SIOP Component #6: Practice and Application

SIOP Component:  Practice and Application



SIOP or Sheltered Instructional Observation Protocol is a teaching framework that has been around since the 80s.  While it began as a tool to support English learners, educators quickly realized how all students benefited from SIOP.

SIOP reminds us to practice and apply language & content in every lesson.
The halmark of SIOP is its attention to how students interact with the content, the language, and with one another.

Throughout the 8 components of SIOP and its 30 features is evidence of the importance of these interactions.  You can view an example of this in SIOP Component:  Lesson Preparation.

In the 6th SIOP Component, Practice & Application, this connection is also clearly evident.

In this component of SIOP, teachers consider what how students will practice and apply critical content and language from the lesson.  The Practice & Application component of SIOP also suggests that teachers look for ways to use hands-on materials as a means of interacting with the content and language.

Read on to learn more about this component of SIOP:  Practice & Application.

TESOL Trainers provides world-class professional development for K-12 educators. 



SIOP Component #6:  Practice and Application

One of the powerful atributes about SIOP is its attention to providing a variety of scaffolded opportunities to interact with the content, the language, and one another.  The sixth component of SIOP, Practice & Application, does just that.

BTW, the SIOP Trainer looks at all components and features of SIOP like this one on the SIOP Component Strategies.

John Kongsvik and TESOL Trainers provide K-12 professional development SIOPHere are the three features of this SIOP component:

20.  Provide hands-on materials and/or manipulatives for students to practice using new content knowledge.

21.  Provide activities for students to apply content and language knowledge in the classroom.

22.  Provide activities that integrate all language skills (i.e. reading, writing, listening, and speaking).


Let's examine each of the features found under the Practice and Application component of SIOP.

The first feature in this SIOP component asks the teacher to use manipulatives and other kinds of hands-on materials as a means of getting students to practice the new content.  While it's much easier to blow off hands-on, tactile activities, students find them engaging and meaningful.  It doesn't have to take too much energy or time to create tactile activities.  Here are three easy ways:

  • Cuisenaire Rods:  Students use cuisenaire rods to create a scene from a story they just read.  Then, they describe the scene to their peers.
  • Scrambled Stories:  Students unscramble math problems, paragraphs, and stories that are written on strips of paper and mixed up.
  • Dice:  Students roll dice and perform a task (E.g. ask a question) that corresponds to the number they rolled.

It doesn't matter what kind of tactile tool you provide your students.  What matters is that the tool you instructions.
give them encourages them to interact with the content (and the language and one another).  For teachers who are not used to putting things in students' hands, just remember that it's all in the

Feature #21, reminds teachers that they need to get students to practice the content and the language.  It can be challenging to make sure that students practice language in addition to content.  Practicing the content is not always the same as practicing the language.  Here are three ways to stimulate language practice:


  • Turn and Talk:  Students talking with students is a great way to encourage language usage and content practice.
  • Share Specific Language:  Giving students specific language to use when interacting with the content and their peers is also an effective means of making sure they are giving their language a work out.
  • Step out of the way:  If we aren't careful, we can take opportunities away from our students.  We have to make sure we step out of the way so that the students will step on.

Language and content go so well together.  You really can't work with one without working with the other.  Consciously creating activities that encourage students to practice specific language is a way to make sure they are building that muscle as well.

TESOL Trainers and John Kongsvik provide K-12 professional development in SIOPThe final feature of this SIOP component encourages teachers to seek ways to integrate all four domains of language (speaking, listening, reading, writing) into meaningful practice activities.  This is a powerful way to help students use strengths that they have in one language domain to develop strengths in other language domains.   Here are three ways to make this happen:


  • Information Gaps:  Just like the name sounds, information gaps are activities that integrate the four domains of language into one task.  Each person has a portion of the answers, and together they have them all.  The objective is to share your information with others.
  • Group Tasks:  Any activity that has students speaking and listening as well as reading and writing will do just fine.  An example of this would be students interviewing one another on a specific topic, writing down their peers' responses and sharing them with someone else.
  • Jigsaw:  A jigsaw is similar to an information gap in that each person has one piece of the puzzle, and together they have the whole puzzle.  For example, each person can read a different article on the same subject, summarize it, and share it with their peers.

Whatever name you want to giving it, there is a lot of research that underscores the value of integrating the four domains of language.  The SIOP Component of Practice and Application remind us of this importance.

The sixth component of SIOP nudges teachers to look for ways to maximize student opportunities to interact with the content and the language.  Doing this in a way that gets students interacting with one another will make it more meaningful (and more engaging) for the students.

To learn more about the SIOP Framework, click here.

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TESOL Trainers and John Kongsvik provide K-12 professional development worldwide.
John Kongsvik, director of TESOL Trainers
TESOL Trainers' SIOP Institute is the best, most effective means of using SIOP to achieve success in teaching and learning.

Contact John Kongsvik, the Director of TESOL Trainers, Inc. to learn more about the current K-12
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