Writing Lesson Plans using the Backward Design Method

Special Education Clinical 300/530
Liz Pearce
This module is to help you write a lesson plan
using the special education clinical template.
For this module you will read the PowerPoint
slides and follow the hyperlinks to gather more
information. You will also be asked to complete a
lesson plan as the module goes along. Please
save a copy of the Lesson Plan Template to your
computer and enter the information when
prompted. Bring your completed lesson plan to
class on the date listed in your syllabus.
If you click on a hyperlink and it asks you to open
a file, you will find the file on the bottom
taskbar- just click on the Windows key to view.
The lesson plan template you will use is based on
the Backwards Design method of planning
created by Wiggins and McTighe in their 2001
book, Understanding by Design.
This Lesson Plan has three stages:
◦ Desired Results
◦ Assessment Evidence
◦ Learning Plan
This module will examine all three stages and allow you
the opportunity to create a mock lesson plan using this
Please click on the continue button when ready to
Stage 1 – Desired Results
State Content Standard(s):
Understanding (s)/goals
Essential Question(s):
Students will understand:
Student objectives (outcomes):
Students will be able to:
What goals and objectives do you have for the lesson? In other words,
what should your students walk away with once the lesson is over?
First you need to consider the Illinois State Learning Standards. Which
are pertinent to the subject you are teaching? Click on the hyperlink
above to learn more.
Second, What essential questions do you want to use as a overarching
theme for the lesson? Click on the hyperlink above to learn more.
Finally, what goals and objectives do you have for the students’
learning? Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more.
Let’s pretend your clinical takes place in a
5thgrade classroom. Your cooperating teacher
has asked you to teach a 50 minute Language
Arts lesson using The Diary of Anne Frank.
Do you have enough information to plan the
lesson or do you need to have more
discussion with your cooperating teacher?
Click on your answer:
Start planning
Talk to
Your cooperating teacher will help guide you with your lesson. Some topics to discuss right now with
the teacher:
Standards that should be addressed
Students’ prior knowledge
◦ Has the teacher introduced the Holocaust? WWII?
◦ Are you introducing the book or is your lesson continuing one from the day before?
Lesson Purpose (knowing the purpose(s) will lead you to essential questions, goals and objectives)
◦ To teach historical context
◦ To teach moral themes such as prejudice
◦ To work on vocabulary
◦ To teach about first person narrative
◦ To illustrate one way of writing
◦ To build skills in reading comprehension
◦ learning styles
◦ academic abilities
◦ cognitive levels
◦ social skills
You chose start planning. If so, do you know the
learning styles, academic abilities, cognitive levels,
and social skills of the students?
Do you know where you are starting? Do the students
have prior knowledge?
How about the purpose for reading Anne Frank? Is it
for the historical context? To teach moral themes
such as prejudice? To work on vocabulary? To teach
about first person narrative? To illustrate one way of
writing? To build skills in reading comprehension……
You will probably need to have a further discussion
with the cooperating teacher in order to create a
meaningful lesson that meets the needs of the
Discuss with
cooperating teacher
You had a good discussion with your cooperating teacher. Your
questions may have even led the teacher to think more closely about the
lesson. Now it’s time to start writing stage one of the lesson plan.
Notes from meeting with cooperating teacher:
Standards: LA and SS
Prior Knowledge: Students are learning about the Holocaust in Social
Studies, so the Language Arts class is continuing the theme. You will be
introducing the book.
Purpose(s): Reading comprehension is an important part of the class
because ISATS are approaching. There has also been bullying going on
in the 5th grade so the teachers thought that Anne Frank might give the
students a perspective into how bullying can lead to genocide.
Students: 10 students, 6 girls & 4 boys, all have a specific learning
disability in the area of reading. 7 in the sub area of comprehension with
3 in the sub area of fluency. They generally like to work in groups and
are comfortable with one another. 2 of the boys have to be constantly
reminded to start working but the rest generally are willing to do their
work. IQs are average to high average. One student is Jewish. One girl
has non-medicated ADHD and needs ongoing redirection.
Now it’s time for you to plan stage one in
your lesson plan. Open the Lesson Plan
template and:
Based on the information you have, list the
standards you will use (write out complete
standard, don’t just list the number)
Write 2 essential questions
Write 2-3 goals
Write 2-3 objectives
When done, click on continue.
Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence (must align with standards/objectives)
How will you determine what students already know and can
Formative Assessment:
What is the evidence that students met or are making
progress toward the goal?
How will you measure and what tool(s) will you use to collect
the data?
Other Evidence:
*Assessment & Data Collection Tools must be attached
Adaptations for Diverse Learners:
Now that you have determined what the students should know and be
able to do at the end of the lesson, you need to design assessments to
measure their progress towards the goals and objectives.
There are three assessment components that should be present in a
Pre-assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment.
Pre-assessments are quick assessments used
to inform teaching. They show the teacher
what prior knowledge and skills the students
bring to the lesson and this helps the teacher
to know where to start the lesson. These
assessments are for learning, not of learning
and therefore should not be used as a graded
assignment. Please click on this link for
examples of pre-assessments:
Look at stage 1 of your lesson plan. Think about the outcome of the
lesson. Write one pre-assessment that assesses the students’ prior
knowledge and if needed, one that measures students’ skills. Think
about what tool to use- Here are some more ideas for preassessments:
Teacher prepared pretests
KWL charts and other graphic
Writing prompts/samples
Guess Box
Picture Interpretation
Teacher observation/checklists
Student demonstrations and
Initiating activities
Student interviews
Student products and work samples
Portfolio analysis
Game activities
Show of hands to determine
understanding: Every Pupil Response
Drawing related to topic or content
Standardized test information
Anticipation journals
Now remember you need to keep data. If your cooperating teacher asks you
why your lesson started at a certain point or why you are pre-teaching a
certain skill or concept before starting the lesson do you have data to show
the teacher? Oral recollection is not the answer!
