Module 3: Organize and Prioritize Standards: When to Utilize the Know, Do, Be Framework

2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.

2.2 Engaging Students in Learning
Most activities and assignments are appropriate to students, and almost all students are cognitively engaged in exploring content.

When planning instruction, it is important that lessons are designed so that they encompass a learning goal. Teachers are presented with an overwhelming amount of learning standards that need to be digested to students over the course of a single school year. While it is exciting to plan out lessons that are deemed fun and interesting, it is first essential that potential activities and assignments are set on the side burner; lesson planning should first be addressed based on the common learning goals that need to be addressed throughout the year. When integrating various subjects into a curriculum, this can be even more challenging. Therefore, in order to plan effectively, the teacher should first address what students need to learn and then design activities around that information.

Drake and Burns (2004) present a model they call the Know, Do, Be Framework and describe this model as essential when lesson planning for interdisciplinary curriculum. Figure 1 presents this model, representing that what we teach students to know and do will be interconnected by who students become.

Module 3_1

Figure 1: The Know, Do, Be Framework (Drake & Burns, 2004, p. 36).

This framework is important to recognize when approaching any lesson planning exercise but it is also highly essential to utilize a backwards approach to lesson design, further recognizing what is desired for students to know, do, and how we want students to be prior to outlining lesson tasks (Drake & Burns, 2004). Therefore, when beginning to format a unit of lesson plans, it is first important to determine the larger topics we want students to learn about and then break them down further into the subject matter we want to present to students. From there, students can be more accurately assessed utilizing curriculum that is aligned to scaffold student learning.

For example, when designing an integrated curriculum, it is wise that the learning standards for each of the integrated subject areas be organized prior to approaching lesson planning. Beginning with the standard/s and central focus of the unit, curriculum can be prioritized and outlined by unit, lesson sequences, and individual lessons/learning targets. In other words, rather than planning integrated lessons around fun activities or even our preliminary interpretation of the Know, Do, Be Framework, it is first important that learning goals be addressed. Once units are prioritized and outlined by learning standards, it is easier to distinguish what students should know, do, and be in order to receive this information. The last important item that is often overlooked is that students should be pre-assessed to facilitate that learning activities are meeting them at an appropriate zone of proximal development (ZPD).


Figure 2: Simplified diagram of lesson planning process based on backward design strategy (Kurtz, 2015).

In summary, the Know, Do, BE Framework is a useful method to utilize when beginning planning for an integrated approach to curriculum design. It is first essential to recognize what the big picture learning goals are for students by organizing and prioritizing core learning standards, student background knowledge, and lesson learning goals. Then it is important to determine what students need to know, do, and be. Once this is all decided, teachers can pull from a variety of activities that meet these learning goals.


Drake, S. M. & Burns, R. C. (2004). Meeting standards through integrated curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.




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