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Taking Down the Scaffolds Slowly

After studying Vygotsky ‘s ZPD in the very first education class I took in college, I came to realize how important scaffolding was. Last summer, nine years after my first education class (That was in 1998: I toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher in college and literally took one ed class my junior year and that was it.), I was reminded of the need to scaffold kids when they’re trying out something new. In this particular case the scaffolds we tried to put in place were for students’ science writer’s notebook entries. I remember thinking, “Why do I need to write all of these prompts on the page?” However, as I quickly saw, students were as unfamiliar with the concept of science notebooks as I was… hence, they needed scaffolds to guide them through their entries.

Yesterday, when we were working on a science writer’s notebook entry for our human body unit of study, I realized that the scaffolds are ready to come down. While some kids still needed the prompts for the claims and evidence section of their entries, most went straight to the conclusion, pencils flying across the page, writing down everything they noticed during the experiment.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

One thought on “Taking Down the Scaffolds Slowly Leave a comment

  1. Stacey,

    I love how responsive you are to your kids’ needs. We had a lively debate in a class I’m taking about the merits of the TC Units of Study that can be purchased in book form. My professor feels that they unintentionally bastardize Lucy’s intentions because teachers follow them like they would a basal anthology. Being a Lucy loyalist, I begrudgingly agreed with him that teachers who aren’t taught to do otherwise will stop responsing to students actual work and alter their instruction at the point of need. You are the perfect example of the opposite–I’m sending him a link to this post to give him hope!


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