Scaffolding – Another Possible (Un) Productive Structure #MTBoSBlaugust


Scaffolding? Really? What I like about Juli’s presentation / posts, she addresses common structures I use and have used for years. Her sharing causes me to consider how I can be more intentional with those tasks, considering how they are having a positive impact on the learning or how I can modify/replace them if they may be unproductive. I come here to muddle through my thinking.

Video of Juli’s Ignite (start at 21:40)

She shares two ideas about Scaffolding – Just-in-Case and Just-in-Time of Blog 03 in her series of posts. I’ll try to distinguish between the two. Just-in-Case may bring issues with access and equity.


When I read that last sentence, I was reminded of a statement several years ago while reading a Wiliam’s Embedded Formative Assessment. He spoke of how we often just model for the students, “stealing” their opportunity to learn. I feel this is somewhat the same. WE jump in to help the students before they have actually demonstrated a need for help.

Unintentionally, we scaffold in such a way that diminishes the cognitive demand of the task. Consider ways you’ve scaffolded certain lessons. Questions you ask, statements that lead. Who is doing the work? the thinking?

Just-in-Time allows students to engage in demanding tasks, then assisting if necessary WHEN they struggle. We allow students to have processing time – to make sense. If they struggle, we give them just enough information or a question to re-engage them in the task.

Our goal: “Students are doing the sense-making.”

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