56: Using 6 Facets to Brainstorm Scaffolding





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  • What kind of theory-making and connecting must students encounter if they are to grasp what is not obvious, meet new ideas, test and verify tem, and build their own theory or explanation?

  • What artifacts, data, behaviors, and events should they have to try to explain to gain practice in generalizing and drawing sound inferences?


  • How will the work require students to make interpretations, derive meaning, explore the importance, or find the significance of knowledge?

  • What texts, events, or other resources will be provided “by design” as significant sources for significant and revealing interpretative work?


  • How will the work enable students to test their understandings in apt and varying contexts where authentic situations, purposes and audiences will require thoughtful transfer of prior learning?

  • How can the work encourage students to propose or even invents new and revealing applications of their learning?



  • How will the materials, experiences, and tasks help students to grasp multiple points of view and critically evaluate these?


  • What kinds of direct/simulated experiences in class can cause students to personally connect with the experiences of others?



  • What kinds of experiences will help students self assess and reflect on what they do and don’t understand?

  • How will the lesson evoke the habits of mind and biases students bring to the work?

3-sowhatThe scaffolding prompts aim to guide brainstorming for scaffolding activities that address the six facets of understanding.  The six facets of understanding can be used to add depth to scaffolding sequences that address specific learning goals.  They can help students makes connections with contents that are engaging, meaningful and long lasting.  Research has shown that ALL students benefit from high challenge & high support curriculum designs.


Preparation Steps
  • Analyze and prioritize standards clusters for an upcoming project.
  • Identify which facets of understanding align best with standards-based goals.
  • Using the question prompts above to research and brainstorm scaffolding that align to standards-based goals and to focus facets.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement scaffolding activités.
  • Use formative feedback to fine scaffolding and to help students get the specific information they need to improve learning and products.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Document which facets are being used in projects over time.  Reflect on most commonly used and rarely used facets.  Reflect on whether or not these different frequencies are a necessary result of the discipline or are a result of teacher preferences.
  • If gaps are due to teacher preferences, try designing scaffolding activities and products that address gaps.

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