Curriculum 2.0-Final Project and Reflection

As I reflect back on this course I can honestly say that it has been the most challenging, but most rewarding course I have taken thus far at Post.  I appreciated how each unit built upon the other so that we were able to create a complete unit by week 8.   Universal design for learning is based on the premise that all learners are unique and so are their learning styles, needs and challenges.  I strongly believe that my unit reflects this, and it also gives students a very active role in their own learning.  I have also learned so much from my instructor and peers in this course.  It was truly a team effort with everyone cheering each other on, and giving very valuable and constructive feedback throughout.  I have absolutely learned a great deal in this course. I feel fully prepared to provide my students with the best experiences possible to keep them engaged, motivated, and to ensure they build the skills, knowledge, and understanding that will help them in the real world.

My final project is below:


Curriculum 2.0-Blog Post # 4

Part 1:  WHERETO

Stage 3:  The Learning Plan

W: WHERE is the unit headed and WHAT is expected of your learners? By the end of the unit students will be able to construct a load bearing bridge out of popsicle sticks, duct tape and newspaper.  They will be able to effectively work in small groups to set goals, plan, implement and evaluate their project.  They will also improve their problem solving skills, communication and critical thinking skills.
H: How you will HOOK each of your students and HOLD their interest throughout the learning plan? The students have a high level of interest in project based learning.  The construction aspect of the unit will hook their interest.  Also, I will incorporate technology throughout the unit to further engage and motivate students.  They will have options of how they will ultimately present their project to their classmates.  Students will be presented with open ended questions to encourage deeper thinking and hold their interest, which will be documented in either digital or written journals, digital posters, or video blogs.
E: How will you EQUIP your students to help them EXPERIENCE and EXPLORE the ideas being studied in your class? Students will have access to resources on the types of bridges, design process, effective teamwork strategies, and bridge designs through the use of the internet and books.  Students will also participate in a number of team building activities throughout the lessons to work in social-emotional and 21C skills.  Students will have group support from one of three staff members assigned to monitor their progress and answer questions.
R: How will students be able to RETHINK, REVISIT or REVISE their work in order to grow and improve? The students will have adequate time to plan, experiment with, and revise their construction of the bridge.  Students will use a Wikispace to communicate with team members to rethink plans, and revise them in real time.  Students will also be keeping journals to reflect on the group process and goals.  Teams will also have daily “debriefs” with their assigned staff member to discuss highlights and lowlights of the project and how improvements can be made  (either with group dynamics or construction).
E (2): How will you provide students with ways to EVALUATE or self-assess their own work? Students will self-assess through their journals throughout the unit, and by completing a short self-assessment at the end of the unit.  They will be encouraged to share this self-assessment after their final presentation.  The students will also participate in a group self-assessment that will focus on the 4C skills, and indicate if they believe they have improved in those areas.
T: How will you TAILOR the learning plan to meet the variability of learners and incorporate multiple modalities and use of technology? Children will have choices in their individual roles within the group (i.e. sketching out plans, builder, note taker, time keeper) based on their interests and strengths.  They will also have flexible opportunities to demonstrate their skills.  This could be through the use of technology (creating a PowerPoint/Powtoon presentation or digital poster, or through hands on construction of the bridge, or even leading the actual presentation).  Each learner will be given ongoing and relevant feedback throughout the unit to help each grow in their understanding.
O: What tools will you offer to the students to help them to stay ORGANIZED so they can be effective learners? Students will receive the rubric to assess the project outcomes prior to starting the unit.  Students will then have a clear understanding of what is expected.  This can be used as a checklist to help them stay focused and on task.  Students will also be encouraged to use digital notebook (or a section of their journal) to complete a team time line, roles for the participants, and list out specific tasks for all so they can effectively master the knowledge, skills and understanding from the unit.

Part 2:  Self-Assessment Rubric

Unsatisfactory (0) Development needed (1) Proficient (2)

Stage 1: Identifying Desired Results:

The understandings are essential to the discipline being studied.
The understandings enable transfer of knowledge to other disciplines.
The understandings are aligned with the essential questions.
The essential questions align with the standards for the lesson.

