Thursday, August 7, 2014

S.I.O.P. Workshop!

Last week I attended a 3 day S.I.O.P. academy with some of my colleagues and many other teachers from our area.  What is S.I.O.P.? It stands for Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol.  I suppose that didn't really clear anything up.  Basically the authors observed (lots and lots of) ESL teachers, and (lots and lots of) classroom teachers with ESL students and figured out what worked and what didn't work to help these students be successful.  This is what they came up with.

(they gave us this book at the workshop - SCORE!)

The beautiful thing about SIOP is that you don't need to stop doing anything you are already doing!  It works with reader's and writer's workshop, responsive classroom, Whole Brain Teaching, Bloom's taxonomy etc.  It is simply steps to follow to make sure that your content is reaching your Emerging Bilinguals.  

The first thing we did was discuss first language vs second language acquisition and social vs academic language.  As an ESL teacher I've heard it before! I've even done a workshop for other teachers in my district on those topics.  Here is a PREZI I did for our Pre-K staff - Feel free to use it.

But I was struck by something our presenter said.  We were discussing the differences between first and second language acquisition.  We discussed that the first language is learned in order to communicate with loved ones at home, while the second language is learned to survive and function in society.  I had never thought of that before and it really made me stop and think.  That fact has stayed with me since the workshop.

Then we got to the meat of SIOP.  The 8 components of SIOP are:
  1. Lesson Preparation
  2. Building Background
  3. Comprehensible Input
  4. Strategies
  5. Interaction
  6. Practice and Application
  7. Lesson Delivery
  8. Review and Assessment
I am only going to talk about a few - And very briefly.  This was a 3 day workshop, and I could go on forever.


The biggest thing with this is content AND language objectives.  Many teachers now display I CAN statements or objectives in the classroom.  SIOP says keep doing this, just make sure that you are deliberate in creating them, make sure they are displayed throughout the lesson, make sure they are measurable.  Also there are two parts to the objective. 

For example - A unit on Family:
CONTENT: Students will be able to identify the members of a family.
LANGUAGE: Students will be able to write 3-5 sentences about the members of their family using family member vocabulary words.  

I display these objectives using my I Can posters - available for free on TPT.

3. - Comprehensible Input

This is my favorite part of this workshop.  Our presenter is fluent in Spanish, and did an entire lesson in (what seemed like to us) rapid-fire Spanish.  She passed out supplies, and kept raising her voice, and yelling, and saying 'NO, no, No"  It was a humbling experience.  I wish I had a video - but I was having too much fun participating.  Then she stopped and made the content she was presenting comprehensible.  She slowed down her speech... lowered her voice... made eye contact... used visuals... had us repeat vocabulary... modeled the steps.  When we were done we all had beautiful tissue paper flowers.

This activity really gave us (even those of us who know some Spanish) a glimpse into what it is like to be an Emerging Bilingual student.

8. - Review and Assessment

This is something I am determined to be better at this year.  My colleague and I decided we are going to have the students frequently self-assess.  We will be using a vocabulary Pre-and Post- Assessment at the beginning and ending of each week. These are also available for free on TPT:

If you'd like more information please check out this PDF:
Or see if you can get your hands on this book.

If you teach Emerging Bilinguals and have a chance to attend a SIOP workshop I highly recommend it!


  1. I definitely recommend the SIOP books to anyone who asks about ESL. Although, not their lesson plan template- way too much work!


    1. I agree - There are a lot of steps - our presenter said pick one that you think you need the most improvement on and focus on that... I chose Objectives and Assessment.