chapter  3
15 Pages

Grappling With Graphic Organizers

When video recordings are used to improve the performance of athletes, the camera is

focused on significant activities. Video recordings of athletes just “hanging out” usually

have very little value for improving performance. For the Thinkback strategy to work,

students must be engaged in a meaningful activity that challenges their minds. In the

remaining chapters of this book we examine several such activities. We begin with one

Beyer introduces Graphic Organizers within a chapter on Scaffolding. Scaffolding is a key

concept not only for graphic organizers but for all of Thinkback. Here is how Beyer describes


Scaffolding thinking consists of supporting student application of a cognitive

operation by structuring the execution of that operation with verbal and/or

visual prompts. Like a scaffold that holds up and gives form to a building under

construction or a renovation, a thinking scaffold is a temporary, adjustable,

skeletal structure that gives shape to a cognitive procedure in the process of its

execution. It is a device or technique that frames a procedure in such a way that

when it-the scaffold-is removed (as it eventually is), the procedure when

executed retains the structure shaped by the scaffold. Students just beginning to

apply a newly encountered or complex cognitive operation benefit immensely from

having their initial attempts to practice that procedure scaffolded until they have

internalized the procedure and can execute it on their own without external support.