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Understanding By Design Paperback – January 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1416600350 ISBN-10: 1416600353 Edition: 2nd Expanded

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Understanding By Design + Understanding by Design: Professional Development Workbook + The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Assn. for Supervision & Curriculum Development; 2nd Expanded edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416600353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416600350
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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It was easy to read and understand.
lisa henriquez
Backward Design is an excellent way to plan lessons if you are a teacher or administrator.
Marilyn Jones
This book is fantastic and extremely helpfull.
Average Joe Consumer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 171 people found the following review helpful By J. Sheriff on July 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
With respect to some of the previous reviewers, I really don't think they have done justice to this book. I'll completely expose my inner geek and admit that curriculum design is fascinating to me, and add that I own a considerable number of books on the topic. I am particularly interested in differentiating curricula, and I purchase books about educational theory and classroom ideas the way other women purchase shoes--insatiably. I have constantly challenged myself to create personalized lessons with meaningful learning goals throughout my teaching career, but I will say that this book has definitely changed the way I view teaching and curricular design--and for the better.

I liked this book because it embraces the numerous messy variables that exist in the real world of teaching, and provides a template for you to construct meaningful, integrated learning activities for students. These messy variables include differing student interests and abilities, the struggle to keep activities engaging as well as applicable to important premises of a given discipline, as well as logistical restraints, such as time and access to resources. Other models provide neat flow charts that look beautiful, but often prove unusable given a unique teaching situation (and who doesn't have a unique teaching situation?) This philosophy expects messy variability, and gives a vision and a plan to work with that, instead of hoping everything will turn out neatly.

Here are some of the huge ideas I got from this book. First, it is essential to clarify the "so what?" of whatever you are teaching--the big ideas, the principles of the field, the "It" things you want students to come away with.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Gay on July 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I learned about this product in a professional learning seminar at my school before I ever bought the book. The department head discussed the same concepts in a much more concise manner. The book uses unnecessarily elevated language instead of simply stating the process for implementing backwards design. The text often referred to terms that were only listed in the glossary, and the glossary definitions were presented in jumbled and vague language. The concept and process is only clear to the reader because of the sample handouts in the text. Had I not known about backwards design before reading this book, I would not have implemented the concepts unless required to do so because the process (as explained in the book) contains many more steps than necessary to achieve the desired result.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ann-marie C. Delgado on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I think the premise of the book was excellent, but the manner in which it was presented was, at times, redundant. I think the authors could have made the book more concise and to the point. From time to time, it seemed like the authors were simply caught up in the verbage and not an effective point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Garrett Zecker on April 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Understanding by Design is a technical publication for building curriculum using the backward design process. This book helps instructors support their work by implementing Essential Questions so that a course can be built around the end result and focused on understanding rather than milestones and tasks. It is a pretty basic lesson planning guide - almost a 101 for teachers of anything. It lacks a few fundamental ideas, such as using taxonomy as a basis for questioning, but I think that the book's primary focus is on building of courses, lessons, and units rather than pedagogical technique.

There are a few things I like about it - it teaches the concepts and also manages to include applicable strategies and forms that will help the instructor build their unit. It is also well written. Some things I don't like is that it is unnecessarily wordy in many places, and it contains many useless graphics that illustrate ideas that are not really difficult for anyone to grasp. One final note is that the author uses unnecessary humor at times that I think really just adds to the wordiness of some topics that are relatively simple to grasp.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Holtrop on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've used this book for three years in my graduate Curriculum Design courses for teachers. My students are practicing teachers who have seen dozens of lesson planning approaches and don't need some new theory just for the fun of it. But Wiggins and McTighe present a fresh perspective that doesn't so much replace as reposition traditional approaches. It boils down to what they call backward design--or identifying learning outcomes and assessments before addressing fun activities or how to meet state standards. This means the fun activities, state standards, and building or district level lesson plan formats all work with their system--they just remind us all to figure out the purpose of a lesson before committing the "twin sins" of merely entertaining the students or covering the material.
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By Theresa Danielle Driscoll on March 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book if you are interested in designing unit plans for your school year. This would be really helpful to get to know the CCSS by unpacking the standards.
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By Robert Varga on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To be honest to the author and publisher, I was required to read this book for my Master's program, but it was so boring and uninteresting that I barely got through the chapters and frankly I didn't learn much of anything from its pages.
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