In the 2010−2011 school year, 41 percent of sixth-graders at Honeysuckle Middle School (HMS) in Dothan, Alabama, achieved a Level IV score (the highest level possible) on the Alabama reading assessment. After two years of implementing LDC across all sixth-grade classes, 60 percent of sixth-graders achieved Level IV.
All sixth-grade teachers at HMS made the decision to use LDC throughout the 2012–2013 year. The results: a 19 percent increase in Level IV achievement! HMS teachers and leaders agree that this success is due to teachers collaborating to help all students read complex texts and produce quality writing. While the effort involved in such an accomplishment is never easy, teachers say LDC has provided key tools and processes to engage and support students through rigorous tasks, leading to higher levels of achievement.
In Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers (2014), Education First researchers Katie Cristol and Brinton S. Ramsey, in collaboration with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, profile four “early implementer” school districts to examine factors that are key to successful implementations of standards-based reform: communications, leadership, curricular materials, professional development, and assessment and accountability.
LDC lends itself to having students work across disciplines as they consider topics from various perspectives. Teachers who can collaborate across disciplines on a common project or who teach a group of students more than one subject can use LDC to develop modules that address important content standards for multiple subjects.
Listen as seventh-grade ELA teacher Jessica Cuthbertson from Vista PEAK Exploratory in Colorado (Aurora Public Schools) describes how LDC has enhanced her professional expertise, enabling her to collaborate and network with the national community of practice in "21st century ways."
Nicole Craig, a reading intervention teacher at Avalon Middle School (AMS) in Orlando, Florida, knows firsthand that LDC is a good fit in classes geared toward struggling readers and writers.
Last weekend, 25 reflective and insightful teachers descended on the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU 13) training site in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on a rainy Saturday to discuss the potential integration of writing software into the LDC Framework. The session commenced with software demos generously provided by representatives from Pearson (Write to Learn), ETS (Criterion), and Measurement Incorporated (NC Write).
An “Export to PDF” feature was recently added to LDC CoreTools that will allow you to generate a neatly formatted electronic copy of a module that can also be printed. This new feature is located in the “Module Settings” drop-down that is found in the upper-left corner of the LDC CoreTools module viewer/editor.
So you have downloaded the module, reviewed your teaching task, previewed the reading materials, and reviewed the rubric. Now it is time to take the module into the classroom and make it come to life for the benefit of your students. Similar to introducing any new curriculum model to students, there may be moments where you will become stuck and questions will develop in your mind. Below are some tips and strategies that I have found beneficial to my students and me as we work through modules.
Thirty enthusiastic educators participated in Integrating Reading Into the Content Areas, an LDC session presented at the Teaching & Learning Conference in Washington, DC, on March 15. Suzanne Simons, LDC Chief of Instruction & Design, provided an overview of the LDC Framework, setting the stage for a hands-on activity in which educators created teaching tasks based on LDC templates.
LDC CoreTools users in the Community of Practice have asked for improvements in CoreTools that would enable them to specify precise grade-level Common Core standards in their modules instead of the more general anchor standards that have been used in the past. This major improvement has been implemented and is now accessible in LDC CoreTools!