Scaffolding Math Instruction in Guided Math Groups: Part 1

Posted on December 24, 2010. Filed under: Assessment, Differentiated Instruction, During the Guided Math Lesson | Tags: , , |


What is Scaffolded Instruction?

Scaffolding is helping students become successful through a series of guided steps.  Bruner (1975) coined the term, based on the work of Vygotsky. The main ideas is that children can become successful doing things that they can’t do on their own yet, with a little help from both their teacher and friends.  In the beginning a great deal of support is given and then gradually the support is decreased until the student can successfully do it own their own.  Remember when you learned to ride a bike?  Those extra back set of trainer wheels were one level of scaffolding.  Then, when they came off, whoever push started you and followed close behind was another level.  Finally, you were off, down the street, doing it on your own, grinning all the way!

Hogan and Pressley (1997) found 8 essential elements to scaffold instruction:

1. Pre-engagement with the student and the curriculum

2. A shared goal  

3. Ongoing Assessment- Pre/During/End

4. Tailored assistance – This may include cueing or prompting, questioning, modeling, telling, or discussing.

5. Ongoing Goal Setting

6. Specific Feedback

7. Attention to student disposition/mental and emotional engagement

8. Internalization, independence, and generalization to other contexts –

(adapted from citation in Larkin, 2002)

Larkin (2001) found that teachers who scaffold also

  • Meet students where they are/ focus on what they can do
  • Scaffold success quickly so that the “cycle of failure” is broken
  • Help students to “be” like everyone else
  • Know when it is time to stop – “Less is more”
  • Foster Independence

 http://www.vtaide.com/png/ERIC/Scaffolding.htm

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One Response to “Scaffolding Math Instruction in Guided Math Groups: Part 1”

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Hi Dr. Nicki,
When I present a strategy for instruction to teachers, I like to have an article which includes the rationale to support the strategy. You have put scaffolding into easy to understand terms. I am going to give suggest this to my 5th grade teachers who are the guided math leaders in my school. Thank you and I look forward to part II.


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