-Part UbD Unit development
  3. Full UbD unit draft & peer review

Group 1: SOLE / Guided Instruction / Mentoring

Group 2: Part-by-Part UbD Unit development

Stage 1

Additional Resources

Stage 2
Stage 3
Putting it Together

Group 3: Full UbD unit draft & peer review


  • Review the Essential Question and generalise your findings.
  • Consider using the UbD Terminology Puzzle that we can share if we want.
  • Expanding the Essential Question – Using UnitPlanner
  • Feedback form – Quick input for Tom

 Other Resources


Books to Support Your Learning