Curriculum Development


All of the products on Liberal Arts Lite apply a scaffolding approach based on a Gradual Release of Responsibility and our visual products apply a Dual Coding Theory. 

Why Scaffolding is Important for Student Learning 

Imagine for a moment, you’re passing a large building being built or even restored. What do you see? 

If you said scaffolding– the series of platforms stacked on top of each other like a big ladder– you’re absolutely correct! Why do engineers and construction works use scaffolding? To provide a structure to support laborers as they work towards completing their project. Without scaffolding, they could not create something magnificent that demonstrates their hard-earned skills. 

Scaffolding to Maximize Student Learning

Scaffolding in education works exactly the same, just in a more abstract way. In teaching, scaffolding offers a safety net, a parachute, or training wheels, for students to utilize while they learn how to do something independently. When you, the teacher, create supports to help students achieve your objectives and gain proficiency in a skill, it says to the students, “I’m with you. I’ve got you.” 

Not only does scaffolding help students achieve your objectives, it helps build and strengthen your relationship with them. They know: 

  • You’re a safe place for them to take academic risks
  • You’re there to teach them
  • You’re there to cheer them on
  • You’re there to watch them become more independent learners

Like teaching a child how to ride a bike, eventually, you will let go; however, not without giving them the tools, information, and skills in order to do it on their own. 


We firmly believe teachers naturally build in areas and time to offer students support– it’s organic. However there are a couple models and methods that demonstrate how it can be done in a more concrete and direct manner. 

Madeline Hunter’s Model

As an undergraduate pre-service teacher candidate, you likely learned (or just even heard of) Madeline Hunter’s Model of lesson design. There are 8 components of a Madeline Hunter Lesson Plan: 

  1. Anticipatory Set
  2. Objective: Purpose 
  3. Teaching: Input
  4. Teaching: Modeling
  5. Teaching: Checking for Understanding 
  6. Guided Practice
  7. Independent Practice – this is where you no longer are the one guiding the learning. Students are not responsible for their learning. 
  8. Closure

Understanding by Design

This is the model that instructs teachers to start with the end in mind and then identify the procedures and activities that students will complete in order to reach the stated objectives. Many school districts’ curricula are designed using this model. 

Gradual Release of Responsibility

As the title suggests, GRR gradually shifts the responsibly of learning from the teacher to the student. This model is best utitilized when teachers can identify their lessons/units considering the following four phrases: 


How can we help? 

Providing student examples, modeling or demonstrating a skill — or “showing your thinking”– are powerful strategies to support students through the process of learning. 

Almost any text, lesson, or activity can be scaffolded. Because in teaching, scaffolding is an action, not an object, or even a product. All of our products at Liberal Arts Lite have scaffolding and modeling built right in. We like to offer ways to differentiate almost every single product we sell. We provide student examples, so you don’t have to come up with them on your own. Such a time saver! 

It is always our sincere hope that you find something we have created helpful in your own classroom. If something is working particularly well, please share! If something can be revised or tweaked to be more effective and helpful, also, please share!

Please view our video library to see how many of our products provide a scaffolding approach based on a Gradual Release of Responsibility, focus on the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and apply a Dual Coding Theory.

Please sign up for an individual hour, 5 sessions, or 10 sessions, so we can walk you through how to apply these techniques in your own classroom