Broad Brush Unit Planning (BBUP) - Designing Challenging Units of Work


Small groups: 90 minutes (1 x Topic only)
Large: groups: Full day


Broad Brush Unit Planning (BBUP) is a Backward Mapping model for planning units of work, which begins with the summative and formative assessment tasks and works backwards to plan learning experiences for students to undertake that task.

This highly practical and hands-on workshop follows-on from the itc Critical & Creative Thinking workshop, as it emphasises the incorporation of the Thinking Skills Framework and the thinking tools into the unit plans.

BBUP has a 7 step process:

1.    Formulating a challenging title by employing a HOOK
2.    Fixing the length of the unit (weeks or lessons)
3.    Determining assessment items (Product)
4.    Listing all Skills and Learning Indicators desired for that unit
5.    Linking the Skills and Indicators to each of the products
6.    Deciding on the broad content focus for each week and linking cognitive and cooperative thinking skills to these content areas
7.    Linking the Skills and Indicators to the major content focus of each week.

Broad Brush Unit Planning (BBUP) and the itc Thinking Skills Framework

•    Revision of the itc Thinking Skills Framework and Bloom’s taxonomy (cognitive domain)
•    Classroom observation – observing a lesson (vodcast) and critically analysing the lesson. 
•    Formulating challenging titles
•    Demonstration of the building a BBUP – facilitator working with a teacher to build a unit of work using the 7-step process with contributions from all participants.  

Creating Broad Brush Unit Plans (BBUP)

•    Teachers, individually or in small groups, complete Steps 1-6 of the BBUP process. They must concentrate of establishing the ‘Hook’ to engage their students as the ‘Hook’ gives purpose to the unit. The facilitator is available to assist where necessary. 

Critical, Creative and Cooperative Thinking Tools

•    The facilitator will remind teachers of certain cognitive and co-operative thinking tools which could be used near the beginning, the middle and the end of the unit. After presenting each thinking tool, teachers are offered 3-5 minutes to decide where they could insert that strategy within their BBU plan and also complete Step 7 which is to determine which of the Skills and Indicators of Learning are present in that strategy. All tools strategies/tools will be clearly referenced within the Bloom's Cognitive framework. By the end of the session, the BBU Plan should be complete.

•    Participants share and review their BBUPs. Thereafter, teachers could develop similar units within a 45-90 minute framework.