I love a good Top 10 List. David Letterman’s Top 10 Lists. Top 10 Ways to Potty Train Your Toddler. Top 10 Reasons to Try Kale. Top 10 Food Trucks in Portland. Top 10 Shade Loving Plants. Top 10 Brass Hardware Options to Spruce Up Your Kitchen.
Here’s the Top 10 Things I Learned after Writing My 1st Literacy Design Collaborative Module.
- Start collaboratively, and take time alone. Although it’s supposed to be collaborative (hence the name, Literacy Design COLLABORATIVE), it is a solitary time of deep thinking. I thought alone, I wrote alone, I found resources on my own. It helps to have long stretches of time for the ‘little grey cells’ to work. One afternoon last month, my reading group was canceled because the students were participating in Junior Achievement. The 90 minutes I would normally use to teach them could be dedicated to LDC.
- Don’t do it all in one sitting. Although I needed extended periods of time thinking (see #1), I needed breaks of hours or even days to get the thoughtful juices flowing. There’s no way I could have written this module in one sitting, or even in one week. I needed to work a bit, think, consider, write, find resources, and repeat.
- It helps to consult with someone who has done it before. At one point, between outlining all the standards and writing the scope of the unit, I got completely stuck. It wasn’t until my fellow blogger Brooke helped me out. Thanks, Brooke!
- LDC requires planning in a whole new way. I usually plan my reading lessons 1 week at a time. With this 10+-day unit (which turned into 23), I thought with a broader picture in mind.
- LDC highlights obscure standards. It’s easy to teach standard 1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. I can plan lessons, write targets, and create activities in my sleep. These templates require me to consider the standards that aren’t as easy to meet or necessarily my favorite.
- LDC units consider student’s skills. When I usually plan a unit, I look at the materials and what they tell me to teach. With LDC, I truly have to consider my student’s skills. For example, one of my LDC activities required paraphrasing. My students don’t know how to paraphrase, but I’d never considered teaching this skill, until now. I dedicated an entire LDC session to explicitly teaching paraphrasing.
- Know the short keystrokes for copy, paste, and split screen. This saves lots of time rather than scrolling up and down through the template.
- Try it out on students before actually sharing. I created a super-ambitious 23-day unit for my first LDC. What was I thinking? After working on it with the students, I realized this was too ambitious for all of us. It took me too long to write and was exhausting (though thought-provoking!) for them. I needed to start with smaller steps.
- Use the online template. After completing my 1st LDC unit, I learned there is a much easier version. Thanks to my trainer and fellow blogger, Lindsey for sharing this resource. For my 2nd unit, that is where I will be going to do the majority of my work.
- When scoring, trust the evidence, not intuition. This is another gem from Lindsey. As educators, we are compassionate to a fault. We want to give that struggling student the benefit of the doubt. But if we score without evidence, the students won’t learn.