Creating big Ideas


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In this discussion forum, you will begin by deciding on the instructional setting for the instructional plan you will be drafting and revising throughout the six weeks of this course. Next, you will draft the big idea for that instructional plan. Then, you will also create your first draft of an authentic assessment for that instructional plan.

Having the opportunity to create a draft of your big idea and your authentic assessment in this discussion forum before you must submit revised versions of them as part of this week’s Revising the Authentic Assessment (Application Phase)assignment on Day 7 provides you with an opportunity to gather and implement valuable feedback from your peers. Throughout this course, you must be open to repeatedly receiving constructive feedback from your peers and instructor, and willing to use this feedback to make continual improvements to your instructional plan.


  • Read Chapter 4: Classroom Assessment and Differentiation.
  • Watch the video Authentic Assessment.
  • Download the required Instructional Plan Template Download Instructional Plan Template.
    • Note: Once you have downloaded this template, you should save it somewhere that you can access it and revise it regularly throughout the course. Since you will have multiple revisions of the template throughout the course, consider saving each version of the template with a unique file name that will help you identify which course activity it was revised for. There may be times when you want to refer back to an older version of your draft.


According to Sousa and Tomlinson (2018), “Attaching important content to student interests builds bridges between the student and essential knowledge, understanding, and skills—and the student’s present and future” (p. 123). A big idea refers to core concepts, principles, theories, and processes that should serve as the focal point of curricula, instruction, and assessment. More specifically, a big idea helps learners see the purpose and relevance of content.

Authentic assessment is the idea of using creative learning experiences to test learners’ skills and knowledge in realistic situations. Authentic assessment measures learners’ success in a way that’s relevant to the skills required of them once they’ve finished the lesson. For this reason, authentic assessment should not be biased by how well or how poorly learners are able to perform in traditional tests and quizzes.


There are four parts to this discussion. Using the required Instructional Plan Template, you will

  • Decide on the instructional setting for your instructional plan.
  • Create the first draft of the big idea for your instructional plan.
  • Create the first draft of the authentic assessment for your instructional plan.
  • Part 1The Instructional Setting
    To begin, you will decide on the basic instructional setting for your lesson or instruction. State the following in the required Instructional Plan Template:
    • Your name
    • The grade level, population, or professional environment
      • You can create your instructional plan for any instructional setting of your choice, such as corporate, military, higher education, or public and private schools. The choice is yours and ideally should reflect your current or future professional goals.
    • The number of learners
    • The theme of the lesson
    • The subject area for the lesson

    • Part 2The Big Idea
      Using the same Instructional Plan Template you started in Part 1, create three big ideas for your instructional plan. State your three big ideas in “The Big Idea” section of the template, ensuring the following:
      • Each idea must be a complete statement. It could start with the words, “I learned that” and could be followed by “for example.” (Note: It should not be about one animal, one historical topic, one story, etc.)
      • Each big idea must be a broad, generalizing statement that would be interesting for learners, would expand their learning, and would evoke thought and discussion.
      • Each big idea must be age-appropriate for the learners.

      • Part 3The Authentic Assessment
        Using the same Instructional Plan Template you used in Parts 1 and 2, skip ahead to the “Authentic Assessment (The Application Phase)” section to create your first draft of the authentic assessment. Complete the following:
        • Describe, briefly, the project for your authentic assessment. Think about what learners can do in a meaningful, authentic project to reflect what they have learned.
        • Describe the materials needed. What will you need to ensure learners’ success on the authentic assessment? Paper, pencils, crayons, technology, and so forth? Be explicit on the material needs.
        • List the content objective(s) (i.e., the learning goals) for your authentic assessment. Note: Typically, these would be the same as the general content objectives for the lesson, which you will be creating next week. For this activity, simply consider what you want the end result to be. What do you want learners to learn? Look at your big ideas and decide.
        • Describe the procedure for the authentic assessment. Explain what the concluding project, activity, or assessment involves. Include any information needed about what the instructor will do. How will learners discuss the big idea studied in the entire lesson? As needed, explain individual accountability as well as any additional modeling and support needed.
        • Describe the grouping configuration for your authentic assessment. Will the instructor group the class by individuals, partners, groups, or as a whole class? If the concluding project is done in groups, specify whether they are heterogeneous or homogenous. Include any cooperative structure to be used.
        • Part 4Describe Instructional Plan Challenges
          Once you have completed Parts 1 to 3 of the instructions for this discussion forum, save your updated Instructional Plan Template draft somewhere safe and then attach it to your initial discussion post. In your post,
          • Describe any challenges you experienced while drafting the instructional setting, big idea, and authentic assessment for your instructional plan.
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