Planning Backward


When teachers have come together in a team, where do they start? We ask teachers to start the conversation about arts integration with a few important questions: What will your students learn? And how will they show they’ve learned it? These are the key questions to answer as a team through thoughtful discussion and careful planning. Planning backward helps teacher teams be clear about student learning, and construct learning experiences that lead to a rich experience of integrated learning for their learners.

Unit Planning

The highest quality plans for collaborative arts integration result when teachers combine:

  • meaningful connections across content areas
  • authentic and engaging curriculum design
  • aligned assessments which show what is being learned and how to improve instruction

Teachers use this Planning Guide to capture and revise their collaborative arts integration planning, answering the questions, “What will students learn?” and “How will we know they learned it?” Try to think of it not as a list of boxes to fill out and check off, but rather a guide to clarify the planning conversation.

What are all the moving parts of planning backward?  The questions below link to our steps to help teachers walk through this process.

Digging Deeper

The Alignment of Key Teaching and Learning Components provides an overview of our approach to aligning the following elements of arts integrated curriculum plans:

  • Benchmarks
  • Learning goals
  • Instructional strategies
  • Assessment activities
  • Evaluative criteria