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SIOP for ESL Students

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

Are you new to the SIOP (sheltered instruction observation protocol) model? If so, you will find this lesson helpful. We will go over the SIOP elements, as well as how to successfully use them with your ESL students.

What Is SIOP?

The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model, is a researched-based method of instruction that addresses the academic needs of English learners. English as a second language (ESL) students require more than the traditional instructional methods. Language acquisition skills and objectives must be included into everyday lessons, in addition to regular grade-level content and concepts. The eight elements of the SIOP model come together, with effective teaching strategies, to provide instruction that meets both the content, and language, needs of ESL students.

SIOP Elements

There are eight elements in the SIOP model. It is important to be clear, concise, and thorough when completing each of these eight elements. Being thorough, means ensuring your students are getting the most out of the lessons. Reflection and follow-up allow teachers to see what changes or modifications need to be made for future lesson use.

1. Lesson Preparation

  • Clearly define content objectives in student friendly language (example: Students will be able to draft a conclusion paragraph for their essay.).
  • Clearly define language objectives in student friendly language (example: Students will be able to use transitional phrases in writing).
  • Use age-, and comprehension-, appropriate content concepts.
  • Include: themes, standards, topic, materials, and vocabulary.
  • Utilize multiple methods of content delivery (audio, visual, charts, etc.)
  • Ensure application (promotes engagement, links to objectives, hands-on, meaningful)

2. Building Background

  • Focus and motivate students by connecting to what they already know.
  • Relate concepts to students' background experiences (making learning relevant).
  • Link past learning to new content by referring to books, lessons, or charts that students have worked on previously.
  • Use what students have learned in the past, to help them learn new vocabulary.

3. Comprehensible Input

  • Make content comprehensible.
  • Use language that is matches students' proficiency level.
  • Clearly explain all academic tasks, give plenty of examples and demonstrations.
  • Enunciate clearly; speak slowly and purposefully.
  • Use gestures, pictures, props, and objects to make content clear.

4. Learning Strategies

  • Use strategies that will support student understanding.
  • Use scaffolding (modeling, guided practice, independent practice) consistently.
  • Encourage higher-thinking, delving, and questioning throughout lessons.

5. Interaction

  • Encourage interaction between teacher-student and student-student.
  • Allow open discussions about content, lessons, and objectives.
  • Use a variety of grouping options (whole, small, partners, independent).
  • Consistently provide sufficient wait time for student responses.
  • Use structured oral language routines (talking stick, lines of communication, give one/get one, etc.) to get students talking and interacting.

6. Practice/Application

  • Use activities that have students both practice and apply the skills they are learning.
  • Provide guided practice with students before having them work independently.
  • Use meaningful activities where students apply both content and language knowledge (journals, discussion circles, subject related interviews, scaffolded graphic organizers, etc.).
  • Provide activities that utilize all language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

7. Lesson Delivery

  • Stick to the content objectives when delivering the lesson.
  • Stick to the language objectives when delivering the lesson.
  • Follow the pace of your students. Make sure they are following along; check comprehension.
  • Check student focus, motivation, and engagement.

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