Teacher intro

4 min. estimated reading time


I'm Mike, the founder of structal

I'm a former 6th grade reading teacher (yes, I voluntarily went back to middle school) who knows exactly how hard it is to give students the individualized support they need. I built structal to make that process simpler and quicker.

Let's go on a quick tour

Click the structal icon in the bottom left of your screen.

In this paragraph, you should see a bunch of similar looking colored highlights. I'd bet my bottom dollar that you've already seen the green, red and yellow. Each color represents a different category of scaffold structal automatically provides students. Hover over them to check them out.

If you don't see those highlights, it's probably because you haven't downloaded the extension yet. You can download it here.

Where does the extension work?

For now, it works on a computer (not on a phone) in the Google Chrome, Brave, or Edge browsers. We hope to add mobile support in the future!

What websites do these highlights show up on?

The short answer: any site.

You can request them on any page by clicking the structal icon in the bottom left to activate the extension. You can try requesting scaffolds on this article about the delicious science behind chips.

Can I make opening the options menu easier?

Unless you're a Chrome Extension pro, the extension is probably hidden in your Chrome Extensions menu (that's the one that looks like a little puzzle piece near the address bar).

To make things easier, you'll probably want to "pin" the extension by clicking on the icon that looks like a pin next to structal in the Chrome Extensions menu. This will make the icon stay near the address bar so you don't have to keep clicking into the Chrome Extensions menu.

What if I want to customize the supports I see?

Click the extension icon and you'll see the settings menu pop open. Here you can choose which automatic scaffolds you want to see.

Uncheck the cognates checkbox and you'll notice the red highlights disappear. Recheck it and you'll see them come right back.

For your language learner students, they can also select a language other than English for the "I mainly speak..." option. If they choose a language other than English, they'll see a translation of any text they double click or highlight. By clicking the speaker icon next to that translation, they can also hear that translation read aloud.

What if students need help with a word that's not highlighted?

Double click on a word.

You should see a list of definitions pop up. If a student needs help on a word that doesn't have a support already, they can double click or highlight the word to see definitions.

If you use structal on a text that's written in Spanish, French, or Italian highlighting a word will give a student a translation to English instead of a definition.

This is awesome! Can I add my own supports?

Yes! If you're signed in, you should also see a button that says "Add custom highlight" when you double click on or highlight text. It can be one word, a phrase, or even a whole sentence. When you click that button, you can add your own highlight that will show up for your students.

This custom highlight will show up everywhere that word or phrase appears in any article your students read. You define them once and they show up everywhere. Pretty cool.

Make sure your custom highlights would make sense in lots of contexts. Don't provide definitions or explanations that only make sense in one article.

Good luck and happy scaffolding!