Important steps In Designing Units
Step 1: Determine & Unpack Standards
Step 2: Group Standards into Units
Step 3: Identify Enduring Understandings tied
Step 4: Decide Themes & Big Ideas to frame the
Step 5: Design Essential Questions within the
Step 6: Create Unit Performance Assessment to
Assess Priority Standards
Step 7: Write Lessons that Build Skills to the
Step 3: Identify Enduring Understandings
The specific inferences, based on big ideas, that have lasting value beyond the classroom.
In thinking about the enduring understandings for a unit or a course, teachers are encouraged to ask, "What do we want students to understand and be able to use several years from now, after they have forgotten the details?"
Enduring understandings are central to a discipline and are transferable to new situations. For example, in learning about design principles, students come to understand that "people create and interact with objects, places, and design that define, shape, enhance, and empower their lives." This inference from facts, based on big ideas such as "spaces & places" and "needs & wants," provides a conceptual unifying lens through which to recognize the significance of design and advertising as well as to examine visual messages and culture.
Because such understandings are generally abstract in nature and often not obvious, they require uncoverage through sustained inquiry rather than one-shot coverage. The student must come to understand or be helped to grasp the idea, as a result of work. If teachers treat an understanding like a fact, the student is unlikely to get it. (Wiggins, 2008)
In writing the National Core Arts Standards, the group of writers very carefully considered Wiggins and McTighe's question,and then included enduring understandings for each group of performance standards. These Enduring Understandings have been instrumental in gaining clarity and insight into what the purpose and aim of each grade level performance standard should be. As we have unpacked standards and written units, keeping these Enduring Understandings in view has been incredibly helpful.
Enduring Understandings of the National Core Arts Standards
Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
Artists and designers experiment with forms, structures, materials, concepts, media, and art-making approaches
Artists and designers balance experimentation and safety, freedom and responsibility while developing and creating artworks
People create and interact with objects, places, and design that define, shape, enhance, and empower their lives.
Artist and designers develop excellence through practice and constructive critique, reflecting on, revising, and refining work over time.
Artists and other presenters consider various techniques, methods, venues, and criteria when analyzing, selecting, and curating objects artifacts, and artworks for preservation and presentation.
Artists, curators and others consider a variety of factors and methods including evolving technologies when preparing and refining artwork for display and or when deciding if and how to preserve and protect it.
Objects, artifacts, and artworks collected, preserved, or presented either by artists, museums, or other venues communicate meaning and a record of social, cultural, and political experiences resulting in the cultivating of appreciation and understanding.
Individual aesthetic and empathetic awareness developed through engagement with art can lead to understanding and appreciation of self, others, the natural world, and constructed environments.
Visual imagery influences understanding of and responses to the world.
People gain insights into meanings of artworks by engaging in the process of art criticism.
People evaluate art based on various criteria.
Through art-making, people make meaning by investigating and developing awareness of perceptions, knowledge, and experiences.
People develop ideas and understandings of society, culture, and history through their interactions with and analysis of art.