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Scaffolding: The Path to College Careers

Great Valley Writing Project
CSU Stanislaus September 22, 2012
Joan Wink, Ph. D., Professor Emerita

The purpose of this presentation is to prepare teachers with the strategies for scaffolding language and knowledge with English Learners, and secondly to demonstrate that scaffolding is the path to future success in college and careers.

I do.
We do.
You do.

To create multiple ways of scaffolding complex texts with ELLs
To learn NEW processes to use in the class tomorrow
To create linkages between content and technology

Bike Analogy, ELLs, and Scaffolding
Susan Kinney, April 2, 2011 Bicycle riding and Scaffold Schema

What is scaffolding?

Scaffolding, a term coined by Wood, Bruner, & Ross (1976) applies to Structuring strategies to make content comprehensible for students. It is especially useful for English learners as the content is broken down manageable chunks to enhance understanding (Roe & Wink, 2012).

Garrett scaffolds Writer’s Workshop
Remember to Zoom In.

Scaffolding is derived from the Vygotskian notion of the Zone of Proximal Development.

What is the Zone of Proximal Development?

…the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers
(Vygotsky, 1986, p. 86; as cited in Wink & Putney, 2002, p. 86).

Zone of Proximal Development

What the child can do in cooperation today, he/she can do alone tomorrow. Therefore the only good kind instruction is that which marches ahead of development and leads it (Vygotsky, 1986, p 188; cited in Wink & Putney, 2002, p. 111).


The teacher does IT.
The class does IT.
The group does IT.
The student does IT.

How do I do it with complex texts?

First example: Scaffold to Literacy Engagement Framework (2009) by James Cummins
(See Resources.).

Related resources for participants:

•a), a presentation on scaffolding, TESOL 2012

•b), the participants’ handout

•c), TESOL Participants’ Contributions for HOW TO SCAFFOLD

Participants: Individually/pairs scaffold for us one challenging idea.

Second example, Comprehending and Comprehension

Scaffolding Complex Texts: Volume of Text Matters, Elfrieda H. Hiebert, July 30, 2012

I Wouldn’t Choose It, but I don’t Regret Reading: Scaffolding Engagement With Complex Texts Lisa Simon

Turning Dependent into Independent Readers Mark Pennington, August 1, 2012, readers/what

What is TPR?
TPR (Total Physical Response)
What is TPR – how do I do it?

In TPR for English Language Learners, the instructor uses physical and fun movements to demonstrate the meaning of very specific words, which early language learners need
immediately. It follows the scaffolding process of: I do, We do, You do. The method has been used in multiple ways in foreign language teaching for years. The goal is to teach language. We often refer to this as conversational language, previously known as BICS.

TPR, James Asher, the originator of the concept.
An example for early language learners:
ESL Cafe
Participants teach each other with TPR.

7 Steps to TPR
Trip to the zoo lesson

A New Note About TPR from James Asher 2012

However, our goal is language and content: Academic Language.

Did you learn any Chinse?
Did you learn?

Chinese words
Egg 鸡蛋 (ji-dan) flat and falling tones with stress on 2nd character
Bowl 碗 (wan) falling and raising tones
Bottle 瓶 (ping) raising tones

TPR, other examples:


Meaningful, purposeful, relevant, respectful

From TPR to TPRS
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling) emphasizes a natural acquisition of language through storytelling.

What is TPRS – how do we do it?

UCLA ( answers the question:
Establish meaning with language.
Reinforce the structures by “asking” a story.
Reiterate content by reading/discussing a similar story.
Ron Grisham adapts Susan Gross (2007) and answers the same question.
Meaning of language (use TPR)
Create a story–act out the story together

Participants will scaffold the new knowledge of TPRS through one method of their choice. Your task is to scaffold as you generate ways of using this with your (a) content or (b) to create a path to college and careers.

First, choose the process.
Second, plan your scaffolding instruction.
Third, share with colleagues.

A video clip of TPRS.
Slavic, Ben, (French)

ZooBurst – place story on ZooBurst,
Examples of ZooBurst:
Craig, the Zookeeper, documents his trip to Egypt.

Anne creates a thank you card for a colleague. (no sound)

Anne links her birth with the content of our class in Mallorca. (includes sound)

Possible Activities: ZooBurst can be linked to content, but it also can be used to focus students on the various paths to college and careers.

To sign up for WinkWorld, just go to and click the blue sign up button on the left.

Messenger and the Scribe


Center for Digital Storytelling
Cummins, James. (2009).
Transformativemultiliteracies pedagogy: School-based strategies for closing the achievement gap. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners,(11), 2, Spring, pp. 38-56.University of Texas, Austin. Online date, Thursday, September 23, 2010. As cited in Wink, 2010,
Evernote (EN)
Ferlazzo, Larry and Katie Hull Sypnieski
Answer Sheet, 8/24/2012, Valerie Strauss, Washington Post
What to do and not do with ELLs.
IFTTT, If This, Then, That
Roe, C., & Wink, J. (2012, March 31).Scaffolding: what, why, & how.
Presented at the annual meeting of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), A Declaration of Excellence, Philadelphia, Pa.
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading through Story-Telling)
Gross, Susan (2007), Three Steps of TPRS
Gresham, Ron, (2012) Three Steps of TPRS, adapted from S. Gross
Ray, Blaine
Slavic, Ben (French)


Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wink, J., & Putney, L. (2011). A vision of Vygotsky, eBook Edition.
Wink, J., & Putney, L. (2002). A vision of Vygotsky. Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.
Wood, D., Bruner, J., & Ross, G. (1976).
The role of tutoring in problem solving. Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 17, 89-100.
ZooBurst, created by Craig Kapp.