Using SIOP to Build Students' Background
Building Background with SIOP
- Explicitly link concepts to students’ backgrounds and experiences.
- Explicitly link past learning and new concepts.
- Emphasize key vocabulary for students.
The first feature that falls under this component of SIOP asks the teacher to explicitly begin a lesson by linking the concepts of the lesson to the students and their lives. Taking time at the beginning of a lesson to do this supports the learner in a variety of different ways:
- Building Background mollifies anxiety.
- It also helps students draw connections between their lives and school content.
- It gives the teacher a great chance to assess where the students are in relation to the lesson.
- Building Background engages students as their curiosity builds.
Using SIOP to Build Students' Background
While there may be times that we think it's not necessary (test preparation, for example), most of the time we want build some sort of bridge between yesterday and today. Deciding one or two activities to link the learner with the learning is an effective way to set everyone up for success.
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- Class Web. Creating a web on the board with ideas the entire class has is a safe way to take the pulse (globally) of the student body. Students write anything they know about the topic on a post-it note and stick it on the board. As class, the teacher can review the web, add any information, and then dive into the lesson.
- Predicting. Anytime students predict, they ante up. Their interest spikes as they begin to focus on whether or not their prediction was right. With vocabulary, pictures, or
- Word Splash. A word splash is a set of key vocabulary words and phrases from the lesson. In addition to reviewing the vocabulary, students can use these terms to
- Carousel. A carousel is an activity where students move from statiuon to station completing some kind of task. As a way to build background, students form groups and carousel around the room. At each station there is is flip sized piece of chart paper and markers. Each paper has a different question (what is something you know about ‘x’?). Students discuss the question, write down an answer and move to another station repeating the task.
- Turn and Talk. Students can turn to a partner and discuss a question or set of questions related to the topic. They may do this orally, or they may even jot down a few of their partner’s responses to share with the class later on.
The best way to build a teacher's background on SIOP is to invite TESOL Trainers to your school.
- Form: How the word looks and how it may change as it changes from one part of speech to another.
- Usage: How the word is used in context, when it can be used & when it can't, etc.
- Meaning: What the word means, if the meaning changes, etc.
- Pronunciation: How the word is pronounced, how its pronunciation may change or vary, etc.
Teachers tend to focus on form and meaning (think spelling tests and dictionaries) while shying away from real usage and pronunciation. The results of this approach tend to be that while students may have passive knowledge of the words, they are reluctant or unable to use these words in speaking.
Building Background is critical to setting everyone up for success.
The components of SIOP and their related features are powerful tools teachers can use to improve both teaching and learning. Here is a simple summary of SIOP.
SIOP helps teachers consider how to get their students to interact with the content, the language, and one another in meaningful ways.
TESOL Trainers is your scaffold to success!If you want more information about how TESOL Trainers can provide your teachers with professional development in SIOP, contact John Kongsvik. We tailor make our professional development to meet your needs.
You can also visit us to see the other kinds of professional development that we offer educational institutions of all kinds. TESOL Trainers can scaffold your teachers into success.
If you would like to learn why we are so popular with educators, just watch this video. These teachers spent an academic year going through TESOL Trainers, iCOACH™, the most empowering peer coaching program.