What Task?

LDC "teaching tasks" are the meaningful reading and writing assignments that teachers “teach” and students “do” to demonstrate they have learned college and career skills. LDC teaching tasks define what students will be asked to do and know: the challenging content and CCSS-aligned literacy skills that become the heart of the LDC module.

Teaching tasks are constructed from LDC “template tasks," which provide teachers with partially built tasks that are aligned to the Common Core. The LDC template tasks offer teachers great flexibility in selecting the content, texts, and student products they want to teach. There are multiple collections of LDC template tasks—some designed for secondary grades, others for elementary grades, a science-specific collection—and more are coming soon.

The following is an example of how a blank template task is completed to become a teaching task:

Blank Template Task

 (#14: Informational/Explanatory: Description)

Completed Teaching Task

[Insert optional question] After reading (literature or informational texts), write (an essay, report, or substitute) in which you describe (content). Support your discussion with evidence from the text(s). 

How can one geographical location hold meaning for three different religions? After reading informational texts about Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, write an essay in which you describe the significance of this site to each of these religions. Support your discussion with evidence from the texts.


Teachers can effectively backward-plan from a teaching task because the task articulates the texts students are assigned, how the students will grapple with the texts (for example, the selected template’s cognitive demands), and what written product students will complete in response to the reading. Written products are organized around the main writing demands outlined in the CCSS: Argumentation, Informational/Explanatory, or Narrative.


Each teaching task template also includes the following components:

Standards.  The LDC template tasks “hardwire” the Common Core anchor standards that they embody (for example, an argumentation LDC template task will address different CCSS anchor standards than an informational template). As teachers use the template to complete their teaching task, they should also identify the specific grade-level Common Core and state content standards their teaching task and instructional plan will also address.  Learn More>>

Rubrics.  Designed by SCALE at Stanford University and Measured Progress and extensively field-tested with teachers, LDC provides rubrics for scoring student work products resulting from the teaching task. Rubrics provide feedback to both students and teachers about the areas on which future teaching and learning might focus to continue to improve students’ literacy skills.  Learn More>>

Texts.  Teachers select texts that students will closely read over the course of the module.  Learn More>>

Background & Extension.  LDC template tasks also require teachers to provide students with background information that situates the teaching task within the curriculum. Additionally, teachers have the option to include an extension activity that makes the student work product public (such as submitting their article to a local newspaper or doing a presentation) or connects their learning to a project.  Learn More>>


LDC and our professional development partners offer many resources to support teachers in designing a high-quality teaching task. This includes help in selecting texts with the appropriate complexity for a specific grade level and selecting a product that lends itself to a certain subject area. You can find many of these resources on the right-hand side of this page, by checking out packages of PD materials available to LDC Coaches, or by visiting our LDC Partners' page.

Go to the next step of the module process in Section 2: What Skills?.

An Emerging Practice from the Field

While the core of the LDC work focuses on modules and course development, LDC practitioners are finding power in using LDC strategies as “stand-alone” approaches at times. They are tapping into the power of LDC as a system that holds a common framework for design and sharing while promoting great flexibility in teacher choice. It is through the “wisdom of practice” that we are seeing new strategies emerge using the LDC tools—not in lieu of research-proven LDC modules and courses, but as supplementary ways to potentially improve student learning. 

Use LDC Template Tasks to Design Stand-Alone Assessments.  LDC template task collections are designed primarily to guide teachers in creating LDC teaching tasks for modules (as noted above) or meaningful assignments to be taught to students. LDC is an instructional approach that embeds an optional assessment within the LDC module design. At the same time, the LDC template task collections can serve as a way for teachers to design stand-alone pre- and post-assessments for a particular unit, a semester, or even an entire course.

Yes. There are a number of high-quality, discipline-specific written products you can teach students that will help to prepare them for college and career. For some ideas, check out Academic Writing Across the Disciplines for potential example products students will be asked to write in college courses.

LDC template tasks are “fill-in-the-blank” sentence shells built off of the CCSS. Using them, teachers can create high-quality student assignments that develop reading and writing skills in the context of learning science, history, literacy, or any other content area. While there are various collections of LDC template tasks and more still to be designed by teachers, most modules are currently constructed from LDC Template Task Collection 2.0.

Demands are additional writing and cognitive challenges that you can add to a template task. They are developed from language in the CCSS. In this way you can scaffold or differentiate your instruction.

You can view the list of optional demands in the LDC Template Task Collection 2.0 document.

The resources on the right-hand side of this page were designed to support teachers in creating a quality teaching task. Additional resources are available within the LDC CoreTools online planning environment.