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.”) Continue reading

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.

photo-42

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…

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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!