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Instructional Scaffolding: How Ellii Supports Student Learning

May 26, 2022

Edutopia describes scaffolding as “breaking up the learning into chunks and providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk.”

In other words, scaffolding makes it easier for students to learn new concepts and master tasks because it breaks down the lesson into smaller, more manageable steps. Think of it like using training wheels when learning how to ride a bike.

One of the biggest benefits of incorporating instructional scaffolding is that it provides a welcoming and supportive learning environment for students.

Other benefits of instructional scaffolding:

  • Engages learners and motivates them to want to learn more
  • Increases the likelihood students will achieve their instructional goal
  • Improves problem-solving and comprehension skills
  • Opens the door for peer-teaching and learning
  • Minimizes student frustration

As Ellii’s Chief Impact Officer, I work with English language administrators all over the US. I know that scaffolding lessons is a very time-consuming process for teachers. There’s also the potential to assign tasks that don’t match the student’s abilities, which can hinder success. 

So it comes as no surprise that one of the questions I get asked the most is, “Does Ellii provide scaffolded instruction for students?”

The answer is yes!

The Ellii platform is specifically designed for English learners (ELs). This means that all the lessons are already scaffolded for ELs, allowing for a more gradual release of responsibility.

Here’s how Ellii incorporates instructional scaffolding in lesson plans to save your teachers time and support student learning:

Warm-up questions

Ellii lessons often start with warm-up questions.

These warm-up questions activate prior knowledge, which help your teachers assess what their students already know. Students also build the background knowledge necessary for understanding the text they’re about to read.

Having a conversation at the beginning of a lesson does more than just get your students talking. It also helps them make connections between the material and their own lives, increasing their motivation to learn.

Vocabulary preview

Content-focused Ellii lessons also begin with a vocabulary preview.

Typically, students are asked to either match up a word with its meaning or fill in the blanks.

Front-loading vocabulary gives students the opportunity to review the vocabulary they will later encounter in the text. This pre-reading activity helps students better understand a reading, especially one that has a lot of new vocabulary.

Visual learning

Many Ellii lessons include pictures, videos, and flashcards to further engage students and help them grasp the material. These visual aids can be used with the lesson or on their own as a single activity.

Reading & listening activities

During the reading component of the lessons, students hone their reading and listening skills. They have the option of reading the text themselves or using Microsoft’s Immersive Reader to hear the language modeled for them.

Writing & speaking tasks

After the reading, it’s time to put their learning to the test!

Ellii lessons include plenty of vocabulary review and opportunities for students to show what they’ve learned.

Through comprehension questions, vocabulary practice, grammar exercises, personal reflections, dialogues, role-plays, discussion questions, and speaking tasks, teachers can check for understanding while students practice writing and using English out loud.

ELs don’t have to complete every activity either. Teachers can choose to focus on one specific skill if they like.

Key takeaways

It’s important to encourage students to work independently. Teachers should only help their students with activities that are beyond their abilities.

Additionally, teachers should assign tasks that match the student’s skill level. Activities that are way beyond their capabilities can cause stress or frustration. Same applies to tasks that are below their capabilities.

Lastly, while independent learning is important, teacher-student interaction is just as essential. Open conversation with students allows teachers to address questions and to tailor their instruction for more personalized learning.

Ready to get started with Ellii?

If you're a teacher or part of a school, please contact Lei at If you're from a district or an adult education organization, please contact Mari at

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