6 Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students

Dear Readers,
This article, taken directly from Edutopia is a great read on scaffolding strategies. I posted the direct link to it on the bottom. Here’s the article in its entirety:

What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday.” Yikes — no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding — just left blowing in the wind.

Let’s start by agreeing that scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. When scaffolding reading, for example, you might preview the text and discuss key vocabulary, or chunk the text and read and discuss as you go. With differentiation, you may give a child an entirely different piece of text to read, you might shorten the text or alter it, and you may modify the writing assignment that follows.

Simply put, scaffolding is what you do first with kids, then for those students who are still struggling, you may need to differentiate by modifying an assignment and/or making accommodations for a student (for example, choose more accessible text and/or assign an alternative project).

Scaffolding and differentiation do have something in common though. In order to meet students where they are and appropriately scaffold a lesson, or differentiate instruction, you have to know the individual and collective zone of proximal development (ZPD) of your learners. (As education researcher Eileen Raymond states, “[T]he ZPD is the distance between what children can do by themselves and the next learning that they can be helped to achieve with competent assistance.”)Read More »

Centers vs. Stations

Dear Readers,

It really seems as if this job is tailor-made for me. Why do I say that? I say that because at my current job, the students are required to use stations. Why is this perfect? Well, at my other school, I used stations. I just called them centers. I thought there wasn’t a difference, but have since learned that there is.

So, my principal came into the class four times this week. Yes, four times. I’ve already had 5 observations this year and it’s only the third week of school. If this school does nothing else, it will keep me on my toes. We are required to upload a digital agenda to the school’s website, submit a unit plan, use stations for Direct Instruction, Collaborative/Flex-time (Work from other classes), & Independent work (on the laptop and/or iPad). I have actually really been “on it.” In my room I have a Smart Board that I am learning how to use. I know how to use simple parts of it, but the more complicated tasks like writing on the screen with the markers and moving screens like a touch device, I can’t do yet. The way I use it now is to plug my laptop into it to show my power points. I’ll write more about the power points later.

BTW, I found a great article on Stations vs. Centers: Dare to Differentiate: http://2differentiate.pbworks.com/w/page/860074/Learning%20Stations

An Open Letter to Extroverts: What the Introverts in Your Life Want You to Know

This post so perfectly sums me up. I want to bronze it and put it on my dining room wall with the rest of my pictures. I am so often misunderstood by those who don’t know me. I really vibe with this post. Thank you, Lessons From the End of a Marriage, for writing this. I could have written this. It sums me up perfectly.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

I’m not an extrovert, but I play one in real life.

Most people would probably be shocked to discover than I am a true introvert – that  social situations and crowds exhaust me and I seek balance by being alone. After all, I have chosen to be a teacher. I am outspoken in meetings and not shy to speak in front of a group. I have intentionally cultivated a large group of friends and I enjoy spending time with them and having them in my space. I have developed countless online relationships and enjoy time with my online family. I can be loud. I rarely slow down. And I rocked a shirt that said, “Sweet Talker in Action” as a kid because I never shut up.


But behind all of that is a woman who feels most at home in her office, a “safe” space of solitude. A woman who would…

View original post 1,622 more words

Tomorrow’s Plan!

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow I am going to  Well, I actually haven’t figured it out yet. As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to continue working on a unit plan. I have to start from the bottom then work my way up.

I think I will begin with adjectives. I will have them give me “tired” words and think of new ones. Before that, though, I will also introduce them to two of my favorite resources- Banish Boring Words & How to Spell It. I’ll explain what an adjective is, discuss it with them,  have them give me a list of adjectives, then write a couple of sentences with great adjectives. After that, I will have them analyze their I Am poems and pick out the adjective. They will then rewrite the I Am poem with different adjectives. (I’m actually figuring it out as I’m writing this, by the way!)

Instead of writing it down here, I will write it down on the unit plan template, so bye for now!

No Sunday Night Blues Today!

Dear Readers,

This time last week, I had the Sunday night blues! BAD!!!! I was so super stressed out that I thought I was going to burst a blood vessel. I’m really not kidding. It was because I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know if I had enough material. I. JUST. DIDN’T. KNOW!

Now that I have a whole week under my belt, I am much better. I had a very relaxing weekend, went to Lakeshore, finished school shopping with my daughter, visited my sisters and my nieces and their children, relaxed, watched a couple of movies, etc. All things that I couldn’t do last weekend on account of the stress.

I figure I’ll be very comfortable with this whole process in about 2 months. by the time I will not have to bring work home. I will utilize my assistant who’s very efficient. I’m under the gun right now, but I am looking forward to very productive and exciting year. Here’s to expectations!


Dear Readers,
I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared that I have a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Right as I write this post, my daughter & my middle son are in there having playful banter that’s driving me crazy. I actually stopped writing this post and got up to close the door so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I’m supposed to be doing a bunch of other things, so I will write about it later.

