This week was an introduction to Understanding by Design or Backwards Design. This is a model that I was exposed to the summer before I began teaching. My initial thoughts then was that it seemed to make sense, but I didn't know how it would look in application. My thoughts this week are a bit more nuanced. Education is both a science and an art. The science is expressed in understanding the learners, what is to be taught, and designing a model that will enhance their learning. The art is expressed in choosing the manner in which the plan will be executed. I do think Understanding by Design allows for both the science and art of education that attracted me to become a teacher in the first place. I like that there are aspects that are fairly rigid and uniform, such as the 3 general categories. I also like that it is focused on the student, but that the teacher still has room for his or her own creativity and personality. Where I still struggle is with defining the learning objectives. It seems like these have already been defined by the state Core, yet it seems that some fellow teachers want to reinvent the wheel by creating new objectives. I can't understand the disconnect. I also struggle with the battle of covering a topic versus truly understanding the topic. I have yet to see how teaching US History which is so linear in any other manner. All of the other US History teachers that I have worked with teach in a similar manner of lectures and reading that are chronological in order, a DBQ at some point, and then tests. It would be great to see something else that can work, because this is the only format that I have been exposed to.