Unit 3: How to Develop and Implement a GRID Unit

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Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2020 (Zhang) | Course Overview | Unit 1 | Unit 2

Mastery Learning.png

Learning Objectives

Learners will:

  • examine current resources and instructional materials for use in the GRID.
  • evaluate instructional technology to use in a GRID unit.
  • construct a GRID based on new and existing instructional materials.
  • identify areas of strength and weaknesses in instructional materials to improve the GRID unit.

Picking Your Unit

YOU ARE FINALLY READY!!! By this point, hopefully your creative juices are flowing! You have a unit or two in mind that you are willing to rip apart, reconstruct, and transition into your classroom. As you are deciding if this unit is the one, remember how the GRID method transforms a unit.

As you look at a unit, pull out the activities that are included within it. If it is a unit that has previously been used by you, create a list of activities that need to be included, those that should be included, and the ones that you are thankful to get rid of! Add to the bottom of that list any other ideas that have not been implemented before.

If you are a color-coder like me, decide on colors for each level of Webb's DOK and color your t-chart of activities. While you are not going to necessarily use all of these activities, this chart will give you a baseline of where you can start placing the learning in the GRID.

After you have dissected your unit, give your essential question. Based on Webb's DOK and your essential question, identify targets that you want students to reach at each level of the GRID. After developing your targets, establish the guiding questions to get to those targets within each level. These targets and questions will be the framework for designating learning activities for your unit.

Any of the PBLs that you have decided to incorporate should be at the top levels of the GRID. These require more cognitive effort and the use of material from all across the unit. Keep in mind that in most cases, PBLs at the top-most levels (4 and 5) are for enrichment. Those students that master the content more quickly than their peers will have this additional piece to work on. If there is a PBL that you consider to be essential to the unit, utilize that either during your hook into the unit, as your culmination of the learning, or an ongoing project that pauses the work on the GRID (on Fridays for example).

Creating your GRID

Here's where the real fun starts! If you are a paper and pencil kind of person when planning, I would suggest grabbing a blank sheet of paper and starting in the bottom left corner. This will be your first activity in Level 1. Even if you aren't a paper and pencil person, figure out a planning strategy that allows you to have a general idea of how many activities will be included in each level. Remember to include activities that fit different styles of learners; some stages are videos, others require note-taking, some hands-on activities depending on the subject.

Open up a fresh Google Doc. Use the "Making a GRID in Google Docs" video under technology tips to help make your GRID template. As the video suggests at the end, it is beneficial to include an extra column on the left side of the GRID for the essential question on each level.

Since the unit is completed mostly independently by students, the more information that you can include on this document, the easier the students can work their way through the unit. In the boxes for your learning activities, there are three things that need to be included:

  1. Title - coded with level number and letter (1st level, 1st activity is 1A); set of condensed directions
  2. Needs - what will the students need in order to complete this activity? Examples: computer, notes sheet, any apps, etc.
  3. Assessment - each learning activity needs an assessment that measures mastery of content and growth

At the end of each level should be a more cumulative type of assessment that proves a student's mastery of the material thus far.

Here is an example of Level 1 of a Mastery GRID Science unit:

Level1 Exemplar.png


Just as with implementing new teaching strategies, it is important to outline routines and expectations with students. Since the GRID is based on mastery of the content, there are two important steps to utilize prior to implementation:

  1. Identify Mastery - determine your threshold for moving up in the GRID
  2. Pre-Test - give students a pre-test using questions from across the GRID to ensure that students have not already mastered parts or all of the unit

Once your GRID is complete and you are ready to introduce it to your students, here are some helpful strategies to consider:

  • Model your organization - be clear with students where materials are located, how to sign up for a conference with you to discuss learning/organization/technology, how progress is tracked (see note later on in this section)
  • Goal Setting - as previously mentioned, incorporate some system of accountability for students through goal setting; some students might need additional support with how to set attainable goals

Below is a list that the Teach Better team (the creators of The Grid Method) suggest in their Resource Workbook.

GRID considerations.png

Personal Suggestions

After utilizing the GRID method in two grades and content areas now, I have some personal experience and tips that have been successful for me! Personal Suggestions:

  • Question Center - share a Google Doc with students that they are able to edit; make a table that includes columns for student name, Learning Activity (ex. 1B), question, and answer. I leave that document projected on the board for the duration of the lesson time, so that everyone is able to see questions and help each other through the work, or I can if I am available
  • Google Sheets Work Progress - I have included a blank copy of my google sheets that I use with data validation. As students complete activities and I check them, I update my Google Sheet and my color-coded self can quickly skim to see who needs additional assistance, a check-in, to start moving, or some enrichment materials. I know another teacher that has students fill in their own row of the Google Sheet, and once it is checked by the teacher, they change the data validation to "teacher approved"
  • Limited Re-Takes - with the emphasis on mastery learning, there is also a push for re-takes. I typically allow students to take an assessment 2-3 times independently. If students have not achieved mastery after those attempts, I require a conference in order to take the assessment again. During these conferences we talk about the material as a whole, not just the assessment. I ask students to give me their understanding of the content to identify misconceptions.

Technology Tips

Technology allows students and teachers to gain more immediate answers to questions and feedback on work. Since technology will be used by the students, it is important that the teacher has an understanding of how to manipulate and troubleshoot as questions/issues arise in the classroom. Here are some helpful links to get you started.

How to Make a GRID on Google Docs

HyperLink on a Google Doc

Google Classroom Suggestions Slides (Same as shown in Unit 2)


As you think back on your development of the GRID and your understanding on this concept as a whole, I hope that even if this is not a resource you will bring into your classroom just yet, you can identify pieces that will be incorporated in the future! After working through the development and implementation of your GRID, I am sure you can identify aspects that will be adjusted moving forward for either ease of creation, implementation or clarification. Please share you GRIDs on this document for others to browse, modify, and/or utilize in their own classroom!

Be sure to also think about what was successful with your GRID and areas that need to be revisited for future uses to improve. Highlight the areas of success on your shared GRID for others to see, and be sure to circle back on your areas of improvement in the future!

Additional Resources

GRID Method Website

Progress Monitor - Google Sheets

Welcome to the GRID resources - Resource Workbook provided from the developers of the GRID Method