Scaffold for Success

scaffoldStudents need an environment rich in content, skill, and resource supports to help ensure that they meet the established learning goals. These supports, along with the prior experiences of students, are designed to enable learning. In her book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, author Suzie Boss shares a number of examples of scaffolds that help all students (pp. 139-143:

  1. Model learning strategies: Let students see learning in action by using activities such as fishbowls, think-alouds, and gallery walks.
  2. Apply prior knowledge: Have students generate hypotheses, share their guesses, write questions, and make KWL (know-wonder-learn) charts.
  3. Structure discussions: Generate norms for classroom discussion, use Socratic seminars, and provide discussion starters to open dialogue.
  4. Create teams: Carefully create student teams that create opportunities for peer-to-peer tutoring and growth.
  5. Pre-teach key vocabulary: Use pictures, drawings, metaphors, analogies, and drawings to reinforce vocabulary before it is fully needed.
  6. Apply visuals: Graphic organizers, word walls, and other non-linguistic representations of knowledge are powerful tools for the learning process.
  7. Use technology: Presentation tools, spreadsheets, group-generated documents, and screencast can be used to further strengthen student learning.
  8. Present workshops and mini-lessons: Create opportunities for students to select workshops or mini-lessons on the content they need to be successful.

As you prepare for next week, think of ways you can employ these techniques to help students learn. Your students will benefit greatly!

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