Formative assessments are also
assessments for learning that are used
during the instruction to inform both the
teacher and the students. Feedback is
essential for these assessments so that
students know how they are doing. These
assessments also inform the teacher about:
◦ Concepts, skills that may need to be re-taught,
◦ knowledge, understandings or misconceptions students
are gaining from the lessons
Please read section on formative assessment at
this link:
Look back at stage 1 of your lesson plan.
Think about the outcome of the lesson. Write
two formative assessments for each goal.
Remember these must align with your
standards and objectives. Also, remember to
write down any adaptations you may need to
make for your specific learners.
Visit this website for some ideas of tools you
can use:
Remember you will need to keep data!
Your lesson plan may or may not have a
summative assessment. Summative assessments
are assessments of learning. They are typically
given at the end of a unit and show the body of
knowledge or skills the student has learned.
Performance assessments are more authentic and
allow the child to display a deeper understanding
of skills and concepts than pencil/paper
Please scroll down and read the information at
this link about Step 2: summative assessment:
Look back at stage 1 of your lesson plan. If you
were to continue teaching this book, think about
the essential questions and the final
outcomes/enduring understandings you would
like the students to end up with when the unit is
complete. Write one summative assessment. This
assessment must align with your standards and
essential questions.
Visit this website for some ideas of tools you can
use: http://www.wcsu46.org/lg/images/App-CChartFormativeSummAssessment.pdf
Remember it must be measurable and you must
create a rubric if needed!
Now that you know what the students’ learning
outcomes should be and how you will assess
them, it’s time to plan the rest of the instruction.
We’ll take this step by step. Look at the
template- we start the learning plan with an
introduction which includes the rationale and a
hook/anticipatory set to grab the students’
attention. Think about these questions:
◦ How will you introduce the objectives?
◦ How will you engage the students and keep them
◦ How can you tie this lesson to their lives?
◦ Why is this lesson important for your students?
In your template, write down how you will
introduce the objectives and engage the
students in the lesson.
This should only take a small amount of
lesson time (5-10 minutes). Think creatively
to hook the students but try to align your
hook with the essential questions.
Now it’s time to plan the activities. First, think about the 6 levels of Bloom’s
Taxonomy (I’ve listed the old/new versions):
◦ Knowledge/Remembering
◦ Comprehension/Understanding
◦ Application/Applying
◦ Analysis/Analyzing
◦ Synthesis/Evaluating
◦ Evaluation/Creating
Use the verbs attached to each level (for example: KNOWLEDGE-define, duplicate,
list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state) to create activities. You should find that if
you look at your formative assessments, they will fit with the taxonomy
Need a refresher on Bloom’s Taxonomy or the verbs that go with each level?
Click here: http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm
Your activities should include all levels of the taxonomy and you should formulate questions for each
level to ask your students. Remember, an activity can and should include more than one level- you
do not need 6 different activities. The 10 students in our sample 5th grade class are of average or
high average intelligence and all are verbal so it is appropriate to include all levels. If you were
creating a lesson plan for students with very low cognitive abilities then it may be more appropriate
to not include all levels.
Next, under “Instruction” in the template, script out
your role and the students’ role during the lesson.
Describe this in detail so that if someone else had to
teach your lesson they could just pick up this plan
and go.
For an example, look at pages 1-3 at this website to
see what a scripted lesson looks like:
Explain how the activities incorporate Multiple
Intelligences and a variety of instructional elements and
The best way to meet the needs of all learners in the
classroom is to use differentiated instruction. There are
three areas of the curriculum that can be differentiated:
◦ Content: (What will be learned/taught)
◦ Process: (How content will be learned/taught)
◦ Product: (Assessment of content)
Visit these websites for a deeper understanding:
One way to differentiate the process is
through flexible grouping. In the template
you will see a section for flexible grouping.
Read the information on this website about
flexible grouping and determine how and
when you will group your students to
maximize their learning.
English Language Learners
IEP (Mild Disability)
(Moderate to Severe Disability)
Literacy Issues: does not read,
compute, or write at or near
grade level.
Social, Emotional &
Behavioral Issues
On the template you will find a differentiation grid. Think of how you could
differentiate the content, process and product of your lesson. What would you
change for each of these categories of learners so that they can access the
curriculum? Even though your sample class, and your clinical setting may not
have all of these learners, stretch and try to determine what each population
listed in the grid would need, know that what works for one group may also
work for another. Fill in the grid.
Now look back on your lesson and in this
section list all the materials and resources
necessary for your lesson. Remember to list
technology if needed, resources you used,
materials you will need for the assessments
and activities.
You’re in the home stretch. In this section you will expand your lesson.
Technology Application/Assistive Technology:
Do any learners need technology? If so, list what’s needed.
What other literature could expand/support this lesson?
Find at least one fiction or non-fiction book that is appropriate for the learners and the
Literature Connection:
How does this connect/apply to other content areas and the real world?
How could this lesson be expanded in these areas?
This is only filled in if the lesson is taught. If taught, you would critically reflect on what
worked, what didn’t and what you would do differently if you had the chance to teach it
Fill in these template components and voila! You’re finished!
Remember to print and bring your lesson plan to class.

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