Stage 2: Determining Acceptable Evidence:

Students are offered multiple means to demonstrate their understanding.
Variability among learners is clearly considered in the development of the unit.
There is at least one authentic performance task (APT) created using the GRASPS tool.
The APT ensures learners are demonstrating a high level of understanding of the “big ideas” in the unit.

Stage 3: Planning Learning Experiences and Instruction:

The learners are aware of the goals of the unit, and why those goals were created.
Students are engaged in APT and learning real world skills.
Students have opportunities to revise their work and receive relevant and regular feedback.
Students are given effective tools to self-assess and reflect on their work.



I found that creating this learning plan was a perfect exercise to bring all of the work done to date together.  I truly feel that this learning plan supports all of the essential questions, big ideas, understandings, and performance tasks outlined in stages 1 and 2.  I found myself referring back to the earlier stages to be sure I was aligning my unit in a meaningful way to ensure the greatest success at understanding for all of my students.   I am attempting to connect all of the activities to the real-world to keep it meaningful, and engaging, optimizing the achievement of all students.  Incorporating a variety of instructional strategies and tasks, will enable all my students to achieve the projected unit knowledge, skills and understandings.  My unit offers opportunities for all learners at all stages of learning to engage in an exciting project based environment and, not only learn about bridges, but critical real-world skills.


Do you think the process of creating the WHERETO should be one that teachers include children in?  Do you think they can offer valuable input into the choices/decisions that are made?

Curriculum 2.0-Blog Post #3

Part 1: GRASPS

When developing authentic performance task assessments, using the GRASP format enables educators to keep the critical components of meaningful and effective assessment design in the forefront.  The acronym GRASPS stands for: Goal, Role, Audience, Situation, Product, and Specific Standards for Success (Post, n.d.).

GRASPS Elements for Performance Task:

Goal:  The goal is to work as a team to create a  load bearing bridge.bridge-pic

Role:  You are engineers bidding on a contract to build a bridge to N.Y.

Audience:  The target audience will be other builders (who are also competing for the bid) and the hiring firm (who will make the hiring decision).

Situation:  You need to demonstrate to the hiring firm that you can work successfully as a team to construct a bridge and win the bid for the job.

Product/performance/purpose:  You need to build a load bearing bridge using only popsicle sticks, newspaper and duct tape.  Your team needs create a power point presentation outlining the planning process, how your arrived at decisions, and shows highlights of construction of the bridge.

Standards for criteria and success:  Your bridge should… span at least 3 feet in length and support at least 10 pounds.  Your power point presentation should…include each member of team’s role, images of the bridge’s draft plans and revisions, and a clear and organized presentation of the challenges and successes the team faced.

Part 2:  Rubric for authentic assessment

Standards and Criteria for Success Rubric

Criteria Beginning (0) Developing (1) Accomplished (2) Points earned
Requirements of bridge Bridge did not span 3 feet/not all available materials were used in construction Bridge did not span 3 feet or not all available materials were used in construction Bridge spanned 3 feet/All available materials (popsicle sticks, newspaper, and duct tape) were used in the construction             /2
Weight/Load Bridge was weak and could not withstand a weight of over 5 pounds before collapsing Bridge held maximum amount of weight, but collapsed within one minute Bridge sustained the maximum amount of weight without collapsing             /2
Role within group No effort made to assign roles to group members Each student assigned a role but roles not clearly defined or consistently adhered to Each student assigned a clearly defined role; group members perform roles effectively             /2
Team decision making Individuals make decisions, and they do not reflect the thinking or the desires of the team Decision-making procedures were established informally, some inconsistency in implementation and in involving all members in decision-making Clear procedures for making decisions are established and clearly articulated. Decisions, the process by which they were made, and the involvement of members are also clearly articulated             /2
Planning No evidence of planning prior to building bridge Some evidence of prior planning Clear evidence of prior planning-explanation of planning tools and process             /2
Organization of power point presentation Presentation was not organized and was missing several key elements Presentation was missing at least one key element Presentation was clear and contained all of the required elements             /2


This authentic performance task will be extremely meaningful for my learners in my environment.  They will be able to build knowledge and skills, and also be able to show understanding by demonstrating the skills of not only building a load bearing bridge, but decision making, leadership, compromise, and cooperation.  These are critical thinking skills that will transfer to the real world in a variety of situations they will encounter in their school and work lives.  Students will also collaboratively problem solve and become active participants in the process of building the bridge, and creating the power point presentation.  Students will understand that bridge building takes teamwork, planning, and problem solving which can be applied in the classroom and in the real world.

questionWhat is the prevailing thought of educators around using a balance of traditional and authentic assessments throughout a unit?  Can traditional assessments get at the student’s true understanding?


