Scaffolding Suggestions for High-Stakes Assignments

Low and middle-stakes assignment suggestions

Passage Summary/Analysis:

Encourage students to annotate the assigned text prior to class discussion. In class, assign specific sections of a complicated text to small groups and have them work collaboratively to summarize the passage and determine its purpose/ significance to the larger text.

The following ideas are from John C Bean's Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom.

What it Says, What it Does:

Outside of class, have students annotate the assigned text and complete a “What it says, What it does” chart. For each paragraph, students should indicate what the text says. In other words, students are summarizing, the paragraph. Students should also indicate for the same paragraph how that paragraph functions within the essay (What it does). Instructors should model the task by filling in the chart for the first several paragraphs.

Formulating a question for further exploration:

In small groups, students might look at the same text and collaboratively develop several questions that the group believes would be worthy of class discussion. Students should be asked to develop, perhaps, six questions and as a group decide on two or three of the six questions that will be presented to the class. Students will write the questions on the board and provide a rationale for having chosen them.