The Rubric

Dear Readers,

I am so happy that I was able to find a rubric for the “I Am” poem. I was going to write one until I decided to scour the internet. I found one within 1 minute. Color me happy! I am about to grade them to put on the board when I go back to school on Monday.

There are two- one for teachers and a simple one I’ll use for explaining to students. I’m having a little trouble with pasting so I will just post the link for them. Here are the links:

familyconsumersciences.com/wp-content/uploads/IAmSampleRubric.doc (Teacher)

www. rcampus.com/rubricshowc.cfm?code=A56228&sp=true (Kid friendly rubric + template)

Bye for now!



Activities Completed This Week with My Students

Dear Readers,

I just woke up from a fantastic nap. OMG, it was sooooo good! I’ve been on the go since July 28th. Here’s what happened. It’s been a whirlwind. I interviewed on Thursday, July 24th and was offered the job the same day. I accepted the next day on the 25th and had to report for a week-long Orientation starting Monday the 28th. I had the weekend to come up with some activities; then, school started on Monday, August 4th. I’ve been going to bed late ’cause I just haven’t shaken the bad summer sleeping habits. So, there you have it. My reasons for my 1 1/2 hour nap. Now that I feel refreshed, here’s a snapshot of what I did yesterday with my class.

I completed the following exercises with my students:

  • Three reasons for failure (No plan, taking too long to follow through on the plan, not following through on the plan)
  • What Super Hero Are You? which is tied into the Multiple Intelligences & the student’s disability
  • I Am poem
  • Autobiographical Poem (kinda’ like the I Am poem)
  • Study Skills Assessment
  • Multiple Intelligence Inventory
  • 21 Questions All About Me
  • Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset quiz & simple questionnaire I made


I really liked the 3 reasons for failure activity/team building exercise. I didn’t make this one up. This is what I did. I started with an odd number of students to begin with because the objective of the activity is to leave one person out in the cold because they don’t have a plan, they take too long to follow through on the plan, or the don’t follow through on the plan. So, I started with 5 students and gave them 12 seconds (too long) to find a partner. Of course one person didn’t have a partner. I then asked the person without the partner why they didn’t have a partner- he didn’t have a plan. While the five students were doing the activity, I had the other students writing down the reasons why the students didn’t succeed. I had them push the tables back so there was room in the middle of the room and little by little I called all 28 students up and had them do various groupings. There was always one person without a partner and it was always one of the three reasons listed above. After we did it for about 10 minutes, I sent them to their seats to complete the rest of the questionnaire I made for them. Here’s a copy:

Name:_____________________ Date:__________________ Period:_______

There are 3 reasons for failure:

  • No Plan
  • Taking too long to act/follow through on the plan
  • Not following through on the plan

1. Observe the following groups and determine the reason for failure.

2. What would you have done differently?

3. How can knowing this information help you in school?

4. What was your main reason for failure in the past?

5. Write down four goals you have for this school year (at home and in school).

This was among my Top 2 favorite things I completed this week. The other one was the Multiple Intelligence Survey. I’ll write about that in another post.



Three Reasons a Plan Fails

Dear Readers,
Years ago my sons were in a program called Building on Spiritual Substance (B.O.S.S.) that taught them so many important principles. One of the most important take-aways for me was the three main reasons for failure. They are (in no particular order):
1)- Not having a plan.
2)- Taking too long to act on the plan
3)- Not following through on the plan

I’m going to do an exercise in class tomorrow where I have the students act it out. When I went to a B.O.S.S. weekend training, this is one of the exercises we completed. It helps show the students that they need a plan.
I’ll let you know how it turns out. Bye for now!

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset (cont’d)

Dear Readers,

I have to say that I love the internet for finding anything, but I especially love it for finding teaching resources. Many times I’ve been about to recreate the wheel until I thought that surely someone else has already created what I need or something similar.
Well, sure enough, I inevitably find what I’m looking for. I was looking for a growth mindset vs. fixed mindset quiz and questionnaire. I found the quiz but not a questionnaire, so I made a questionnaire. It consisted of eight simple questions regarding a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. If you’d like to see it, here it goes:

Name:________________ Date: _____________________ Period: ___________
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed MindsetRead More »

The ” I Am” Poem, Part 2

Dear Readers,

I am so proud of this student’s poem that I’m not changing anything. So, here it is, warts an all:

I  am wonderful and graceful

I wonder the future of Los Angeles

I hear a sound of losing hope

I see the lost paradise

I want to go to the past

I am wonderful and graceful

I pretend of touching someone’s tear

I feel the sky of summer

I touch the sun

I worry about the violence and hate

I cry of pain inside and being a hated person

I am wonderful and graceful

I understand people don’t like me

I say people would care

I dream of a non-violent day

I try of being the nicest kid

I hope of no hating people

I am wonderful and graceful.