Post University. (n.d.). Using GRASPS tool for authentic assessment. Retrieved from

Curriculum 2.0-Blog Post #2

Part 1:

Grades 3-5: Engineering Adventures

Building 21C learning skills is vital to the success of students in real world situations.  This unit will focus on building the 4C’s-critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration through engaging children in engineering adventures.  Students will explain the basic designs of bridges and create, and demonstrate structures that are the most stable. Children not only learn about bridge building, but sharpening these 21C learning skills.


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 3-5. Engineering Design

School-Age Program Quality Assessment (SAPYA) for afterschool programs

Content Standard(s):

Content Standards Primary Expected Performances
3-5ETS1.1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specific criteria for success and constraints on time, materials or cost.

SAPQA IV: Planning 1.There are opportunities for children to make plans.

-Students will construct a load bearing bridge that spans at least 3 feet that is made out of newspaper, popsicle sticks and duct tape.  Students will problem solve how to create a structure that holds the most weight.

-Students will have an opportunity to make a plan regarding selecting a team, picking their role in the project, and how to construct their design.

 3-5 ESTS1.2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria or constraints of the problem.

SAPQA IV: Planning 2. Children use multiples strategies to support their planning.

 -Students will use multiple means to support the planning of the bridge, including drawn designs and 3D computer designs.  Students will also use journals to compare and contrast problem solutions.
 3-5 ESTS1.3 Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

SAPQA IV: Planning 3. Children share their plans and represents their plans in a tangible way.

 -Students will work in groups to build bridges that hold the most weight.  They will have 3 days to design, modify and improve their designs.

-Children will present their bridge to classmates through demonstration, a power point presentation, and then test its stability.

Enduring Understandings

Essential Questions

Overarching Enduring Understandings:

-Students will understand that goals can be accomplished with teamwork, planning, problems solving and critical thinking skills.

-Students will understand planning can be a useful tool in problem solving.

-Students will understand there are multiple ways to solve the same problem.

Unit Specific Enduring Understanding

-Students will understand that bridges and people need support to remain stable.

-Students will understand that bridge building takes teamwork, planning and problem solving, which can be applied in the classroom and in the real world.

-What does teamwork look like to you?

-Why do bridges succeed?

-Why do they fail?

-How are relationships like bridges?

-What role do individuals play in group problem solving?

-Do you think that engineers have to adapt their original plans during the construction of systems or products?

Knowledge and Skills


The students will know…

1. There are 4 main types of bridges; beam, arch, suspension and cantilever.

2. The supports on the sides of bridges are called abutments.

3. A bridge span is the length of the bridge from the abutments.

4. The bridge building design process is Ask, Plan, Design and Evaluate.

5. Teamwork is essential to building a bridge, and to other large undertakings in life.


The students will be able to…

1. Identify (either orally or in written form) the 4 main types of bridges.

2. Identify and label various parts of their constructed bridge.

3. Construct a bridge that can hold the most weight.

4. Write a hypothesis of how much weight the bridge can hold and state a rationale for that hypothesis.

5. Explain how working in team helped them accomplish their goal.

Part 2: Planning Pyramid


Some students will know…

  1. How to negotiate on a team when there is a disagreement.
  2. How to come up with multiple solutions to a single problem.

Most Students will know…

  1. How to modify a plan to make improvements.
  2. How bridges can be built between people as well as land or structures.
  3.  Students will develop an understanding of the role of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving.

All students will know…

  1.  That the 4 main types of bridges are beam, arch, suspension and cantilever.
  2.  Students will develop an understanding of the attributes of design.
  3.  That bridges need supports in place to be able to hold weight.
  4.  How to create a plan on paper before constructing the idea.
  5.  How to share ideas with members of a team.

