Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework

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Background: Developed by educators Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, the Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework is based on research by Piaget and Vygotsky that suggest that learning occurs on a continuum of modeling, support, and ultimately independence.

Sample Lesson – Grade: 2

Content: Social Studies


  • Making Maps

Additional Resources:

Click the image to the right to download a blank Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Framework template.

Focus Lesson (I DO)


Read the book Making Maps together. As you read, make a list of the most important items every map should have on them (a compass, a key, scale, etc). Demonstrate to the class a sample map that you have drawn of your own bedroom or home. Show the key map items you have discussed in your reading.
Guided Instruction (WE DO)


Create a simple map of the classroom together on a shared white board, chart paper, or computer screen. (You may wish to determine where “north” lies in your classroom and label it on the wall before the lesson!) Make sure you include all the key map items you have discussed in your reading.
Productive Group Work (WE DO)


Have partners hide a small treasure (a pencil, a plastic gold coin, or a small stone) and draw a map to its location in the classroom. Then have students exchange maps with another set of partners to see if they can find the treasure. As students finish, ask them to be ready to discuss with the class what WORKED on the map they received, and what could be CHANGED or improved.
Independent Learning (YOU DO)
Independently, have students revise their maps according to the feedback they received.
Considerations for Distance or Hybrid Environments:
Mapmaking can be adapted to a home learning environment by having students map out their own bedrooms, homes, or street. If students are familiar with electronic painting or drawing programs, these can also be used to create a map that can be shared and viewed electronically. There are more than a dozen books on maps at various reading levels in LevelUp Reader that can be assigned to students for further reading and enjoyment.