Putting KUDos into Practice
Putting KUDos into practice will help you differentiate your teaching. Before planning out an activity or unit of work, it is important to describe what it is that students should Know, Understand and be able to Do at the end. With that, it is also important that teachers then articulate this to students so they are aware of what they are going to learn, and its importance.
Differentiation is all about working within the framework of your educational authority’s goals or content descriptions. It is important for teachers to realise that not all students come into their classroom at the same readiness level. Teachers also need to recognise that students do not learn at the same pace, or in the same ways. This is why it is imperative that we differentiate so as to enable our students to achieve the identified learning goals.
KNOW YOUR KUDOs
When writing out the learning intention (or objective) for a lesson or series of lessons, you need to clearly describe what you want your students to Know, Understand and be able to Do as a result of the learning and teaching activities we create and implement.
It is important that students understand why they are participating in a particular learning activity. While it may be clear to the teacher, it is not always clear to the students. So when writing out lessons for a particular topic or unit of work, it is important that teacher’s focus on the GOAL, rather than the activity.
All academic goals can be sorted into either Know, Understand or Do goals. When writing the objective, consider the following:
- The facts, vocabulary, rules, dates, places, people etc. that your students need to know by the end of the lesson/topic.
- What concepts, principles and generalisations do your students need to understand by the end of the lesson/topic?
- The skills and processes your students will be able to do independently by the end of this lesson/topics?
KUDos IN PRACTICE
When planning a lesson or unit of work, it is important to have a start and endpoint in mind. This will ensure that your learning activities are always focused on the learning goal. The KUDos method will allow you to critically evaluate the learning activities you have planned for a unit and those that you need to consider to meet the needs of all the students in your class.
You will need to consider the following when writing your lesson or unit plans objectives:
- Knows are often written as a list of things we want our students to memorise.
- Understandings are usually sentences describing the ‘big ideas’ of the course i.e. “students will understand that…”
- Dos are usually written statements beginning with a verb, and encompass both critical and creative thinking.
If an activity or task does not work with your identified KUDo, then eliminate it. It will only lead lost instructional time and the use of activities and tasks that don’t contribute to students achieving the overall learning goal.
KUDos should be shared and posted in the classroom. This is often done by identifying the Learning Intention and Success Criteria for each lesson. This will ensure all your learning activities align with the unit’s overall KUDos.
PRACTICAL KUDos STRATEGIES
Displaying the Learning Intentions for each activity will make sure your students see the relevance in the learning activities and assessment tasks. It will also ensure that they are being challenged and their progress can be monitored. Learning Intentions provide the basis for feedback and reduce discrepancies between current student understanding and intended learning. Learning Intentions will also help teachers identify where they may need to differentiate to meet the needs of individual learners and adapt or change the activities to ensure the learning has impact and meaning.
For example, I had a permanent space on my whiteboard for the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria. I would write these up before the beginning of each lesson. I would then discuss these with students as part of our lesson introduction, before having them write it in their books.
You can also use the following acronyms:
- WALT – We Are Learning To
- WILF – What I’m Looking For
- TIB – This Is Because
- OLI – Our Learning Intention
- TILT – Today I Learnt That
- TILT – Today I Learnt To
- WINK – What I Now Know
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To differentiate effectively, you must always begin with your educational authorities goals or content descriptors. And while it is important to plan your unit of work and lessons, they should remain flexible. Ongoing formative assessment will indicate what concept, skill or process needs to change to either support or enrich your students. Differentiation is an ongoing, reflective process.
Heacox, D. (2018). Making Differentiation a Habit: How to ensure success in Academically Diverse Classrooms.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners.