supporting teens

How to tackle an ability roadblock

So you’ve figured out that there are gaps in your student’s content knowledge or skill base. What do you do now?

Differentiating between a mental roadblock and an ability roadblock

read the previous post

First, you’ll need to determine if it is a matter of content knowledge or a matter of skill and practice.

Knowledge is whether a student knows something, skill is the degree of proficiency at completing an activity.

Either way, you will need to scaffold carefully! I talked about scaffolding in my last newsletter, but here’s a quick refresher: scaffolding is the practice of teaching a skill through highly structured activities so that the student is not asked to do something beyond their ability

Try these scaffolding ideas for content/knowledge roadblocks:

  • write a list of unknowns and find the answers together 
  • create a table with characters for each row, and themes for each column, then find a page of quotes and assign them to the table 
  • mix and match theme words with their definitions 
  • create flashcards together for characters and themes 
  • have a pre-made timeline and fill in the plot events together 

Try these scaffolding ideas for skills/practice roadblocks:

  • use sentence stems to finish sentences 
  • give the student sentences to rewrite into their own words 
  • write the topic sentence for the student to continue 
  • mix and match topic sentences with evidence sentences 
  • highlight analytical verbs and apply them in the student’s sentence

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