What does the SIOP Framework look like?

Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol

SIOP Overview

SIOP has been around K-12 educational institutions for a long time.  Just like the odd name intimates, it was originally designed as a way of measuring how teachers were supporting non-native English speaking students (Sheltered Instruction) by observing them teach and qualifying their ability to meet specific criteria (Observation Protocol).

SIOP helps teachers connect students, language & content
While SIOP began as a means of supporting ELs (English Learners) in the K-12 content area classroom, it quickly became apparent that the components of Sheltered Instruction could also benefit native English speaking students.   

In fact, all students (and their teachers) are supported better when teachers attend to the criteria laid out in the SIOP Framework.

SIOP is a great way to set your students (and yourself) up for success.


The SIOP Framework

Within the SIOP Framework, there are 8 components.  Each component represents specific aspects of teaching and learning to which educators should attend.   These 8 categories capture key considerations for teachers to take into account when planning, teaching, and reflecting on a lesson.
The 8 SIOP Components


The  8 SIOP Components


2.  Building Background
3.  Comprehensible Input
4.  Strategies
5.  Interaction
6.  Practice & Application
7.  Lesson Delivery
8.  Review & Evaluation

Each of these eight categories should be quite familiar to every teacher. In fact the titles alone hint at their relevance.



Even without knowing exactly what each component contains, educators will find each term tends to resonate with them.  For example, more than likely all teachers…
  • Go through some process to prepare for our lessons. (Lesson Preparation)
  • Pre-teach key vocabulary terms at the start of a lesson.  (Building Background)
  • Consider how to make things more comprehensible. (Comprehensible Input)
  • Give students a chance to practice and apply their learning. (Practice & Application)
  • Do some sort of review and evaluation of students’ progress (Review & Evaluation)
Even on the surface level, these components highlight why this framework can benefit K-12 teachers and students alike.
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Connecting SIOP Components & Their Features

Because each of these categories is rather broad and ambiguous, every component of SIOP has a number of related features that are designed to unpack each one into a series of measurable objectives that a teacher can use as a guide.

Notice the features that fall under SIOP Component 7:  Lesson Delivery.
23. Support content objectives clearly.
24. Support language objectives clearly.
25. Engage students approximately 90-100% of the time.
26. Pace the lesson appropriately to the students’ ability level.
These 4 features serve to flesh out the category of Lesson Delivery.  They remind us as teachers what we can do to hone this aspect of our teaching.  

Unpacking each of these aspects of Lesson Delivery help us see the connection between a SIOP component and its features.  For example, the first two features about the lesson’s objectives are there to help us stay focused on the specific purpose of the lesson: its content & language objectives.   

This is a helpful reminder that every step in our lesson must l.ad students towards attaining the lesson's language and content objectives.

The next feature, engaging students, asks us to consciously seek for ways to engage our students in their learning process (0-100% of the time).  While 100% engagement 100% of them time may seem a bit like pipe dream, this feature of Lesson Delivery reminds us how critical the aspect of teaching is.  Without student engagement, little learning if any occurs and almost certainly, the lesson will have to be repeated (again and again).  

The final feature in this component challenges us to pay attention to the pacing of the lesson, another component of delivering effective lessons.  When do we choose to speed up the lesson (perhaps even skip over parts), and when may we choose to slow down the lesson’s pace or go back over prior steps?  Pacing is important and is directly connected to student engagement.  Too slow is tooooo slowww and too fast invariably leave some far behind.  Additionally, our pacing needs to change not just in accordance with our students' learning needs but also to just shake things up a bit.

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Together, all 4 features of Lesson Delivery remind us of the following:

  • Every step in our lesson needs to lead students towards both the content & language objectives: no room for anything that doesn’t push us forward.
  • We need to make sure we are engaging our learners at every step in order to instigate learning:  no more mimicking Charlie Brown’s teacher.
  • The pace of the lesson should be responsive to the needs of the students:  no more having the teacher keep the lesson’s time:the students’ job.

SIOP Promotes Positive Teaching Practices

The SIOP framework does a wonderful job of capturing the essential ingredients of creating an effective teaching and learning experience.  The 8 components of Sheltered Instruction challenge teachers to consciously consider when teaching.  The 30 features that fall under these components offer a clear guide as to what teachers can do to set all of their students up for success.

As teachers, we can consciously consider how we will address all features of SIOP when we plan and teach.  Certainly, we all have different strengths and different challenges as teachers.  The SIOP framework provides every teacher the opportunity to self-assess.  We can take our own pulses and ask ourselves (as well as our students) how well we are meeting the criteria of SIOP.  For example, notice how the reflective questions below mirror SIOP components.




  • How well were my  content and language objectives? (Lesson Preparation)  
  • How well did I break down the content/language of the lesson and scaffold learning?   (Lesson Delivery)  
  • How effective was I at creating think time (or wait time) during our discussion today?  (Interaction)
  • How well did I engage my students today? (Lesson Delivery)  

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