I almost cried when he read that. He is really trying to understand people, but can’t seem to pick up on body language and social cues. I spoke with him and told him that I would work with him. So, that’s the poem. I liked his brutal honesty. I’ll keep you updated.

A Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset!

Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of a Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset? If you haven’t, then I am about to explain it. A Growth Mindset is a good thing to have. It’s a belief that you can make a difference.

The flip side of this is a Fixed Mindset where you believe that your path is fixed and you cannot make a change.

Here is a Tedx Talk by Edward Briceño. I’m having a little trouble posting it, so just in case it doesn’t show up here’s the website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc

The I Am Poem

Dear Readers,

The “I Am” poem is some of my go-to work for the first weeks of school that works from Elementary to High School. I completed it today with my class. I was pleasantly surprised that they did so well. I will post one of their examples later today or tomorrow. For now, here’s the template. Enjoy!

Just in case you don’t know what the “I Am” poem is, here it is:



I am (2 special characteristics you have)

I wonder (something of curiosity)
I hear (an imaginary sound)
I see (an imaginary sight)
I want (an actual desire)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I am polite and kind
I wonder about my kids’ future I hear a unicorn’s cry
I see Atlantis
I want to do it all over again
I am polite and kind

I pretend (something you actually pretend to do)

I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch (an imaginary touch)
I worry (something that bothers you)
I cry (something that makes you sad)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

I understand (something that is true)
I say (something you believe in)
I dream (something you dream about)
I try (something you really make an effort about)

I hope (something you actually hope for)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)




Tired Me! Part Whatever

Dear Readers,

Because of my crazed worrying, I am tirreeeeeeeeeeeeddddddddddddddddddd!!!! My plan was to come home and take a nap. However, after I thought about it, it would only serve to further throw off my sleep pattern worse than it already is. So, I sat down in the recliner in my living room and prepared to work. Whaddaya’ think happened? Yep, went to sleep! That was one of the best 20 minutes naps I’ve had.

I was going to go to bed early but my husband’s flight is coming back in about 11 ‘o clock. So, there goes that. Anywho, tomorrow will be a short day. I’ll take a nap once I get home from work. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!

I Worried For Nothing!

Dear Readers,
I worried myself silly last night. I tried but simply could not think straight. My mind just wouldn’t work. I tried to relax; that didn’t work. I tried to watch t.v.; that didn’t work. Nothing worked, so I went to sleep and had a very fitful sleep. I tossed and turned all night worrying about what I was going to teach.
I got up this morning, still crazed! I fixed my lunch, took a bath, and left the house 15 minutes later than I’d intended.
Once I got to school, the copier room was ridiculously crowded. One teacher was making a ton of copies. I waited, made my copies and went to class. I was there for approximately 10 minutes when students showed up at my door. I let them in and began explaining the rules to them. In the middle of my explanation, the other teacher I share the room with, told me that there was a meeting for the 9th graders outside which I’d completely forgotten about. So, we went out, heard the speeches by the Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean of Instruction (DI), and the counselors.
Once they were finished, we were dismissed to our room. That’s when I realized that I had more than 25 students. I’ve never had more than 16, but I won’t let that worry me.
Advisory is from 8:00- 8:45, so that was over in a flash. Once they were gone, I set about preparing for my 2 hour block later on in the day that I was not prepared for.
I was kinda’ prepared. I mean I knew what I wanted to do but hadn’t printed out the bulk of the work. My next class after that was at 1:37, so within that time, I got ready!
I actually had more than enough work which I love. You know what that means- I’m going to get some rest tonight. So, there you have it, Dear Readers, I worried for nothing. My day was fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now that today is over. I know more of what to expect, so I’m better. I’ll keep you in the know. Bye for now!

Hello August!

Wow, can’t believe August came so quickly! This summer passed by so quickly. I’m really not sad to see it end even though it was a good summer. I accomplished some goals this year that I’ve been trying to accomplish for quite some time. Since my summer is so unstructured, I am usually very unproductive (that’s putting it mildly). That’s why I decided to get a summer job. Once I decided to get a job, it fell into my lap. LMU emailed me that Lindamood-Bell was hiring. I went, interviewed, and was hired.

I finished working there on July 18th. Overall, I liked it but had a problem with favoritism; but I guess that’s many jobs though. The research based techniques will come in very handy.

By working @ Lindamood-Bell, I conquered my summer slide of being terribly unproductive. I was also able to work through the place where I plateaued regarding teaching students how to read. I didn’t get a chance to learn as much as I wanted to learn, but am happy with what I did learn.

I also secured an RSP position from amongst five other job offers. It’s close to my daughter’s school, which is about 12 minutes drive from my house. This is only the second time (of my 4 teaching positions) that I’ve been hired before the school year began. That was my wish and I got it. So, I’m a little sad to see the summer leave but am happy to move on to another position, where I will hopefully be for a long time.

So, Hello August! Nice to see ya’!