Friday, 14 June 2013

mRLC Backwards-By-Design Planning

     If you are a teacher in Manitoba who is also utilizing backwards-by-design planning then you definitely need to check out the resources available through the Manitoba Rural Learning Consortium (mRLC). My principal shared this with us this week and I am so glad she did because it is going to save me a lot of work in my planning! The backwards-by-design method of planning (sometimes called understanding-by-design, backwards planning, or planning with the end in mind) involves planning out the "big ideas" or main goals for a topic first, then selecting the best assessment options, and finally determing instructional methods to prepare students for those assessment options. For example, here is how I might set up my planning for a Grade 7 Science class using backwards-by-design planning:

Big Ideas/Goals/Learning Outcomes
- Ecosystems contain complex interactions between organisms and
   their environment.
- Includes learning outcomes: 7-1-01, 7-1-02, 7-1-03, and 7-1-04

Assessment Options
- Outdoor ecosystem analysis lab
- Ecosystem flowchart/web project
- Ecosystem labelling SMART Board group activity

Instructional Methods
- "Web of life" hands-on game
- Ecosystem notes/lecture
- Ecoystem rap song (available on YouTube)
- Group discussion and activities

     What the mRLC has done is that they've taken various Manitoba curriculums and done the preliminary planning for us! They have looked at the learning outcomes in our curriculum, created enduring understanding statments (or "big ideas"), organized outcomes by concepts and even set a framework for assigning learning outcomes to the new Manitoba report card categories. Here is a screenshot showing a sample from their Grade 7 Science page:

manitoba rural learning consortium, mrlc, MRLC, planning by MRLC, backwards by design planning manitoba curriculum
Grade Seven Cluster 1: Interactions with Ecosystems. (2012). Uploaded by mRLC. Available online at:
      All of their planning can be found on the mRLC's Products page for free! So far they have this set-up available for:
- Early Years E.L.A
- Middle Years E.L.A
- Early Years Math
- Middle Years Math
- Senior Years Math
- Early Years Science
- Middle Years Science
- Senior Years Science (Grade 9-10)

     If you are new to backwards-by-design planning, planning for a new subject, using the new Manitoba report cards for the first time, or just needing to refresh your planning then this resource is definitely a go-to source! A BIG thank you to all the teachers who are involved with mRLC and have volunteered their time to putting these resources together for us :)

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