“My NGID colleagues have opened up many collaborative opportunities for me outside of NGID that help me be a better teacher and teacher leader.” NGID teacher

“Collaboration with very talented, passionate, and committed teachers in the state. I’ve learned so much about how to carefully and methodically match standards to activities. ” NGID teacher

The Next Generation Instructional Design (NGID) project is uniquely positioned to help break down the silos of teachers working in isolation, by facilitating the collaboration among teachers to design and implement more academically rigorous, inquiry based instructional tasks, lessons, and assessments aligned to the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. By collaborating across school and district lines, teachers can create and implement common units of study that will allow them to meet students’ needs toward college and career readiness in a global world.

NGID is the expansion of the Common Assignment Study, a three-year research study led by Transform Education Kentucky in partnership with the Colorado Education Initiative with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Participating Common Assignment teachers collaborated in content area teams consisting of both Colorado and Kentucky teachers to create, develop, and implement units of study.

NGID units include performance-based assessments for students to demonstrate learning in more authentic ways while utilizing an Understanding by Design (UbD) unit with Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) modules or Mathematics Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs) embedded. This project focuses on the needs of individual learners and considers interdisciplinary approaches. When teachers are creating units using NGID standards, they must embed technology to enhance learning experiences, aim for inquiry and hands-on opportunities for students and emphasize the importance of literacy and numeracy within all subject areas. And finally, when teachers are reviewing units created through NGID, they must show evidence of critical thinking from students.

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The following units have been developed, tested, and are ready for use by other teachers. We invite you to review the Original Common Assignment units available here and encourage you to adopt them for use in your own classroom or school.

To find out more about this initiative, contact Kate Mayfield.


Character and Setting in Kindergarten Literacy

How do kindergartners learn short story elements using their favorite stories? In this unit, students explore the elements of story including character and setting. The first part of the unit involves using a student interest inventory for each student. Collecting data on students interests via inventories and relationship building one-on-one conversations helps with authentic engagement and story selection.

Kindergarten – Literacy: Character and Setting (Editable Document)

Kindergarten – Literacy: Characters and Setting (PDF)

Character and Setting in 1st Grade Literacy

In this unit, students explore literary texts and study characters and setting. They write a letter to an authentic audience, a friend.

First Grade – Literacy: Characters and Setting (Editable Document)

First Grade – Literacy: Character and Setting (PDF)

Science and Literacy in 1st Grade

This unit combines literacy and science by exploring and researching various animals.

First Grade – Science and Literacy (Editable Document)

First Grade – Science and Literacy (PDF)

Coal Mining and Feature Articles – 4th Grade Social Studies

In this unit, students will be able to use their learning to write a feature article in which they describe a specific aspect of what life is like for a child in a coal-mining town during the 1900s. Students will provide examples from multiple texts including photographs and illustrations to support their discussion. They will also connect this learning to coal mining in Kentucky to keep learning relevant to where they live.

Fourth Grade – Social Studies and Literacy (Editable Document)

Fourth Grade – Social Studies and Literacy (PDF)

Multicultural Folktales for Analyzing Theme – 7th Grade ELA

Using folktales from around the world, students will analyze theme and the use of story elements to write a literary analysis.

Seventh Grade – ELA: Analyzing Theme (Editable Document)

Seventh Grade – ELA: Analyzing Theme (PDF)

Argumentative Writing – 7th Grade ELA

Students will take their argumentative skills to the next level in this unit with engaging research and articles to read, discuss, analyze, and they will create a Public Service Announcement about an issue of importance to them.

Seventh Grade – ELA: Argumentative Writing (Editable Document)

Seventh Grade – ELA: Argumentative Writing (PDF)

Sparta – 7th Grade Social Studies

The Golden Age of Greece has contributed significantly to modern civilization in the areas of art, music, science, math, architecture, theatre, dance, literature, and military science. In this unit, students will consider primary and secondary sources from Ancient Greece and they will think about connections to modern day life.

Seventh Grade – Social Studies: Sparta (Editable Document)

Seventh Grade – Social Studies: Sparta (PDF)

The Constitution: A More Perfect Union? – 8th/9th History

Students explore constitutional principles in the USA and in their lives.

Eighth & Ninth Grades – Social Studies: The Constitution (Editable Document)

Eighth & Ninth Grades – Social Studies: The Constitution (PDF)

Tales by Firelight: Digital Storytelling –  9th/10th ELA

The common performance assessment task in this unit asks students to create a narrative podcast. The unit considers the following questions:  Why are we using this as our common performance task? What makes it a task worthy of a student’s time? How does it prepare them for the real world? Technology used in this unit fostered critical thinking, increased communication, and created platforms for collaboration to come to the forefront of their learning experience (Framework for 21st Century Learning).  The use of Google Docs, Vocaroo, Audacity and Google Classroom created conditions for students to develop 21st century skills.

Ninth & Tenth Grades – ELA: Digital Storytelling (Editable Document)

Ninth & Tenth Grades – ELA: Digital Storytelling (PDF)