Last session of the day! Our presenter was Suzanne Simons from LDC National. She’s a former Head Start teacher and high school English teacher before switching to literacy coaching and consulting. She sees LDC as a way to make teaching more intentional.
She explained how the original 29 templates came to be when LDC first began. There was a lot of money focused on a small number of places, with the idea being to see what, if anything, works. Apparently it, and now the push is to bring LDC to scale, which is where the National organization fits in as a clearinghouse. They’re also functioning in the role of quality controllers, since they want to see LDC grow in a standardized, controlled way.
One of the first things the National Office did since they started up a year ago was release a set of elementary templates; the original materials were primarily designed for secondary. All of these materials are available in different forms at LDC.org
We had a discussion about the most pressing issues faced by elementary teachers trying to get started with LDCs. Two important questions:
-Where are the resources? Suzanne showed us how to navigate the website; the site is fairly dense and not particularly user-friendly. The resources are there, but finding them can be an adventure.
-Why aren’t the very many samples or complete modules? She explained that in the past, only exemplars were available. Now, however, LDC has included “Good To Go” modules, so the base is growing, particularly when you include the mini-task library. Long story short: there aren’t too many modules available at this point, but there will (or at least should) be.
Someone from Colorado spoke up about their literacy schedule which includes a 60 minute balanced lit block and another 90 minutes for content-based literacy. This makes a lot of sense, although personally, as a fourth grade teacher, I would swap those two timeframes.
Some of the major questions Suzanne is still grappling with in regards to LDC at the elementary levels are:
1. How to balance writing in response to reading with other types of writing
2. How to integrate foundational skills into module design
3. How to structure balanced literacy into module design
4. What exactly is a module in the lower grades?
5. How to consider the number of texts per module
6. How to consider types of products in an elementary module
I got the sense that she (LDC National) doesn’t have the answers to these questions, particular sense she assigned one question to each table and told us she would bring our answers back to the office.
I enjoyed this session. There was a lot of interaction and appreciate the fact that LDC National doesn’t have all the answers in regards to LDC in the elementary grades, but are asking the right people: teachers.