Please note that what appears is exemplary only and is not intended to be viewed as the only way instruction might be scaffolded and sequenced. The chart provides teachers with one option for the kinds of instruction necessary for implementation of the CCSS and for completion of the most demanding of the classroom task options. Differentiation notes address additional instructional support for English learners and students with special needs. Each support can be accessed by rolling over text which is highlighted in red.

  • Instructional round 1 pair of texts, which are sufficiently complex, may be a common pair for all students. All students participate in round 1.
  • Instructional round 2 pair of texts may be whole group or student-chosen from teacher-created lists of possible texts that are sufficiently complex. All students participate in round 2.
  • Additional instructional rounds may use other sufficiently complex text pairs chosen by individual and/or class needs. Some or all students participate in round 3 depending on results of formative assessment.

The Purpose of the Instructional Scaffolding & Sequencing1

  • Students work through the tasks with peer and teacher guidance in sequenced, scaffolded routines such as writing to learn, charting, and small and whole group discussions that make it possible for the teacher to check students’ learning progress.
  • Instruction begins at an introductory, literal level of comprehension about the texts and then moves to deeper levels of comprehension and analysis.
  • Throughout this process, the teacher provides just enough guidance and support to advance learning through questioning, prompting, or other forms of coaching and feedback.
  • With each additional round of guided instruction and practice, the teacher may scale back scaffolding (modeling, for example) for gradual release of responsibility of the learning to their students.
  • The goal is for students to get to the point where they take full responsibility for the learning and can complete tasks independently. When they are at this point, they are ready to complete the assessment tasks.

The Key Routines in the Instructional Sequence2

  • The interactive formats included in Guided Lessons describe key routines that students use alone and with others.
  • Students interactively comprehend and analyze the texts that are part of the classroom task. That is, they engage individually and/or collaboratively as learners in regular patterns of “doing” the tasks through:
    • solving problems,
    • writing to learn,
    • speaking about what they are thinking and learning,
    • listening and responding to peers’ ideas,
    • charting their thoughts,
    • note-taking and making,
    • tracking their record of learning,
    • assessing their progress on a task or tasks,
    • working in pairs, small groups, and as a whole class.
  • While working in these ways, students gain skills and understanding in all strands of the CCSS, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. For example, in most rounds of practice,
    • Students closely read the text and draw and record evidence from it per reading standard RL.3.1Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. and writing standard W.3.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences..
    • Then, they work alone and with others to determine and express a central idea of a text per reading standard RL.3.2Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text., speaking and listening standard SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

      • Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
      • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
      • Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
      • Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
      , and language standards L.3.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

      • a) Choose words and phrases for effect.
      • b) Recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English.
      , using knowledge of language.
1 Excerpted from Institute for Learning. (2010). Embedding assessment tasks in an instructional sequence. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.
2 Excerpted from Institute for Learning. (2010). Instructional scaffolding and sequencing. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.
Watch the video for an overview of Guided Lessons