image credit: authenticeducation.org
“BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.”
I heard these six life-changing words over ten years ago from a former supervisor when we were looking at my lesson plans together. I was confused. He asked me if I ever read books by Grant Wiggins. Who? Obviously not then – but he got me hooked… VERY quickly.
Such a simple concept. When looking at a lesson, what do you want the learner to know? From there, create your plans backwards. So simple, yet I couldn’t grasp my head around it. I dug deeper and deeper, and before you knew it, I felt Iike I knew Grant.
I then delved into his other concept – TRANSFER. Having learners, IN THEIR OWN WAY, demonstrate the transfer of knowledge. Prove to me, the educator, that you, the student, learned. This was my new mantra as an educator and an assistant principal.
I then went to the Hopewell Valley Regional School District as the new K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies and learned something super cool – Grant lived in Hopewell. I ended up meeting him at the “PQM” – the local supermarket in town where everyone eats lunch. He was a riot.
I then got to see the other side of Grant: his band (he acknowledged that they were awful), his passion for soccer, and Grants telling what UbD and transfer really are to him. He was the first to say that the books and videos were dry and laced with jargon; but if you hear him talk about it, it brings you an entirely new perspective on UbD & transfer. For six months to pick his brain on everything from the disaffected student to his salad choice.
Thank you Grant, for being you. I can’t begin to ever tell you how much you’ve changed me as an educator and how I have improved since.