In a recent article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog Atlanta Forward, the newspaper’s editorial editor Andre Jackson notes that the voices of Georgia students—“the real end-users of our education system”—have generally not been heard in discussions about the Common Core. To find out what secondary students are thinking, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked them to weigh in.
Chantel Simmons, a seventh-grader at King Middle School in Atlanta, is one of the students whose letters were published. In her piece, “Common Core Is a Life Changer,” she applauds the Common Core for defining the skills that prepare students not only for college and career, but also for life.
Describing the quality of her writing skills in the sixth grade, she recalled her difficulty in constructing a short paragraph. The problem wasn’t a lack of topics or ideas to write about. The problem was that she didn’t know how to express or convey her thoughts effectively. However, Chantel’s writing skills have improved drastically in the past year. She attributes her success to both the Standards and LDC.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center; Nashville, Tennessee; July 14–16, 2014
The College- and Career-Readiness Standards Networking Conference is for teachers, schools, districts, and state leaders who are engaged with or interested in adopting LDC and Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC) tools and strategies to advance students’ grade-level mastery of rigorous state literacy and math standards.
The perfect venue for networking with other leaders and practitioners, enhancing professional expertise, and sharing best practices on engaging students at a deeper level, the conference also provides a great opportunity to share your LDC experiences with the community.
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.