Siop Model Eight Components Of Critical Thinking

SIOP consists of instructional features that cover eight aspects of lesson design and delivery: Lesson Preparation, Building Background, Comprehensible Input, Strategies, Interaction, Practice & Application, Lesson Delivery, and Review & Assessment.

Lesson Preparation

Each SIOP lesson has content and language objectives that are clearly defined, displayed, and orally reviewed with students. These objectives are linked to subject area standards and curricula, and the academic vocabulary and language that students need for success. For teachers, the goal is to help students gain important experience with key grade-level content and skills as they progress toward fluency in academic English. Students know what they are expected to learn and/or be able to do by the end of each lesson. Also within this component, teachers provide supplementary materials (e.g., visuals, multimedia, adapted or bilingual texts, and study guides) because grade-level material may be difficult for many second language learners to comprehend. Adaptations are provided through a number of ways, such as differentiated texts, supportive handouts, and audio selections such as those that may come with texts or are available online. Also, meaningful activities must be planned to provide access to the key concepts and provide opportunities for students to apply their content and language learning.

Building Background

In SIOP lessons, teachers help students connect new concepts with their personal and cultural experiences and past learning. Teachers sometimes build background knowledge because some immigrant language learners have not attended schools in the new country, or are unfamiliar with the cultural references in texts. At other times, teachers activate students’ prior knowledge to tap into what students already know, to identify misinformation, or to discover when it’s necessary to fill in gaps. The SIOP Model places emphasis on students building a broad vocabulary base. SIOP teachers increase attention to vocabulary instruction across the curriculum so students become effective readers, writers, speakers, and listeners.

Comprehensible Input

SIOP teachers realize that English learners acquire their new language differently from majority language speakers and their instruction includes a variety of SIOP techniques so students comprehend the lesson’s key concepts. Examples of language accommodation techniques include teacher talk that is appropriate to student proficiency levels; restatement; paraphrasing; repetition; written records of key points; and previews and reviews of important information. Additional techniques include demonstrations and modeling of tasks, processes, and routines; gestures, pantomime, and movement to make concepts more clear; opportunities for students to engage in role-plays, improvisation, and simulations; visuals and supplementary materials, such as pictures, real objects, illustrations, charts, adapted texts, audiotapes, CDs or online resources (perhaps in the students’ home languages, if available); and hands-on, experiential, and discovery activities. Further, teachers explain the academic tasks they expect students to perform, orally and in writing, with demonstrations, modeling, and sample products as needed.


This SIOP component addresses student learning strategies, teacher-scaffolded instruction, and higher-order thinking skills. Some students aren’t familiar with learning strategies and benefit from learning how to use them flexibly and in combination. SIOP teachers frequently scaffold instruction (provide support, as needed) so second language students can be successful with academic tasks. As English learners master a skill or task, teachers remove supports that were provided, and add new ones for higher levels of application. The goal, of course, is the gradual increase of student independence, so that second language learners can achieve independence . SIOP teachers also ask English learners a range of questions, many of which require higher levels of thinking, thus going beyond questions that can be answered with a one- or two-word response. Instead, they ask questions and create projects or tasks that require students to think more critically and apply their language skills in more extended ways. Students’ answers may contain few words but the goal is for those words to represent complex thinking.


Students learn both conversational and academic language through interaction with one another and with their teachers. However, it is academic proficiency that is associated with school success. In SIOP classes, oral language practice helps students develop and deepen content knowledge, and it supports their second language listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. In pairs and small groups, second language learners practice new language structures and vocabulary that they have learned, as well as important language functions, such as asking for clarification, confirming interpretations, elaborating on one’s own or another’s idea, citing evidence in the text to support claims, and evaluating opinions. Opportunities for oral language practice are especially important since oral language proficiency impacts all aspects of educational achievement.

Practice & Application

Practice and application of new material is important for all learners because it helps them master newly learned skills. SIOP teachers ensure that lessons include a variety of activities that encourage students to apply both the content and language skills they are learning through hands-on materials, group assignments, partner work, projects, and so forth. For second language learners to learn the target language, it is imperative that every lesson provides opportunities for them to practice and apply content information, as well as literacy and language processes (i.e., reading, writing, listening and speaking).

Lesson Delivery

Throughout SIOP lessons, tasks, activities and teaching practices support the content and language objectives. SIOP teachers routinely ensure that students know a lesson’s content and language objectives, so everyone knows what they’re to learn and be able to do. SIOP teachers introduce (and revisit) meaningful activities that appeal to students, they provide appropriate wait time so students can process concepts, and the classroom instruction fosters high motivation and engagement.

Review & Assessment

As part of each SIOP lesson, teachers make time for review and assessment throughout a lesson. In fact, a lesson may begin with a review of previous learning or a check of students’ knowledge of a topic. SIOP teachers check on student comprehension frequently to determine whether additional explanations or re-teaching are needed. By doing so, they can also provide feedback on correct and incorrect responses, a practice shown to benefit second language learners. Effective SIOP teachers also review key vocabulary and concepts with students throughout the lesson and as a final wrap-up they review the content and language objectives. The assessment information gleaned throughout the instructional period is then used to plan subsequent lessons.

Based on: Echevarria, J., Vogt, ME. & Short, D. (2017). Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model 5e. New York: Pearson.

Eight Components of Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP)

1. Preparation - English Language Learners need to be prepared for learning by being able to communicate about the learning experience. They need to be able to ask for help when they need it. They should know the following basic learning phrases or sentences:
  • “I don’t understand.”
  • “Would you please explain that to me?”
  • “Would you please show me how?”
  • “What information do I need to remember?”
  • “Is that important for the test?”
  • “What is the most important part?”
Learning a new language mirrors the process we go through when we acquire our first language. English learners typically start with a pre-production, or silent period, when first introduced to English. During this period, students begin to comprehend English, but do not yet attempt to speak it. This period can last from a few days to many months, depending on the student. As ELLs continue to learn English, they begin to produce one or two word phrases, and then move to sentences. As students are acquiring English, they will often struggle with grammar and pronunciation, but our emphasis should be on conveying meaning, not grammatical perfection.

2. Building Background - Teachers can build background connections for English Language Learners by making purposeful connections to prior learning, by teaching the most important vocabulary, and by trying to connect the content to something the student may have already experienced. Building background can be accomplished through use of the following:
  • KWL Charts - Students chart what they KNOW, what they WANT to know, and what they LEARNED
  • Pre-Reading Activities - Walk through the text discussing the topics and photos before reading, or looking through a chapter backwards for the big picture view of the entire text.
  • Using Symbols - students use post it notes with check marks, question marks, and plus signs to label a new text during the first reading. Check marks mean, ”I understand this part.” Question marks mean, “I need help with this part.” Plus signs mean, “This is something new I’ve learned.”
  • Student Journals -
  • Personal Dictionaries -
  • Four Squares Vocabulary - paper folded into 4 parts: part 1 includes an illustration, part 2 includes a sentence, part 3 includes a definition, and part 4 includes the vocabulary word.
  • Similar Words - Similar Words - Palabras Similares Booklet includes 1000 varied reading level words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation in both English and Spanish. Print front to back.
  • Making Predictions - students survey the text and predict what they think they will be learning.
  • Text to Self Connections - Research clearly shows that prior knowledge (including experiences and emotions---or schema---is a major factor in students being able to comprehend what they read.
  • Text to Text Connections - Research shows that students who are explicitly taught and use strategies that activate prior knowledge comprehend better than students who don’t.
  • Guided Comprehension - students learn comprehension strategies in a variety of settings using multiple levels and types of text. It is a three-stage process focused on direct instruction, application, and reflection. Current studies demonstrate that when students experience explicit instruction of comprehension strategies, it improves their comprehension of new texts and topics (Hiebert et al., 1998).
  • Concepts and Vocabulary - includes strategies and scaffolding for pre-reading
  • Vocabulary - When teaching ELL students new vocabulary, it is important to select the key vocabulary for any given lesson or unit. Here are some guidelines to help you decide which words to teach. The next section will provide some ideas from Northshore School District in Bothell, Washington on how to teach new vocabulary.
    Tell the student the word and move on if:
    • The word does not represent a new concept
    • Students need to understand for this activity but are not likely to need it again
    Teach the student the word if:

    • The word represents a new concept
    • The word crosses content areas or has multiple uses
    • The word is important for students outside of this activity

    Teaching Vocabulary to ELLs
    • Pronounce the word
    • Provide a definition (show, paraphrase, act out, create experience)
    • Post definition for reference
    • Introduce in context in which it occurs or in a familiar context
    • Relate word to students' prior experiences. Create an experience that demonstrates meaning
    • Word walls
    • Generate and record sentences (building from original context or familiar context)
    • Use word often in instruction. Point it out in other content areas, have students find it in other contexts, classes, out of school.
    • Add to word bank or student-made dictionaries
    • Use first language to clarify
    • Word webs
    • Semantic-analysis chart, concept maps.
    • Act out, use visuals or real objects (realia)
  • General Principals for Teaching ELLs - Language acquisition theories have highlighted four key principles that can be directly applied to the mainstream classroom. These principles are important for all students, but are of particular importance to English language learners (Jameson, 1998)
3. Comprehensible Input - Teachers should make assignments clear by using vocabulary students can understand, and by providing a variety of instructional experiences including:
  • Total Physical Response - teachers use hand gestures, facial expressions, and whole body movement to illustrate concepts or vocabulary words. Students emulate the movements.
  • Vocabulary Cards -  Vocabulary Cards - Tarjetas del Vocabulario - 1500 most commonly used words in English with Spanish translations. Words are clustered by category and fold to the size of a business card.
  • Similar Words and Opposite Words - Similar Words - Palabras Similares - includes 1000 varied reading level words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation in both English and Spanish.
  • Vocabulary Picture Puzzles - Picture Puzzles - when printed from to back, these vocabulary games allow students to work alone or in pairs or small groups to discuss targeted vocabulary words in a social setting while playing a game.
  • Confusing Words Bulletin Board - students add commonly used slang phrases and idioms to a chart for other students to interpret.
  • Read Along Audio Files -
  • Video Resources -
  • Web Resources - ESL Websites Strategies - 26 sites (A-Z) that support teachers in teaching English Language Learners.
4. Student Strategies for Success - English Language Learners can benefit from knowing specific strategies to use that increase comprehension including the following:
  • Survey, Question, Read, Review Recite - Classroom Posters display the steps in each stage of SQRRR
  • Questions in a Can - teacher or student-created questions ranging from lower to higher level questions are placed in a can. Students draw questions and answer in a team discussion.
  • Gallery Walks - Students write or draw the most important ideas from a section of assigned text.
  • Split Page Note Taking - Before reading, students write who, what, when, where, or why questions on the left side of the page and after reading, students write answers on the right side.
  • Similarities and Differences Using a Venn Diagram 
5. Interactions - Student-to-teacher and student-to-student interactions can be enhanced through the following:
  • Sufficient Wait Time - In most classrooms, students are typically given less than one second to respond to a question posed by a teacher. Research shows that under these conditions students generally give short, recall responses or no answer at all rather than giving answers that involve higher-level thinking. Increasing the wait time from three to seven seconds results in an increase in: 
    1) the length of student responses
    2) the number of unsolicited responses
    3) the frequency of student questions
    4) the number of responses from less capable children
    5) student-student interactions
    6) the incidence of speculative responses. In addition to pausing after asking questions, research shows that many of these same benefits result when teachers pause after the student's response to a question, and when teachers do not affirm answers immediately.
  • Group Consensus - the teacher asks specific review questions. Students seated in groups of 4 or 5 write their answers and share them with other group members. Groups must discuss until they reach consensus. The group answer is submitted to the teacher. Points can be scored if the teacher chooses to make the review competitive.
  • Find Your Partner - each student is given a vocabulary card with either a definition or a term written on it. Students are asked to find the matching card. Then students share with the class the pairs they have made.
  • Academic Relays - See examples on the D11 web: Grades K-2 Academic Relays  and Grade 3-5 Academic Relays
6. Lesson Delivery - Effective lessons clearly state for English Language Learners both the content standard and the language standard. Effective lessons are paced to accommodate the learner and keep the learner engaged for at least 90% of the lesson.
