The Construction Zone

Clarifying Our Role in the Scaffolding Process

NEISD IGNITE Institute 2017

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Reflective Questions

  1. Do you often find the momentum of your lessons lagging without a good reason?
  2. Do you find yourself physically holding the text, turning the pages, and pointing to difficult parts as your learner(s) sit back physically uninvolved?
  3. Do you often find yourself exhausted after a lesson?
  4. Are you doing most of the talking in your lessons?
  5. Do you avoid challenging students for fear of where that challenge might take you?
  6. Is it difficult for you to allow students to work through difficulties on their own? Could your wait time be extended?
  7. Do you struggle to take notes on student reading and writing behaviors?
  8. Do you generally asked closed questions?
  9. Do you dodge ball students with follow up questions - not allowing them time to share their thinking?
  10. Do you struggle to find the focal point of your lesson, teach many of your lessons on the fly, or have difficulty keeping the lesson focused?
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When We Harm Rather Than Help - Interesting Post

The Gradual Release of Responsibility

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Student-Teacher Shared Responsibilities

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Scaffolding vs. Rescuing

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Counteracting Rescuing Behaviors

•Cultivate an environment where uncertainty is ok.

•Encourage more than one correct answer.

•Ask learners to justify their thinking.

•Be mindful of the message your feedback sends.

•Teach and expect active listening and participation.

•Reexamine your assumptions about your teaching.

•Reexamine your assumptions about your students.

Reexamining Your Assumptions About Your Teaching

1. Does all I say or do foster independence?


2. Am I making evidence based decisions?


3. Is it time to consult with a trusted peer?


4. Am I teaching with intentionality?


5. Am I teaching with reflection?

Reexamining Your Assumptions About Your Students

1. What story am I telling about this student?


2. How long have I been telling it?


3. Is it helping or hurting?


4. Am I willing to see this student in a new way?


5. How will I rewrite this story?

Placing the Responsibility on You:


  • How could you help yourself?
  • What could you try?
  • How do you know?
  • What else could you check?
  • Where could you look for help?
  • Think about what you already know that could help you.
  • Show yourself the hard part.
  • Do you see a part you already know?
  • Do you notice anything that can help you?
  • You figured it out all by yourself!
  • You tried to do it on your own before asking for help!
  • What are you working on as a reader?
  • What were you thinking when you worked through that?
  • What makes you say that?
  • Here’s something you could try…
  • You’re ready for a writer’s secret…
  • Were you right?
  • You must be proud of yourself!
  • How did you use the text to help yourself?
  • What could you check?
  • You said…does that make sense/sound right/look right?
  • How does that help you as a reader?
  • What keeps you from using a capital there?
  • What did you do well?
  • What other things were you trying in your head to figure that out?
  • Smile for yourself. You worked hard!
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The Construction Zone: Building Scaffolds for Readers and Writers

Taking a student from dependence upon the teacher to independent learning is what teaching is all about, and instructional scaffolding is key to accomplishing this goal. Regardless of where you are in your understanding of instructional scaffolding, The Construction Zone will raise your level of awareness around your instructional practices and the ways you scaffold students to independence.

Adventures in Graphica: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Comprehension

"Terry Thompson cracks open the amazing world of graphic reading and reveals the endless possibilities for teaching with graphica. He sees the inherent motivational value in comics, explains the many different graphic genres, and shares thoughtful and compelling ways to teach comprehension, vocabulary, and even fluency with graphica."
- Stephanie Harvey

Terry Thompson, M.A., LPC

Terry Thompson is a teacher, author, and consultant, living in San Antonio, Texas. He trains teachers of readers and writers in grades K-8. Currently a literacy interventionist, Terry has served as a classroom teacher, basic skills teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and literacy coach. He holds a master’s degree in psychotherapy and cognitive coaching and travels throughout the United States consulting with classroom teachers and literacy specialists. Terry is the author of Adventures in Graphica: Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Comprehension and Construction Zone: Building Scaffolds for Readers and Writers.
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