~ Understanding by Design Reflection, ISTE 2: Digital Citizen, Six Facets of Understanding ~


Creating an experience for students that gives student agency, addresses standards and has a creative approach  was my main goal in creating this Making Inferences Unit for my 2nd and 3rd grade students. This is not a unit that I have implemented in my classroom yet but through creating it, I have been reminded of the importance of the Understanding by Design (UbD) framework to ensure that the end result for my students is at the forefront of my planning. The UbD design is a strong framework that provides many opportunities for differentiation, digital education and flexibility in what a teacher incorporates.  In addition, there is the ability to have student influence on process while still maintaining the goals and standards desired which is important for the realities of what educators are expected to cover within any grade level or academic level.

I believe that a next step for this unit would be to provide a pre-unit using UbD to enable teachers to prepare their students for being successful in this Making Inferences Unit.  In addition, the pre-unit could be a beginning of the year unit so that the skills being introduced are applicable all year long. Skills would evolve from basic to deeper understanding and with increased use of digital experiences that support student learning around Common Core Standards as well as the ISTE student standards.

The day-to-day lessons within these units will be my final step to bring the unit to life in my classroom.  A resource I can use is Common Sense Media as a guide for resources to support the digital citizenship piece as well as the Flipgrid and/or Seesaw implementation.  

Digital Citizenship

Using digital tools and platforms requires a substantial amount of gradual release learning opportunities for this age in order to best implement long term and with less frustration for students and teachers. Taking the time to do this gives students the opportunity to experience 21st Century skills they will need throughout their education by teaching how to create digital portfolios and maintain them. Engaging in monitored and safe spaces for practicing digital citizenship at this age will prepare them for the daily interaction of digital experiences they will encounter as they are growing up – inside and outside of school.

“Digital citizens are PK-12 learners who proactively approach their digital access, participation, and associated rights, accountability and opportunities with empathy, ethics, and a sense of individual, social and civic responsibility.” “This level of engagement looks different in different classrooms and with children of different ages. Consider how an elementary teacher might empower his students to establish “Friend Tips” for using classroom online collaboration tools.” ~ Carolyn Sykora (2018)

ISTE Standard 2, Digital Citizenship, is a crucial part of having success with digital education and experiences like feedback for others and self-reflection are a starting point for connecting digital and real life citizenship into one idea, not two separate realities when they go hand in hand in today’s world.

Six Facets of Understanding

Using the Six Facets of Understanding as a pre and post checklist of sorts to evaluate my Making Inferences Unit, I have noticed that if I can start with a strong Explain portion – not rushing through this part – and students can deeply explain to others what it means to infer. If students can explain, then there is potential to have a domino effect for all the other facets because of the interconnected nature of each one. Having said that, this also means if each ‘domino’ is not considered when designing the unit, there is the great potential for the learning to falter or become more shallow with only single context understanding.  “…the word ‘understanding’ has various meanings, and our usage suggests that understanding is not one achievement but several and it is revealed through different kinds of evidence.” (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).


To better set my dominos up, I would like to use a Six Facets of Understanding Rubric to self-evaluate how I am doing guiding my students through each facet of understanding to ensure their understanding continues past this unit.

UbD Unit

Please click on the unit title to see the unit in full~ Making Inferences Unit


“ISTE Standards for Students” Retrieved from www.iste.org/

Six Facets of Understanding – infographic. (2018). Retreived from http://professorvlad-ortiz.org/lessons-from-the-six-facets-of-understanding-and-backward-design-process/

Sykora, Caroline (2018). A New Lens on Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/Empowered-Learner/A-new-lens-on-digital-citizenshipWiggins, G., & McTighe, Jay. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., Gale virtual reference library). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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