  • Classroom Tips - includes research-based strategies for listening, speaking, reading, writing, and ELL Advocacy from experienced ELL students.
7. Practice / Application - English Language Learners need hands-on materials, opportunities to practice and to apply concepts learned, and opportunities to integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.
  • Bingo - provides students a hands-on opportunity to review vocabulary or math facts. BeanGo Cards Small and BeanGo Cards Large - students can review Spanish and English vocabulary words or mat families, or other basic content by completing their own bingo cards. Dried beans can be used as playing pieces.
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Fishbone Diagram - used to identify causes and effect or main idea and supporting details
  • Concept Webs Using Inspiration software
  • Pizza Pieces - parts of stories or events over time are assigned o individuals or small groups which must write summaries of the assigned part of the story. Students or groups share their part as the pizza pieces are reassembled to make a whole.
  • Review Games for ESL Students - PowerPoint is used as the method for providing vocabulary review. the PowerPoint files can be adapted by teachers to include specific vocabulary words for a content area. 
  • Vocabulary Card Review Games - Ways to Use Vocabulary Cards includes 5 minute fillers and other strategies to help students learn vocabulary words. The decks of cards listed below by category are in Microsoft Word format so teachers can create word lists of 13 words for any content
  • Pyramid Game - Major facts and concepts from a unit are written on 6 papers which are taped to the wall in a pyramid shape face down. First students form pairs to play the first round of pyramid. One student (Clue Giver) is given a review sheet and one minute to see how many of the vocabulary terms or concept the Clue Receiver can accurately name. Play continues with the Giver and Receiver changing roles and passing the review sheet. After several rounds the two players with the highest scores move to the final round. The Clue Caller faces the wall with the pyramid shaped pages on it. The Clue Receiver faces the classroom. The teacher begins play by turning over the bottom left-hand card. The Caller gives clues and the Receiver guesses. After a correct answer the teacher turns over the next page and play continues until all pages have been revealed or time runs out.
  • Computer Review Games - includes PowerPoint vocabulary review games that can be played alone or in pairs. Students keep score for their partners.
    Unit 1  Unit 2  Unit 3  Unit 4   Unit 5   Unit 6   Unit 7   Unit 8  Unit 9   Unit 10   Unit 11   Unit 12
8. Review and Assessment - a comprehensive and deliberate review of vocabulary, and key content area concepts, and language standards will enable ELL students to demonstrate mastery. Expecting students with a limited vocabulary to perform well without intentional support or “sheltered instruction” will undoubtedly guarantee frustration and failure.
  • Table Discussion Groups - students discuss answer to questions similar to those that will be on the assessment.
  • Simultaneous Roundtable - students help each other review by writing their team number on a paper that is passed from one student to the next. Each student adds a fact about a given concept then passes it on to the next writer. Teams are given a short time frame to complete the task i.e. 2 minutes.
  • Find a Person Who Knows - students are given review sheets with as many questions as there are students in the class. Students move around the room finding someone who knows an answer. Students can receive only one answer from each person.
  • Pyramid Game - Major facts and concepts from a unit are written on 6 papers which are taped to the wall in a pyramid shape face down. First students form pairs to play the first round of pyramid. One student (Clue Giver) is given a review sheet and one minute to see how many of the vocabulary terms or concept the Clue Receiver can accurately name. Play continues with the Giver and Receiver changing roles and passing the review sheet. After several rounds the two players with the highest scores move to the final round. The Clue Caller faces the wall with the pyramid shaped pages on it. The Clue Receiver faces the classroom. The teacher begins play by turning over the bottom left-hand card. The Caller gives clues and the Receiver guesses. After a correct answer the teacher turns over the next page and play continues until all pages have been revealed or time runs out.
  • Check My Work - the teacher writes a list of review statements or facts on a transparency. The sentences include incorrect information much like a mad lib. For example, “Sponge Bob was the first president of the United States, and was elected in 1997.” Students point out the mistakes and say fill in the correct information for the class.  


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