Explanation of the SIOP TOOL

Lesson Preparation

In each SIOP lesson there are content and language objectives that are clearly defined, displayed and reviewed with students. Students should be able to identify what they are going to be able to do by the end of the lesson though these objectives. The goal for teachers is to help students gain academic success and fluency in English by providing grade level content. Teachers also provide supplementary materials and create meaningful activities to make this content more clear and meaningful. Materials and activities should integrate lesson concepts and tie back to the content and language objectives. Opportunities for language practice should be available.The lesson and the content may need to be adapted to the needs of student proficiency in your class. 

Building Background

The SIOP model emphasizes linking current learning experiences with students’ background and past learning experiences that they had. Teachers need to be able to tie to students’ backgrounds because some ELs may not have much experience with schooling in a new culture or country. It is also important to tie back to previous learning experiences, that way you can add on to what they already know. It is also necessary to create building blocks of vocabulary so students can practice and improve their language skills. 

Comprehensible Input 

SIOP teachers recognize that each student, especially their ELs, is going to have a unique way of learning. It is key for teachers to explain the objectives and the tasks associated in a way that the students will be able to comprehend. Examples of communicating at an appropriate proficiency level include: enunciating, paraphrasing, repetition, etc. In addition, teachers should be able to use a variety of techniques to help make concepts clear. These include: using visuals, modeling, demonstrations, gestures, body language, etc.


This SIOP component addresses different strategies to integrate scaffolding and higher thinking skills. SIOP teachers should be using scaffolding techniques consistently to support student understanding. This support will lead to an increase of students using their different learning strategies that they have acquired overtime. Teachers can give them the opportunity to do this by asking a range of questions to help the ELs think more critically. When they are able to think at a higher level, they will be able to broaden their language skills. 


Student interaction is crucial for language development. Oral practice helps students develop their language skills and deepen their knowledge of the content and language objectives. There are many ways you can interact and discuss. Students can practice in small groups, in pairs, and one on one with the instructor. These opportunities are used to encourage elongated responses to lesson objectives and to clarify key concepts that the students may not have understood the first time. It is also important that the students have time to ask questions, and to think about the answers they’re providing. 

Practice and Application

The best way for ELs to master the content they are learning is to be given opportunities to practice and apply what they have learned. SIOP teachers should provide hands on materials and manipulatives for students to practice new content knowledge and apply their language skills. It is important that all activities incorporate all language skills such as reading/comprehension, writing, and analysis/speaking. Some examples of practice and application include: demonstrations, group projects, experiments, centers, partner work, etc. 

Lesson Delivery

SIOP teachers will be able to use every lesson to point back to the content and language objectives. Teachers should introduce and revisit meaningful concepts and activities to help keep their students engaged. To help keep the students focused throughout the lesson, it is imperative that their learning is kept at a pace of their understanding and skill level. By delivering lessons like these, teachers will cultivate a culture of motivation and love for learning in their classroom. 

Review Assessment

As part of each lesson, teachers will review key vocabulary that their students have learned and the concepts associated with it. When teachers incorporate this into their lesson, they can provide regular feedback to their students and help engage them. They should also correct responses from their students if needed, to help them understand the content they are learning. Effective SIOP teachers also take time to review content and language objectives at the end of the lesson, to see if the students were able to understand what was taught. 


The SIOP Teaching Rubric can be found HERE

A copy of the Brigham Young University Adaption of the SIOP Rubric can be found HERE. 


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