The Literacy Design Collaborative seeks to ensure that every student graduates from high school with the Idaho Core literacy skills necessary for success in college and career. LDC supports educators in providing rigorous instruction; continuous, reflective professional improvement; and the integration of literacy and content in instruction. With this year’s Late Start Monday, middle school and high school teachers are using the time to work together to help students develop those literacy skills. All teachers are working to ensure students gain those critical literacy skills. While they teach different subjects, teachers share the same goal: making sure all students graduate with the literacy skills they will need to succeed in college or careers.
The Literacy Design Collaborative organization will equip teachers with the tools and training needed to implement the college- and/or career-ready expectations embodied in the Idaho Core Standards so that all students experience effective teaching and learning in all subject areas throughout their schooling and emerge with the core skills necessary to meet the demands of citizenry in the 21st century.
Teachers Agree: It Works!
Based on a national survey conducted by Research For Action, more than 90% of teachers reported that LDC tools are effective in encouraging literacy skills in secondary classrooms.
Teachers’ Use of LDC Tools: Survey Results
· 93% of teachers agreed that LDC tools promote literacy instruction in secondary classrooms
· 87% of teachers reported use of tools supported college readiness
· 79% of teachers reported use of tools resulted in higher quality writing
· 78% of teachers reported tools were effective in making instruction more engaging to students
· 75% of teachers reported use of tools helped prepare students for current assessments
· 82% of teachers believe LDC is effective in encouraging use of formative assessments to identify strengths/weaknesses
“Engineering and Technology Education is more than learning about and applying new technologies. It is also about the impacts of those technologies on society,” opens Dave Heath’s first LDC module on The Pros and Cons of Wind Power. The Engineering and Technology Education Instructor at both Skyline High School and Idaho Falls High School has a full plate this year. Not only is he driving between two schools, but most of his classes are two or more concurrent mixed-level courses. With his many years of experience, Dave sought a locally relevant topic that all of his students could appreciate and use to develop an informed argument.
Dave implemented his module in a mixed manufacturing and principles of technology class. He said that creating the module itself was not as hard as he anticipated and the LDC software helped. He deliberately provided students with appropriate reading material to avoid spending additional time on research and put his assignment into an attractive package using a desktop publishing program.
He felt the students responded well to the topic and assignment once they recovered from their shock over receiving a writing assignment in this type of class. Dave says that one positive aspect of the LDC process has been including more writing in his class, something he had done more often in the past. Dave has not scored his student work at this time, but he has made arrangements with a fellow teacher for some scoring feedback after reviewing a small sample.
Dave has already planned his second module. His students will be using the same format to examine issues in nuclear power. Dave says, “These are two controversial topics in this town and I want students to be able to tackle them and come away with informed decisions.”
Middle School Spotlight:
Connie McClellan and Connie Cox
The results may vary, but the purpose is the same: D91 teachers have made literacy a priority. In an effort to boost students’ reading and writingteachers have met throughout the year in PLC’s. Their purpose? To create LDC modules. These units of study allow teachers to teach literacy in any content area, from science to P.E.
For some teachers, the transition to the LDC module program was simple. Connie McClellan, a 7th grade reading teacher, said it was no problem turning her lesson plans into modules.
“I haven’t changed anything that I do,” said McClellan. “I did a unit on the Great Depression last year, and I really liked how it went, so I used that for my module. McClellan had her students combine literary analysis and research into a unit that studied everything from Franklin Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl.
"When my students compared their [previous writing project] to this one, they were really surprised at how far they’d come,” she said. Reading and writing classes are a natural fit for LDC modules, but teachers of other disciplines are starting to see the benefits as well.
Connie Cox, an 8th grade science teacher, had assigned plenty of writing assignments previously, but she decided to do something more interesting with her module.
“Science can be dry sometimes,” Cox said. “I decided to do something creative for this assignment.” Instead of having her students write an essay about changes that occur in rocks, she had them write a narrative about observing the inside of a volcano.
“One girl decided to continue The Lord of the Rings series. She told the story of the ring after it was thrown into Mount Doom. So it was the ring that explained what happened inside the volcano.” The creative nature of her project made it more appealing to her students, and she learned a great deal as well. While she hasn’t graded the stories yet, she’s looking forward to reading them. “I’m really interested to see what they came up with,” she said. “And next year I’ll have student samples to work with. That’ll make things even better.”
Taylorview English Teacher and LDC Coach