Systematically Designed Instruction
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Microcredential ID : 2745
Utah's High Leverage Practices for Classroom Instruction
0.5 USBE Credit


This microcredential represents an educator's ability to systematically design instruction towards a specific learning goal, including the use of explicit instruction and scaffolded supports.

No standards provided.
How To Earn This Microcredential

To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two types of evidence from the list below to demonstrate your effective use of instructional design. You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis. Click Earn This Microcredential to learn more!

A fee of $20.00 will be assessed once the microcredential is submitted for review.

Teachers help students to learn important concepts and skills that provide the foundation for more complex learning. Teachers sequence lessons that build on each other and make connections explicit, in both planning and delivery. They activate students’ prior knowledge and show how each lesson “fits” with previous ones.

Planning involves careful consideration of learning goals, what is involved in reaching the goals, and allocating time accordingly.

Scaffolded supports (e.g., visual, verbal and written supports) are provided as temporary assistance to students so they can successfully complete tasks that they cannot yet do independently and with a high rate of success. Teachers model and scaffold steps or processes needed to understand content and concepts, apply skills, and complete tasks successfully and independently. Ongoing changes (e.g., pacing, examples) occur throughout the sequence based on student performance.

Important Terms
Systematically Designed Instruction:

Instruction that is systematically designed is carefully thought out, builds upon prior knowledge and learning, and includes scaffolded supports to help students reach the learning goal.

High Leverage Practices:

High leverage practices are frequently occurring, educational practices that all educators should know how to do. These practices are evidence based, meaning that they reflect effective methods that when successfully implemented can improve results for each learner.

Background Scenario / How This Will Help You

Elementary Scenario Maggie Mitchell is teaching her 3rd grade class about multiplication and division. She plans the unit with her team by examining the progressions of the lessons in the adopted curriculum as well as core standards support documents such as the mathematics core guides and major works of the grade. She knows that multiplication and division concepts are essential to mathematics in grade 3 as students develop a foundation of the operations. She knows that students worked with skip counting and repeated addition to find the total number of objects in arrays with up to five rows and five columns in 2nd grade. She knows that students will work with multi-digit multiplication and division in 4th grade and that her focus in 3rd grade includes multiplication and division within 100 with an emphasis on conceptual understanding of multiplication and division concepts while also building fluency of single-digit facts.

During the first few lessons in the unit, students engage in problem solving with equal groups. They are provided problems with equal groups contexts such as bagging equal groups of candy or sharing equal amounts of cards with a given number of friends. Students are provided manipulatives such as counters, paper/pencils, and whiteboards/markers to solve the problems in a variety of ways. Throughout each lesson Ms. Mitchell intentionally chooses a sequence in which to have students share strategies and representations. She asks guiding questions in order for students to make explicit connections between equal groups with objects, equal groups drawings, repeated addition, skip counting, and multiplication strategies.

As the lessons in the unit progress contexts relate to rows and columns such as arranging cookies on a sheet or planting flowers in a garden. Students are still provided manipulatives such as counters, paper/pencils, and whiteboards/markers to solve the problems in a variety of ways. Ms. Mitchell continues to intentionally choose a sequence in which to have students share strategies and representations. She asks guiding questions in order for students to make explicit connections between the arrays they create as well as to the equal groups strategies from previous lessons. She guides students in explicitly articulating connections between multiplication strategies as well as the relationship between multiplication and division. Over time students become fluent with the operations and facts. In each lesson throughout the unit Ms. Mitchell has clear goals that systematically build on concepts within and across lessons.

Secondary Scenario Andre Franklin starts his 8th grade social studies class asking, "What happens when rumors start to spread on social media, for example, that there is going to be a shortage of something. Let’s use toilet paper as an example." With students having abundant prior knowledge about this example, the cause and effect relationships and other larger economics concepts will start to emerge, including scarcity, supply and demand, insider information, supply chains, etc. Now Mr. Franklin says, "Let’s say a friend messages you to tell you he has a whole truckload of toilet paper. Do you want to buy some of it and resell it? You might make some money you could use for that thing you have been wanting. This would require you to speculate, (which is a cool word, based on "inspect" or putting on your 'spectacles')."

