Significant Learning Environments

Just like my previous post, this week I was looking at creating my learning environment using Understanding By Design (UBD). Using both the Understanding by Design template and Fink’s template have allowed me to focus in on what do I want my students to be able to do before constructing the activities that I will use to teach the concepts. It has made me think long and hard about what activities will support my goals for the students, not just finding activities that relate to the topic.

At first I thought that the Fink template was not going to be useful for a Kindergarten classroom, but after figuring out the “logistics”, I really like the short but concise way it makes me focus my attention on my goal for the students throughout the planning process. I like the way that you choose your assessment piece first, and then plan backwards from that. The UBD template really helped me focus on the essential questions that I want my students to focus on, even if they do not come up with every answer. I also like the way that when listing the activities, you look at exactly what how you will achieve the results (WHERETO).

I have not been in college for 20 years, so much of this information is not something that I have heard before. It is a very uncomfortable process to go through but I feel like the lessons and units that come out of the moment of “discomfort” are well worth it.

Understanding by Design Template


Stage 1 – Desired Results

Established Goals – (5) Digital citizenship. The student practices safe, responsible, legal, and ethical behavior while using digital tools and resources. The student is expected to:

(A)  adhere to acceptable use policies reflecting appropriate behavior in a digital environment;

(B)  comply with acceptable digital safety rules, fair use guidelines, and copyright laws; and

(C)  practice the responsible use of digital information regarding intellectual property, including software, text, images, audio, and video.

Understandings – Students will understand that….

  1. Being a good digital citizen is a life skill for their futures.
  2. There are laws and rules that govern how we use the internet.
  3. Cyberbullying is using the internet to bully someone.
  4. There are ways to deal with being cyberbullied.


Essential Questions –

  1. What is being a digital citizen?
  2. What is an acceptable use policy and how is it used in the classroom?
  3. What are rules and why must we have them?
  4. What is fair use and what is it used for?
  5. What are copyright laws and how do we know what is copyrighted?
  6. What is intellectual property and how do we give credit for it?
  7. What is cyberbullying and how can you get help if you are being cyberbullied


Students will know…

  • What a good digital citizen looks like at their age.
  • The following vocabulary terms: digital citizenship, safety, cyberbullying, acceptable use, digital safety rules, fair use, copyright laws, intellectual property, and responsible use.
  • The current copyright laws.
  • Students will be able to…
  • Identify and explain what it means to be a good digital citizen.
  • Recognize key vocabulary involved in being a good citizen.
  • Describe acceptable use and define what it means.
  • Help construct and sign a classroom acceptable use policy.
  • Identify digital use rules in the classroom.
  • Identify and illustrate fair use guidelines in the classroom.
  • Explain what copyright laws are on the internet.
  • Create their own work for the internet and give themselves credit.
  • Identify what cyberbullying is and how to deal with it if it happens.


Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks

  • Create a page for a digital citizenship book.
  • Construct and sign an acceptable use policy created by the class.
  • Create a digital rules storybook.
  • Create a fair use poster.
  • Create an original piece of artwork and put it on the internet giving themselves proper credit.
  • Create an anti-cyberbullying poster for display in the school.

Other evidence

  • Classroom discussions
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Self-assess understanding of key concepts by sharing them with the class.


Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Learning activities

  • View Introduction to Digital Citizenship video (H,W). Teacher created PowerPoint with key terms for the unit such as digital citizenship, safety, cyberbullying, acceptable use, digital safety rules, fair use, copyright laws, intellectual property, and responsible use (E). Brainstorm ways to be a good citizen (E).
  • View Acceptable Use video (H, E). Teacher will go over the dos and don’ts with technology in the classroom (E) and then ask students to add any they can think of (E, R). Students will brainstorm why each is necessary for technology use (E, R).
  • Teacher will go over a PowToon created with the rules for digital use in our classroom (W,H). Students will propose any rules they think need to be added and the class will discuss if it should be (E, R). The students will brainstorm why the rules are important and situations they might need them in (T, E, R). Students will then define the final rules in the classroom (E).
  • Go to Copyright kid’s website and click on useful information to explain what fair use is and what copyrights are (W, E). Students will brainstorm things that we could copyright in the classroom (E).
  • (My Creative Work Lesson by Common Sense Media)Time capsule activity, defining word credit and original (H, W, E). Time capsule self-portrait and publishing work (E, E). Share class norm for crediting creative work (E). Wrap up questions to assess understanding (E, R).
  • (Screen out the Mean lesson by Common Sense Media) Discussion about what they know about bullying (W, H). Discussion about vocabulary online and cyberbullying (E). Go through what to do about cyberbullying handout and share scenarios with class. Brainstorm ways to deal with these scenarios (W, E, R, E). Assessment questions for understanding (R, E).


Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding By Design (Expanded Second Edition ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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Posted in ELDL 5313 - Creating Significant Learning Environments

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