Through the completion of my graduate program in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, I have gained an immense amount of knowledge and a plethora of skills which I have used and found valuable in my seventh grade English classroom. My outlook on student learning and my empathy towards students has also been positively affected by the program. These learning opportunities have led me to become a better educator both inside and outside of the classroom.
One of my most influential experiences took place with my very first class, ED 523 taught by Dr. Howe. In this course, I learned about the Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework created by Wiggins and McTighe. This framework focuses on a backward design approach that uses big ideas, essential questions, and authentic assessments to create and guide curriculum (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005). The design encourages educators to “start with the end in mind.” Along with UbD, I also learned about a calendar-based curriculum mapping process created by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. The curriculum map allows for educators to examine curriculum both horizontally in a course and also vertically over the student’s K-12 academic career (Jacobs, 1997).
The understandings I have gained from this course have completely revamped my way of teaching. I have been using the unit plan and curriculum map I created in this course for the past two years, and my students enjoy it more and more each year. Learning the importance of using big ideas and essential questions in the classroom have made me a better educator and has assisted my students in learning content and skills that they can transfer to all academic areas and into their everyday lives. I now use big idea and essential questions in every ...
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...ed student engagement and academic achievement in my classroom. I know that I am a better teacher, mentor, and role model because of these experiences.
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