Unpacking Benchmarks
Capstone  Big Idea
Benchmark Alignment
Project Based Units
Essential Questions
Mastery Learning Goals
Evidences of Mastery
Description of Assessment
Performance Criteria/Rubric
 
Learning Activities
Sequencing of Instruction



PHASE 1: DETERMINING BIG IDEAS


The BIG IDEA and the entire capstone is defined in this phase. It all begins with the benchmarks and skills we want our students to be able to understand and demonstrate. 





UNPACKING BENCHMARKS


Each capstone is driven by national, state or district standards. Every member of the design team needs to be a leader in their content area but should also be comfortable and aware of other disciplines. These benchmarks should be shared with all participating team members including auxiliary staff, partners, parent and students.

Academic Content Standards describe the knowledge and skills that students should attain, often called the what of what students should know and be able to do. They indicate the ways of thinking, working, communicating, reasoning and investigating, and important and enduring ideas, concepts, issues, dilemmas and knowledge essential to the discipline.

ODE Website: Ohio Academic Content Standards
Common Core Standards: http://www.corestandards.org/





CAPSTONE BIG IDEA


Identify the team members that will participate on the creation of the Capstone / Big Idea. This should consist of building level disciplines but may extend other grade level courses. (Ex. Government, American History and Government)
  • dentify relevant and natural connections between subject areas
  • Brainstorm capstone themes, products and potential partnerships


A Big Idea…

  • Provides a “conceptual lens” for prioritizing content.
  • Serves as an organizer for connecting important facts, skills, and actions.
  • Transfers to other contexts.
  • Manifests itself in various ways within disciplines.
  • Requires uncoverage because it is an abstraction.

 Big Ideas are Integral to Alignment of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction:

  • Big ideas are often implied and sometimes stated in goals or content standards. Look for key concepts, consider the ideas in key nouns.
  • A constant focus on and effective use of Big Ideas should be at the heart of performance tasks.
  • Quizzes, tests and prompts should relate to the Big Ideas.
  • Big Ideas should be explicit in the essential questions you write as well as student expected understandings.
  • The learning plan (unit design) should ensure that Big Ideas re uncovered through inquiry activities and explicit instruction.

 

Big Ideas Manifested - Big Ideas typically manifest themselves in one or more of the following forms:
 

Examples

Concepts

Equity, friend, function, genre, sample, scarcity

Themes

Good triumphs over evil; man’s inhumanity to man; saving for a rainy day

Issues or Debates

Nature vs. nurture; liberty vs. license; majority always rules

Problems or Challenges

How to maximize power and control in golf or tennis; maximize shipping volume

Processes

Problem solving; scientific investigation; decision making

Theories

Natural selection; the Atkins diet; Big Bang Theory

Paradoxes

Fighting for peace; no force acting on a body moving at constant speed; less is more

Assumptions or Perspectives

Art conveys meaning; terrorist vs. freedom fighter; capitalism is the best economic system

 

More Examples of Big Ideas….

 

      Abundance or scarcity

      Acceptance or rejection

      Adaptation

      Aging or maturity

      Balance

      Challenge

      Challenge or continuity

      Character

      Communities

      Conflict

      Connections

      Cooperation

      Correlation

      Courage

      Creativity

      Culture

      Cycles

 

      Defense or protection

      Democracy

      Discovery

      Diversity

      Environments

      Equilibrium

      Evolution

      Exploration

      Fairness

      Friendship

      Harmony

      Honor

      Interactions

      Interdependence

      Invention

      Justice

      Liberty

    Loyalty

      Migration

      Mood

      Order

      Patterns

      Perspective

      Production or consumption

      Proof

      Survival

      Repetition

      Rhythm

      Symbol

      Systems

      Technology

      Tyranny

      Wealth

 

McTighe, J. and Wiggins, G. (2004). Understanding by design: Professional development workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, p. 69-75.




BENCHMARK ALIGNMENT

Connect the capstone themes, products and partnerships with the benchmarks




















PROJECT BASED UNITS


Pencil in titles that would break down the Big Ideas into smaller Project Based Units. The units would have individual end products/projects that each have essential questions, specified subject area benchmarks, mastery learning goals, project rubrics, and learning activities.


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