One great strategy for planning a unit of work – Part 2 of 3

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One great strategy for planning a unit of work

Backward Mapping Part 2 of 3

Yesterday, we began looking at the concept of Backward Mapping and how to start planning a unit of work. I commented on how powerful a strategy this can be in your teaching toolkit.

Today we will progress further along this road and explain the next steps in building your units of work.

How long have I got?

So now that you know what educational outcomes you want to achieve, and have a firm grasp of what the students already know, consider how long you realistically have to deliver the unit and how much time students have to undertake any assessment.

How will I assess my students?

If the assessment is an unseen exam then perhaps you can teach and revise all the way to the test date. If your assessment is structured under open conditions then consider how long you will need to be in the teaching phase and how long the students will need to draft their assessment piece.

For example if you have 5 weeks to deliver a unit, then the first three weeks might be fully instructional, whilst the remaining two weeks might be dedicated to drafting student work. Often you will be assessing more than once in a particular unit of work, so make sure that your teaching cycle allows for this.

Recently I taught a senior assessment unit on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Students were required not only to read the play but to sit two assessments: one was a persuasive essay and the other an analytical essay, both under exam conditions.

Planning a unit of work like this requires some careful thinking around time allocations to ensure the teaching objectives are delivered on time. I also had to pitch my instruction knowing that the first assessment was more creative in nature whilst the second was more analytical.

This knowledge allowed me to hold off on much of the heavier theoretical material around the ‘Hamlet Problem’ until after they had sat the first exam.

So you know where you want to go and how long you have to get there: that basically sums up the first two steps. 

Tomorrow we will conclude this series of three posts with the remaining rules for Backward Mapping to enable you to have a go yourself.

 
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