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Construction Zone, The

  • Title:The Construction Zone: Building Scaffolds for Readers and Writers
  • Author:Terry Thompson
  • Publication Date:July 2015
  • Grade Level:K-6
  • ISBN:9781571108692
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

Instructional scaffolding is an essential part of teaching literacy. But what is scaffolding exactly? What does it look like in a classroom, and how can we improve the ways we use it? Despite its prominence in the repertoire of teaching strategies, scaffolding remains a vague concept for many teachers.

In essence, scaffolding is the idea of supporting students as they build independence. In The Construction Zone, Terry Thompson identifies four critical processes to deepen your understanding and improve your practice of instructional scaffolding:

  • Finding and maintaining a specific focus
  • Practicing flexibility in planning and delivering instruction
  • Giving constructive feedback in response to student efforts
  • Monitoring to ensure that, in every moment, students are working at optimal levels of responsibility.

Thompson encourages teachers to enhance their use of the traditional gradual release process through five actionable steps: show, share, support, sustain, and survey, and in doing so provides procedures and techniques to help them establish and maintain strong scaffolds throughout the instructional day. The Construction Zone is written from the teacher's perspective and urges educators to fully embrace their role in the scaffolding process while staying mindful of the effect it has on students.

Taking a student from dependence upon the teacher to independent learning is what teaching is all about, and instructional scaffolding is key to accomplishing this goal. Regardless of where you are in your understanding of instructional scaffolding, The Construction Zone will raise your level of awareness around your instructional practices and the ways you scaffold students to independence.

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Author Bio

Terry Thompson received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Lamar State College and his master's degree in counseling from Sam Houston State University. He has worked in elementary education for sixteen years in grade levels K through 5 as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, basic skills teacher, reading interventionist, state testing coordinator, and literacy coach. He is currently a full-time literacy coach for the pre-K through 5 Title I campus in north Houston. He travels regularly, giving presentations to literacy instructors.

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