The below is a review of what I have learned through completing the following two activities in my TEACH-NOW teacher certification preparation course:

Prezi: Unpacking Standards

WordPress: Standards and Backwards Mapping for a HPE Health-Related Fitness Unit

Unpacking a Standard

Not long ago in a departmental meeting at the school I currently teach at, we were tasked with doing just this – unpacking our standards.  So, I was completely familiar with the process.  However, I did a lot of observing and not much actual unpacking during that meeting.  So, this assignment forced me to unpack two of our standards and was actually quite beneficial.  In my opinion, unpacking standards is a great idea for all teachers, but especially for those of us who are new to the gig because it really tells you what to focus on when designing lessons and units.

As you can see in my Prezi, I was able to pull out all of the nouns and verbs to clearly determine what students are supposed to do and what they need to learn in order to master the standard.  One problem I faced when unpacking a standard was trying to figure out just how far to unpack and just how many lessons were actually needed in order for students to understand a concept.  I realize this can be altered once learning begins, but I also think that accurately planning in advance is important – especially in Physical Education where sharing of facilities can sometimes be an issue.

Backwards Mapping

I did not have too much experience first-hand with backwards mapping before this activity, although I was familiar with the concept and ideas behind it.  Once I dove into backwards mapping for one of the two standards I unpacked, I realized just how easy it was to first unpack, then backwards map.  Because I had unpacked the standard, I was able to easily identify what students needed to know in order to achieve the standard.  Thus, determining the proficiencies was a breeze.  From there, I was able to consistently use the language (primarily the nouns and verbs) mentioned in the standard to further develop my unit plan with assessments and activities that assisted students in mastery of the standard.

Initially, I wanted to start the activity by creating the learning experiences (what I referred to as Activity #1, #2, and #3).  However, I made myself create the unit plan in the order that was referenced (first proficiencies, then assessments, then learning experiences) and this proved to be a very successful way to plan a unit.  I was able to easily design activities last that linked directly back to the assessments and proficiencies, which I believe is the sign of a good unit.