Educators working with the Universal Design for Learning Framework (UDL) need to be able to plan their units with consideration of their student’s individual needs, skills and interests in mind. Research shows that the way people learn is as unique as their fingerprints (CAST, n.d.).  With each student being such a diverse learner, educators need to create flexible paths to learning to accomplish goals (CAST, n.d.).  Therefore diversify their lessons to meet the needs of each individual student.

Since I am planning  this unit for an after school program, I used both the Next Generation Science Standards, and the standards that after school programs in Vermont for assessment.  I found that finding a balance between the educational standards and those that focused on strong planning skills from the SAPQA were the most relevant for the unit, and most applicable to my setting.

Wiggins and McTighe (2005), say “to understand a topic or subject is to be able to use or “apply” knowledge and skill wisely” (p. 43).  Also, in order for students to be able to transfer knowledge we want to teach them key strategies and ideas so they can use it in different settings and be able to creatively solve problems on their own (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005).   My goal in this unit is not only to teach students about bridges, but 21st century skills they can take with them and apply throughout their lifetime.

With my pyramid planning  my hope is that all students will get the baseline knowledge and skills as their foundation.  I also want children to ask more questions to invite inquiry and further learning.  The deeper the engagement of the student, the more they will be motivated to reach higher level thinking levels on the pyramid.

question How can educators advocate for the teaching of units built around essential questions, and interests of students, rather than a prescribed curriculum?  


Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). (n.d.) UDL at a glance.  Retrieved October 26, 2016 from

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding understanding. In Understanding by design, expanded 2nd edition.  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Curriculum 2.0-Blog Post #1

Part One: Student Learning Profile


Part Two: Universal Design Learning Profiles


“The Universal Design is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals an equal opportunity to learn” (CAST, 2012).

As teachers design lessons they need to be aware that all students come to the table with a variety of different learning abilities and learning preferences.  When teaching such a diverse group of learners, teachers must know what motivates and challenges each of their individual students.  A way to achieve this goal is to collaboratively create learner profiles for each student.   These learning profiles should be created to help “inform educators design instructional activities and materials to provide the necessary options their students need in order to effectively access the classroom curriculum” (UDL resource, n.d.).  When teachers put consideration into the individual needs and preferences of their students, they are able to differentiate their instruction so that all students have the maximum opportunity to learn and understand.

Creating a learning profile also helps the educator understand learning from the perspective of the learner (Post University, n.d.).  Once we understand the learning profile of the student then we can reflectively think about the “what”, the “how” and the “why” of learning for each student.  Meaning educators can effectively differentiate instruction for their students.  Differentiating the needs of the students is critical. Here are some ways to support recognition, strategic, and affective networks to increase student achievement outcomes:

-Recognition:  Present meaning and content in different ways for each student (provide multiple examples, support background context)

-Strategic:  Identify how each learner can best express the learning (offer flexible opportunities to demonstrate a skill, give ongoing/relevant feedback)

-Affective:  Stimulate interest and engagement by knowing more about student interests, frustrations, and challenges (adjust levels of challenge, offer choices of content, tools and rewards)

(Rose, 2012)

Strengths of UDL Learner Profiles

  • Allows teachers to understand from the learner’s perspective
  • Strengthens relationships between teachers and students
  • Emphasizes the strengths, challenges and interests of each student
  • Empowers students to engage in their own learning

Challenges of UDL Learner Profiles

  • Creating a learner profile for each student can be very time consuming
  • Lack of support from administration to be flexible with teacher instruction strategies
  • Inability to accommodate every student’s needs


I’ll end with a question for fellow educators to ponder and discuss…How can we create a culture change and encourage all teachers to see the value of learner profiles despite the energy and time it takes to create them?


CAST. (2012). What is Universal by Design? Retrieved from

Post University. Unit 2 Presentation. (n.d.). Learning Profiles and Planning Pyramids

Rose, D., Meyer, A., Strangman, N., & Rappolt, G.  (2008). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age – ASCD. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from

UDL Resource. (n.d.). Student Profiles. Retrieved from