Implementing Scaffolding In and Out of the Classroom
The ultimate parenting goal is to nurture and guide our children toward the path to independence, and the same goal applies as a teacher. As a matter of fact, at the school I teach (in the beautiful heart of Kendall) the mission statement is:
“To initiate the young mind into the art of thinking.”
This means we want children to be able to think for themselves. How is this done? Well in my first post, Lessons of a Kendall Teacher and Mom: Consistency Develops Learning Both in and out of the Classroom, I shared how important it is to build consistency with young children.
Furthermore, as Evelyn Castillo-Fundora wrote last week on her post, 4 Secrets to Building Self-Confident Children, another important tool is building their confidence.
By allowing children to perform tasks on their own and allowing them to make mistakes, we are letting them know that it is important to try as many times as it takes in order to succeed. In the education world, this gradual release of assistance is known as “scaffolding.”
At home, here are some things that my three boys have been “scaffolded” into doing independently.
Eliminate This Morning Routine and Enjoy Yourself a Cup of Coffee
In the morning, I no longer prepare breakfast or lunch for my three boys. For years they watched, listened, and learned the morning routine, and now they are completely on their own.
Of course they are provided with all the necessities in the kitchen, i.e. breakfast items, lunch items including: snacks, bread, deli meat, spreads, drinks, etc. They are able to put together a well balanced lunch in a matter of ten minutes. And does that ten minutes make a big difference to me!
This has taken a huge burden off of my personal morning routine. I can now actually drink and enjoy the morning coffee that I brew.
Don’t have any kids? Just ask any parent what it is like trying to get themselves ready in the morning after fulfilling their children’s needs. Believe it or not, it is a rare occasion! Simply put, they’ll tell you it’s not easy.
Teaching Accountability is Tough but it Must be Done
There are times, that my boys stroll downstairs and plop themselves on the couch and turn on Netflix or the TV, until that fateful call is yelled: “We’re leaving in 5 minutes, so get your shoes on!” It is those times that they go to school without food.
Am I being cruel and starving my children? No, it’s a hard lesson learned, but in the long run they remember if they don’t do it for themselves, it’s not going to get done. Plus I know that in those instances that they don’t make their food, they find ways and improvise to get school lunch, whether it be they buy it themselves or make a trade with a friend. So no one ever really goes hungry. Now if they would just make dinner!
Building Intelligent Minds Through Scaffolding
In a similar fashion, I use scaffolding in my 1st grade classroom to build independent readers and writers. At the tender age of 6 & 7, the most important skills taught are reading fluency and comprehension. Children are shown daily what a good reader sounds like through modeling, and how to look for questions that requires them to dig deeper into the text, also known as inferring. This has been done since day 1 in my classroom. Children sit in a circle on the rug in the designated reading center for story time in which they watch, they listen, and learn how to dissect a text for better comprehension. Then when they are sent back to their tables they can read a text independently and decipher the types of questions to look for on their own or within their table groups.
Teaching by Example in my Classroom (Parents, Please Try This at Home:)
The same applies to their writing. At the beginning of the year, when children are prompted to write, they witness myself writing a personal journal entry on the board for all to read. They know they can’t copy it because it’s personal to me, however they can use the same writing technique: topic sentence, details, conclusion. Currently, my 6 & 7 year olds can write a paragraph unlike any other. See below for student samples!
Ultimately whether it be in the classroom or at home, the Ultimate Parenting Goals For Generation Z is to build independent thinkers who are confident in their abilities!