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Artifact Reflection 1

Emily Miles
Dr. Carolyn Doolittle
Artifact Reflection
ED 720
Artifact Reflection
How does a teacher design a successful curriculum? In what ways can the
teacher aid the students in their journey towards deeper understanding? How does a
teacher know their instruction was successful? These questions and millions of others
constantly race across the minds of educators each and every day. While taking ED
720, I learned how to navigate the tidal wave of questions while, also learning how to
plan successful units, teach with intentionality, and gather evidence of student
understandings. In the following paragraphs, please join me as I reflect on how my
teaching style has changed since the first class of Curriculum Design and Assessment.
I would like to start by discussing Understanding by Design and how it has
changed my teaching style. The most important element that I gleaned from the very
first night of class was to teach with the end in mind. I had always thought that
backwards design was a good idea, but have never put it into practice until coming to
Saint Marys. The other idea that was introduced on the first night of class was the three
stages of Backward Design. When I was a music major at MidAmerica Nazarene, I
remember writing units without having a firm understanding of what I wanted my
students to accomplish and feeling very uncertain of myself during the design process.
After completing the Thanksgiving Unit using the UbD template, I felt very confidant
that I could create units with clearly identified goals and I am confidant that this unit
will not contain the twin sins of design, but will be a series of lessons, intentionally
linked, to lead students towards a deeper level of understanding.
Now, I would like to move deeper into Understanding by Design to unpack how I
applied the Six Facets of Understanding to the Thanksgiving Unit that I wrote for the
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unit project. The following passage from Understanding by Design had a profound
effect on me, the facets suggest a goal: In teaching for transfer, a complete and mature
understanding ideally involves the full development of all six kinds of understanding.
(McTighe & Wiggins, 2006 p.85). After reading the previous sentence, I quickly
developed a deep understanding and passion for student transfer.
As mentioned above, I was intentional to use most, if not all, of the 6 facets. For
the explanation piece, the students described, using their own words, what lead to the
Pilgrims decision to leave England. Next, the students worked on the perspective and
interpretation facets. During this time they wrote a series of journal entries pretending
that they are on the Mayflower. To dig deeper, I the moral purpose behind the
Thanksgiving unit was for the students to feel empathy for the Pilgrims ocean journey
and hardships in the New World. I also wanted the students to see how the Native
Americans went beyond themselves to meet, help, and befriend the Pilgrims. It is my
goal to show students that kindness and hospitality can be free given to others
regardless of differences. Everyone wants to feel valued and cared for, I hope my future
students will take it upon themselves to show kindness even if they are not treated
kindly in return.
The final area that challenged me was the section titled Thinking like an
Assessor. While completing my degree in music education, I had a very hard time
coming up with assessments that were valid and I often found myself using the same
type of assessment each time. Now, I know that evaluations should be a combination of
performance, formative, summative, and informal and should be used throughout the
learning process. During last weeks class, we were challenged to write our own
rubrics for our unit presentations. Like most of my peers, I have had little to no
experience creating rubrics. It wasnt until I took a step back and reflected on the
teachers I observed this semester, that I realized how simple a rubric could be. For
example, one of my mentor teachers used rubrics to help her students set goals for
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behavior and academics. I have seen other teachers use a picture rubric to teach grade a
project in the primary grades. I was also greatly encouraged after reading the following
portion from our text, which states rubrics describe degrees of quality, proficiency, or
understanding along a continuum. (McTighe & Wiggins 2006, p. 173). Now, that I
have a clear picture of what rubrics are and how they are used, I want to continue to
think like an assessor and create meaningful assessments to gage student
understanding.
After taking Curriculum Design and Assessment, I know that I will continue to
develop into an intentional designer who starts with the end in mind. When planning
units, I will not immediately feel overwhelmed. Instead, I will use the UbD template to
create fun and meaningful units. In order to differentiate effectively, I will use the 6
Facets of Understanding and will research other ways to reach my students. Finally, I
hope to create many alternative assessments and use a mix of holistic and analytic
rubrics to evaluate my students insight and level of understanding.

Bibliography
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Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2006). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., p. 85,
173). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education