“Mrs.Papcun! We just figured out our book club book is written in…chrono…what’s that called when the events are in order?” This is a statement I heard last week from a student during their group discussions of books they are reading. What was reassuring to me is that deep learning is happening, Student learning of the skills required by the Common Core is happening independently after a Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) unit from two months ago.
The LDC module (or unit) was about animal adaptations but also about reading non fiction text. Students were reading and discovering non fiction text had patterns that help to understand the text better. This was ingrained in the students enough to where they could take this learning and use it on their own, even after a period of time that intentional teaching was done.
During my LDC training this winter, trainer, Cathy Feldman introduced me “virtually” to an LDC coach, Jody Pittock. Jody juried my module, helping me to a deeper understanding of how to write the unit, which in turn helped me to have a clearer understanding of Common Core that I could then provide to my students. Being virtually coached, I felt I had many advantages to try and make this unit understandable, reasonable, and meaningful.
I would send Jody a portion of my work and she would, very kindly give compliments and then give feedback that was always helpful. For instance, to understand the rubric better, she suggested the children create icons for each of the areas that were scored. This was a huge success and really helped students. While looking at the rubric, the icons helped the students remember what each piece of the rubric meant. They understood the rubric so well, that they were then able to very specifically score two presentations each. LDC has a website, that is filled with tools and sample curricula. There were times when she thought the unit needed clarity, but would never come out and tell me what to change. Jody would say, “You might want to look in this module on the website… and see how this lesson was done”. Each time, her suggestions were helpful and made the module more effective for student learning.
I believe another aspect of being coached in this however, is that she helped me to a deeper awareness of how to simply write an LDC module. While the 5 days of face-to-face learning were wonderful, and I was able, through sharing ideas with other teachers, get even more instructional strategies in my tool box, LDC modules are not easy to write! There were areas where a few simple tips from my coach helped clear up pieces I was struggling with. For instance, there are many reading, writing, language, and speaking/listening CCSS standards in an LDC module that students are practicing. However, an area Jody really helped me was to decipher what areas students practice CCSS standards and what parts of the unit students are actually learning new skills. While jurying the module, she was able to help me decipher and categorize the standards to make it clear for myself and others which lessons teach new learning of standards.
The students I spoke of earlier, that were working on a book, coming up with the pattern of the writing, eventually came up with the word “chronological” on their own. This then caused the other book clubs to take a look at their books’ patterns and wonderful discussions about the vocabulary and the author’s writing style. Being virtually coached was one of the best professional development experiences I have had. I feel much stronger not just in my knowledge of LDC and but also the Common Core. Virtual coaching is something I would recommend to any teacher looking to elevate their practice.
Watch this video of Shannon talking about LDC and virtual coaching.