Once students have decided whether to buy or not, Mr. Franklin breaks the news: A whole trainload of toilet paper has arrived and is being distributed free of charge as part of a state program. Toilet paper for all! Mr. Franklin asks, “Oh, and what now for those of you stuck with the truck of toilet paper?” Mr. Franklin then explains, "All of these changes in supply and demand, prices, and speculation can have big changes, even nationally or internationally. Let's see if you can notice any of these economics principles as we learn more about…The Panic of 1837!"

Evidence Options
Be sure to submit the type and number of pieces of evidence specified below.
Category: Preparation and Planning

Submit the evidence described below to demonstrate how you systematically design student instruction.

Lesson Plan:

Submit a lesson plan that contains the following: 1.) A description of least one type of student data artifact that you used (e.g., video, observation notes, student work, surveys, etc.). 2.) An analysis and interpretation of what you discovered from the student data artifact(s). 3.) An instructional plan for your students based on the findings of the artifacts, including necessary instructional adjustments to improve student outcomes generated through collaboration with others (e.g., colleagues, PLC team, related services providers, etc.). In a separate section of the lesson plan, include citations for research supporting your instructional approach. (See the resources section for examples to cite.)

Category: Implementation

Submit the evidence described below to demonstrate how you use systematically designed instruction for your students.

Observation Results:

Have a peer, instructional coach, or administrator observe your lesson and complete the observation checklist (see the link in the resources below).  A post observation discussion may be helpful so that the observer may ask for more information or seek clarity based on observation.

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: The lesson plan includes at least one learning goal and one success criterion.

Criterion 2: The lesson plan shows how the planned lesson sequences with the previous lesson.

Criterion3: There is reference to at least one artifact to justify the proposed learning sequence.

Criterion 4: The lesson plan incorporates modeling and scaffolded steps/processes to support student learning.

Criterion 5: The lesson plan describes the scaffolded supports that the teacher may use to support students as they acquire the knowledge/skills of the lesson.

Criterion 6: The observation checklist is included and shows that the educator met all criteria.

EXAMPLE: In an 8th grade history lesson plan about the Great Depression, the plan includes background building about important key vocabulary terms - depressed and depression. The emotional definition for these brings out the connection of this word from the self to the economic definition of depression. The plan includes explicit connection to prior knowledge about the term “depression” to introduce this historical event and its relevance to today. Students are able to use their understanding of the economy they engage in (corporations, brands, etc.) to connect how the economy impacts lives both historically and in our time. Students are engaging in individual think time, sharing ideas with other students, and in whole class discussion to explore the ideas in this lesson.

NON-EXAMPLE: The lesson plan includes objectives for learning but lacks connection to previous learning as well as a way to clearly introduce new concepts and vocabulary.

Reflection Prompts

Identify at least one Utah Effective Teaching Standard (see link to standards in the resources below) and discuss how using systematically designed instruction helps you meet this standard.

Describe how you incorporate modeling and scaffolded steps/processes to support student learning.

Reflect on the feedback from your observation. How will this inform your instruction in the future?

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Response demonstrates a level of professionalism and personal reflection that demonstrates the teacher’s learning experience.

Criterion 2: Response includes reference to at least one Utah Effective Teaching Standard.

Criterion 3: Response describes how the use of systematically designed instruction helped improve student outcomes.

Utah High Leverage Practices Course

This is a 2 USBE credit course that builds knowledge about each of the 5 Utah High Leverage Practices

High Leverage Practices: An Introduction

This document was created by the Utah State Board of Education, Teaching & Learning Section to support the implementation of the 5 Utah High Leverage Practices.

High Leverage Practices

This site explores the research-based high leverage practice that include the 5 HLPs for this stack as well as others that have been shown to be effective. It is published by the CEEDAR Center.

Utah Effective Teaching Standards

The Utah effective Teaching Standards articulate what effective teaching and learning look like in the Utah public education system.

Utah High Leverage Practices: Systematically Designed Instruction Checklist

Have a peer, instructional coach, or administrator observe your lesson and complete the observation checklist. Upload a completed copy of the checklist as your evidence of implementation.

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Joshua Aulava
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Randee Zeeman
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