Scaffolding the Scaffold: Creating Graphic Organizers to Support Your Students’ Learning
Graphic organizers (GOs) such as Venn diagrams are tools that help instructors support students at all levels of learning in making sense of content. What happens when the readily available GOs or similar tools do not meet the needs of your specific class or your specific content? When we couldn’t find a tool that scaffolded our students’ ability to create language objectives, we created our own content and context-specific graphic organizer tool as a way to mediate student understanding of a complex concept, specifically a form/function analysis of clauses. This paper describes students’ need for scaffolds and our process of creating a very specific tool for analyzing clauses and sentences. We also lay out the steps others can take to create their own tool for their classroom. These steps include guiding principles and questions to support faculty across higher education disciplines and contexts in their own analysis and creation of scaffolds for their classrooms.