Thursday, 09 June 2016 06:34

Designing an Understanding-Based Curriculum – Vienna, 2016


Advanced Curriculum Institute at American International School – Vienna; October 7-8, 2016 by Jay McTighe and Elizabeth Imende-Cooney.


In the ASCD book, Schooling by Design, Wiggins and McTighe propose that a robust, understanding-based curriculum includes 10 key components. The following questions will be used as provocations to “uncover” the workshop’s content.  To what extent do we have a coherent curriculum from the learners’ perspective?  How does “backward design” apply to macro curriculum development? 

Why should content standards and accountability test scores be considered a means to an end (not the end in themselves)? How might we support responsive teaching through our curriculum?  How can we promote greater consistency in assessment and grading?  How might we maintain high standards without standardization?  What should anchor the curriculum?  Why we need “trouble shooting” guides as part of our curriculum?

Participants will learn practical strategies for:

  • “unpacking” standards into understandings, essential questions, and authentic tasks;
  • mapping a coherent curriculum across the grades;
  • creating and using overarching essential questions for a “spiral curriculum” to engage meaningful learning;
  • creating/selecting authentic “cornerstone” tasks to anchor the curriculum;
  • teaching for understanding using the AMT construct;
  • reviewing and refining curriculum units and maps; and
  • using “backward design” for planning school/district initiatives.

This Institute is designed for curriculum leaders, including Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, department & grade level chairpersons, staff developers, and school-based administrators and lead teachers serving on curriculum committees. It is recommended that participants attend in school and district teams. Resources will include the latest books in the Understanding by Design® series and a large collection of excellent, supportive websites.

Registration limited to 50 participants:

  • CEESA Member Schools - Early Bird (till June 15) - 400€ per person
  • Non-CEESA Member Schools - Early Bird (till June 15) - 500€ per person
  • CEESA Member Schools - after June 15 - 450€ per person
  • Non-CEESA Member Schools - after June 15 - 550€ per person

That cost includes:

  • Two-day institute
  • Coffee breaks and lunches
  • Transportation to and from the designated hotel
  • Two resource books ($60 value)

Here is a link to the Registration Form.

Registration deadline is September 8, 2016.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation to Vienna, their hotel and other meals.

Single rooms (€80,75 per night with breakfast) have been reserved at the hotel below. Please reserve your room as soon as possible and mention the booking code “AIS Vienna” when making a reservation.

Derag Livinghotel Kaiser Franz Joseph****
Sieveringerstraße 4, 1190 Wien
Phone:  +43 (0) 1 – 3 29 00-911 / -910
Fax:      +43 (0) 1 – 3 29 00-965
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
If you have any questions, please contact Debra Lechner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more in the attachment.