A wireless cell-phone provider has been running ads warning us of the perils of a dropped call during a conversation.
When his girlfriend's line drops, the bewildered boyfriend questions her commitment.
When his would-be father-in-law loses connectivity, the young suitor regrets taking on a familial tone.
When her PowerPoint presentation is complete, the high school student becomes utterly confused about how to integrate it into her presentation.
I'll concede that the latter of the three examples is not part of the current ad campaign, but the girl staring at her PowerPoint is no less uncertain about her status than the other characters mentioned above.
I have modeled, informed, rubric-ed, and even, GASP!, engaged in direct instruction to shift the thinking of students from the organizational to the metacognitive. I have provided ample time for, HOORAY!, collaboration, sharing, communication, and feedback.
But Sue stares at two pieces of what must look like the world's most complex jigsaw puzzle with her content on one side of the table and her PowerPoint on the other. Twist and turn those pieces as often as she can, they never seem to fit together. This is a frustrating task for a college-bound senior who has been trained, Pavlovian-style, to believe that doing the work assigned is the track toward academic success.
Unfortunately, there is a third piece to Sue's puzzle. It is integral. It must be used. And while it sits right between the other two pieces, it is often over-looked and never used.
I've scaffolded enough assignments to erect a skyscraper, but all the scaffolding in the world won't give Sue the inherent, intrinsic, and operational functionality to engage in self-directed synthesis of content.
The content and the PowerPoint go together. Sue knows this but she continually tries to wrestle them together without thinking about how to put them together.
How do you scaffold that skill?