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UbD Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences through WHERETO (Series 4 of 4)

October 30, 2019

In their book Understanding By Design, Wiggins and Mc Tighe (2005) demonstrate the design of one single classroom lesson using the WHERETO mnemonic. As the term indicates, instructors are encouraged to think about the direction in which the students will head after completing the lesson. Again, the instructor is asked to begin with the end in mind.

Stage 3: The WHERETO Model to Develop Learning ExperiencesStage 3: The WHERETO Model to Develop Learning ExperiencesThe WHERETO Model, shown above, serves as a guide to build learning experiences and instructional activities, the Stage 3 of the Backward Planning Design. A single classroom lesson can be a lot of fun when designed based on the WHERETO statements. The questions asked ensure that the lesson is effective and well-received by the learner.

When administering lessons on Schoology, the WHERETO statements can prove to be a powerful guide. Think about the different features available on Schoology (hyperlink here) and how they can be utilized to implement each statement. Schoology is where the real magic begins! By incorporating the statements, you can be confident about student-student, student-content and student-instructor engagement.

Curious to find out how? Let me show you how I designed a lesson I recently taught to my Education major, graduate students:

And before I forget to mention, please recall the profile of the Carthage Learner before working on your lessons.

Applying WHERETO to a Lesson on Schoology

Lesson Topic: Classroom Motivation Strategies

W = How will you help your students to know where they are headed, why they are going there, and what ways they will be evaluated along the way?

Students will explore the various motivation incentives for learning. They need to understand why certain motivation strategies work and others don’t for different learners. Students will be given short descriptive case studies and will be asked to prescribe the best learning motivation strategies for the given scenario.

Align learning outcomes with the learning activities on Schoology to create student motivation. 

H = How will you hook and hold students’ interest and enthusiasm through thought provoking experiences at the beginning of each instructional episode?

I plan to hunt for some videos that demonstrate classroom behaviors in the presence and absence of different motivation factors. These videos will serve as a hook to grab learner attention. This vignette video will be embedded within the description on Schoology.

E = What experiences will you provide to help students make their understandings real and equip all learners for success throughout your course or unit?

A TedEx video that connects classroom teachings with best practices in the real-world environment. Also, a role play team project will help students practice the motivation strategies. Team projects can be created using Groups on Schoology. When students engage with each other through dialogue within groups, peer teaching and coaching takes place. 

R = How will you cause students to reflect, revisit, revise, and rethink?

A reflections blog can be maintained by each student in which they share their ideas and experiences. Peers can comment below each blog, further refining the individual learning experiences. This reflections blog will evolve throughout the semester to appreciate the unique learning journey of each student.

Click here to learn how to create a blog on Schoology. 

Alternatively, this assignment can also be accomplished using a Discussion Board on Schoology. 

E = How will students express their understandings and engage in meaningful self-evaluation?

A discussion board activity is a great way for students to “casually” share their perceptions and receive feedback from peers and the teacher.

T = How will you tailor (differentiate) your instruction to address the unique strengths and needs of every learner?

Personal learning experiences include creating a personalized feedback for each student. Another great way is to offer assignment submissions in the form of several drafts, towards a polished final copy.

Click here to learn how you can individually assign learning activities to groups and individuals on Schoology. 

O = How will you organize learning experiences so that students move from teacher-guided and concrete activities to independent applications that emphasize growing conceptual understandings as opposed to superficial coverage?

Students will be asked to create a lesson punctuated with motivation strategies and the rationale behind their selections. Each lesson will be posted as a blog for other students to read for a more richer learning experience. Alternatively, students can put together their lesson materials in an eportfolio format on Schoology for showcasing. 

The Stage 3 of Backward Planning encourages us to develop learning experiences and activities aligned with the learning outcomes and assessment items. Click here to learn how to add learning materials on Schoology. 

To learn more about the UbD stages, also visit the following blogs:

UbD Stage 1: Desired Results

UbD Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence


The idea behind the WHERETO philosophy is to ground the lesson with effective teaching and learning practices. In short, learning activities for each lesson! Creating a rough write-up for each lesson before developing it will serve as a great blueprint. And a guaranteed fun learning for your students!

Still not sure how to incorporate WHERETO in your lessons? Message me here to set up a one-on-one consultation time.


The Backward Design Model for Curriculum Planning


Zubia Mughal